Putting harbour at heart of community

Holy Island Harbour.
Holy Island Harbour.

The development of Holy Island harbour is set to form part of a widescale heritage project on the north Northumberland coast.

The Peregrini Lindisfarne project, which was given a boost last summer when it received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), aims to protect and enhance Holy Island.

And currently, funding bids and business plans for the future of the island’s harbour are being prepared.

A steering group for the harbour project features nine members representing the Fishermen’s Society, Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust, the coastguard, the harbourmaster/parish council and Natural England.

Chairman of the harbour steering group, Jo Baynham, said: “Under Peregrini’s vision for that area, it sees the harbour as the access point between the two points of land and sea.

“It’s where Holy Island links into the wider area.”

The scheme, which is currently in its early stages, would consist of two main projects.

One is the physical development of the harbour, which will include work to the pier to improve access as well as work to replace moorings and build new toilet and shower facilities.

This would cost in the region of £750,000 and funding bids are being prepared with the HLF and European Fisheries Fund two possible sources of income.

The second project, Gateway to the Seascape, would include practical steps such as installing signs and information boards, to link the harbour to the wider tourist economy.

“Holy Island harbour is important for the island community in terms of fishing and leisure boats and it’s also important for tourists to see Holy Island as a lively working environment, not just a tourist trap,” said Mr Baynham.

“What we are doing with Peregrini is trying to maintain the idea that these developments are for the direct benefit of the islanders and therefore maintaining the island’s cultural identity.

“The work we are really trying to push for the Holy Island community is the widening, lengthening and heightening of the harbour which will be a huge project over many years.”

This would transform the harbour from its current status as a tidal harbour and make life easier for the fishermen.

The Peregrini Lindisfarne project aims to protect and enhance Holy Island by reconnecting the community’s relationship with its land and seascapes, heritage and history, making the area a better place to work, live and visit.

The development trust heads up a board of partners in the project, comprising a wide variety of the region’s stakeholders.