Volunteers wanted to help make the Northumberland countryside more accessible

Volunteers are wanted to help shape the future of access to the Northumberland countryside.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 1:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 1:37 pm
Alex MacLennan, NJLAF chairman.
Alex MacLennan, NJLAF chairman.

The Northumberland Joint Local Access Forum (NJLAF) is seeking people who are interested in considering access-related issues when promoting the beautiful Northumbrian countryside.

During the coronavirus pandemic NJLAF have experienced a rapid increase in the numbers of visitors to the Northumberland National Park, the coastline and forests such as Kielder, Simonside and Thrunton.

Alex MacLennan, NJLAF chairman, said: “Our key focus is for everyone to be given the opportunity to gain enjoyment from our natural landscape. The group passionately believes in promoting sustainable and responsible outdoor education and has responded strategically to county-wide visitor behaviours during Covid-19.”

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Its top access priority now is to support opening up disused railway tracks for people to access the countryside linking to local communities.

Alex adds: “This is where members of the public can get involved; as well as the main NJLAF group, we have set up some task and finish subgroups to focus on areas such as improving communications, climate change, rights of way and volunteering.

"We are keen to monitor key trends and growth areas, ensuring that (where we can) local access areas deliver what the public requires.”

This friendly group meet four times a year at locations across the county. Volunteers will be also supported to champion locally access improvements supporting local communities and individuals/ businesses work with relevant authorities to unlock the full potential of the countryside for all.

If you would like to get involved, call 01434 611550 or email [email protected]