Published: Wednesday 19th Feb 2014
Written by: Alex Smith
Northumberland is a county unlike any other. It’s a historic and dramatic place, sparsely populated and with a sense of remoteness that few other areas can match. And perhaps because of this, Northumberland isn’t as prominent in the public consciousness as say Yorkshire or Cornwall. So in an attempt to redress the balance, here is a small sample of what this wonderful part of the country has to offer: Northumberland is a county rich in natural splendour. Two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty plus a National Park take up a large proportion of the region, giving you miles and miles of heather-clad moorland, dune fringed beaches and rugged hillside to explore.
Northumberland is a haven for all sorts of wildlife; within its borders you’ll find rarities such as the mountainside bumblebee, heather moth and Chillingham wild cattle, a species rarer than the giant panda. It’s also one of the last bastions of the red squirrel, and if you walk through some of Northumberland’s ancient woodland there is a good chance of you spotting this British favourite. There are over sixty nature reserves being actively managed by Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and don’t forget RSPB Coquet Island, home to thousands of terns and puffins, or the Farne Islands where families of grey seals love to bask.
With all this open countryside, it’s a perfect place for you to see the stars. If you’re used to the orange tinted glow of urban night skies then Northumberland will come as a revelation to you. It contains the biggest Dark Sky Site in the whole of Europe, comprising the whole of the Northumberland National Park plus two thirds of Kielder Water and Forest Park, and here you can enjoy unpolluted views of the night sky and countless stars. There have even been sightings of the Northern Lights in Northumberland, making it the perfect destination for astro-tourism.
Northumberland is also the place to go for history lovers. You’ll soon discover that the county is dotted with castles and forts, battlefields and barracks, plus of course Hadrian’s Wall, all legacies of an extremely turbulent past. But the heritage is not all martial; take a trip to Holy Island to see the birthplace of the 8th Century Lindisfarne Gospels, or visit the sites of Neothlic rock carvings to see evidence of human activity from between 3,500-6,000 years ago.
Modern day Northumberland is a great place for anyone who loves to be active; mountain biking, horse riding, paintballing, clay pigeon shooting, flying, gliding, water sports, ballooning, land-yachting – it’s all here. If you’d prefer something a little more sedate then how about casting a line in one of the many rivers or indulging in some sea-fishing? Golfers have a range of courses to choose from, or if you just want to walk without worrying about staying under par, then you have literally hundreds of footpaths, bridleways, paths and trails to choose from. They take you over a variety of terrains, but all with breathtaking views of the dramatic Northumbrian countryside.
Take a look at our properties in Northumberland and Scottish Borders