Diamond celebrations for Northumberland Coast AONB

Holy Island.
Holy Island.

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the designation of the north Northumberland coast as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Throughout the year, the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership will be organising a number of events so everyone can join in to discover more about our beautiful coast and learn how to look after it for future generations.

To launch the celebrations, on Friday, March 23, the Partnership, guests and volunteers will be planting 60 hedgerow trees near Bamburgh, before heading back to the village for afternoon tea and birthday cake.

In the evening, John Grundy, local historian and TV presenter, has been invited to give a talk. He is a passionate enthusiast for the history and architecture of the North East, bringing stories vividly to life with his unique and engaging style.

His talk – Castles to Cowsheds: The extraordinary buildings of the Northumberland Coast – will be perfect for anyone who shares his love of the area. The talk is free of charge and bound to be popular, so tickets need to be booked early to avoid disappointment – visit https://tinyurl.com/y7q7ynup

The Partnership has also been awarded a grant of nearly £900 from The Pen and Palette Club to help it stage further events.

Over the summer months, the Partnership will be hosting a written word competition for people from Northumberland and beyond to reflect on and write about the Northumberland coast, with stories that reflect local people and places encouraged.

The competition will be open to three age categories – seven-11 years, 12-16 years and adults. Entries could be short stories, poem or verse, as long as they meet the entry terms.

The winning entries will be published on the Northumberland Coast AONB website and used in other displays and presentations as part of the diamond celebrations.

The finale will be in the autumn, with a concert featuring song, music and drama celebrating the cultural heritage of the Northumberland coast.

There will be an award ceremony and prize-giving for the written word competition winners and a performance of the winning entries.

Jeff Watson, chairman of the AONB Partnership, said: ”Sixty years is a significant milestone and it deserves to be acknowledged.

“We hope that people will share their energy and enthusiasm for the area with us, but at the same time, be mindful of the responsibility to preserve it for future generations.”

Catherine Gray, funding and communications officer for the AONB Partnership, added: “There is an extraordinary amount of talent within the AONB and we wanted to find as many different ways as possible to celebrate that.

“We hope to add to these events throughout the year and would welcome any suggestions people might have. We’d particularly like to see any photos of the area from the 1950s.”

Back in 1958, the north Northumberland coast was one of the first landscapes in the country to be designated and is now one of 38 AONBs in England and Wales.