A tiny village in the hills will be making a big statement about its importance in the tide of history, with a week of talks, walks and activities.
Kirknewton, tucked into the lee of the Cheviots by the River Glen between Wooler and Coldstream, is one of the richest and most significant historic landscapes in England, as well as being one of the most beautiful.
There are neolithic henges, Bronze Age burial sites and Iron Age hillforts; the Royal capital of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria at Gefrin and sites of the bitter battles between England and Scotland.
Starting this Saturday, the first Kirknewton Archaeology Festival opens the door to interested adults and children, kicking off with a special exhibition over the weekend featuring demonstrations of historic pottery, spinning, weaving and dyeing.
And the area will be further brought to life through the knowledge and passion of archaeologists and historians next week.
The festival week was the idea of two Northumberland National Park voluntary rangers, Ann Logan and Brian Rogers.
They offered a programme of short walks at Kirknewton in 2008 which was well received and after the recent review of the Kirknewton Conservation Area Plan were encouraged to resume and develop this work.
Kirknewton is the only Conservation Area in Northumberland National Park and was created in 1996 to protect and enhance the special architectural and historical interest of the area.
Working in partnership with the National Park archaeologist Chris Jones, the county archaeologist Chris Burgess, Roger Miket from the Gefrin Trust and the Kirknewton village hall committee, they set about creating the event to highlight the history and archaeology surrounding the beautiful area and based in the village of Kirknewton.
Ann said: “We both love this north end of the Cheviots and seek to help Northumberland National Park raise the profile of this area of world class archaeology by showing and explaining it to visitors, while supporting this small local community and the archaeological networks in North Northumberland and the Borders.”
Ann has been a voluntary Ranger for nine years and Brian nearly eight years.
In 2009 they both completed a three-year course, ‘Volunteering in Conservation and Heritage’ run jointly by Northumberland National Park and the University of Sunderland.
Brian added: “We wanted to offer free, interesting guided walks to the public that would broaden their knowledge of all the lumps and bumps that are everywhere in this landscape and are passed by some walkers without even a second glance.
“These scars are the remains of people’s lifestyles from as long ago as 5000 years.
“The downside for some people is that a great number of the sites are on high ground and without helicopter access the only way to see them is on foot.
“That is why a number of the walks are graded strenuous.”
As not everyone interested is able to undertake the walks, Ann and Brian have arranged an evening talks programme and invited eminent archaeologists and historians to educate and entertain.
There is no charge for the talks, which will take place at Kirknewton village hall each weekday night at 7.30pm, except on Tuesday, when the venue is The Cheviot Centre in Wooler.
Because of limited seating, anyone wishing to attend must book in advance on 01434 605555.