In this tranquil corner of England, you will find a true sense of peace and quiet, space and freedom. Often in Northumberland National Park, it is possible to spend time in the landscape and see no other signs of human life.
With a population of just under 2,000 people, Northumberland National Park is one of the most tranquil places in England. It is England’s last real wilderness, with far-reaching views stretching out across the rugged landscape.
Its pristine dark skies mean it is also England’s first and largest International Dark Sky Park (Gold tier). For those who live and work in the National Park and those who choose to visit, the peace and tranquillity is of utmost importance. It is a place which nurtures and stimulates, bringing a feeling of calm and a connection to landscape and nature which leaves both body and mind restored and invigorated.
The past is everywhere in Northumberland National Park and includes evidence of human activity over 5,000 years, from Iron Age hill forts, Neolithic rock art and the homes of Bronze Age farmers.
It includes the central section of Hadrian’s Wall, a World Heritage Site, and the landscape of kings at Ad Gefrin, an Anglo-Saxon royal residence. It is a landscape forged by thousands of years of farming and of conflict, a borderland, a frontier between kingdoms.
Past and present have shaped the identity of people and of place, creating and maintaining a rich cultural heritage, an expression of human spirit rooted in the landscape, inspiring generations of creativity and Northumbrian folklore, traditional music and spoken language. It is this relationship that gives the place a character and soul allowing us to connect with and discover our past.
The dynamic landscape of Northumberland National Park is the result of both natural forces and human activity. Together this has produced a landscape treasured for its natural beauty, distinctive character and unique sense of place and why it is recognised and protected for the benefit of the nation now, and in the future.
Northumberland National Park has many notable features, which include the high rounded hills of the former volcanic Cheviot region and the watercourses which run through it, the Border ridge, the iconic Simonside hills (which can be seen from the urban conurbation of Tyneside), the North Tyne and the distinctive sloping geology of the Great Whin Sill in the Hadrian’s Wall area.
The National Park features a natural landscape that shows the imprint of human activity over thousands of years, including hillforts, Roman camps and bastle houses set amongst small settlements, farmsteads and dry-stone walls that border onto wide open moorland.
The impacts of the climate emergency and mitigation measures being deployed threaten to speed up this pace of change; while activities that follow on from the century-long drive for timber production has seen hillsides and river valleys carpeted in conifers that now cover 20% of the National Park.
The underlying geology of Northumberland National Park, alongside natural processes and human activity have combined to create the hugely varied landscape we experience today.
These processes have created unique conditions for rich and diverse ecosystems to thrive; many nationally and internationally important habitats and species, such as curlew and red squirrel, to flourish within Northumberland National Park. 31% of the National Park is considered to be priority habitat and around 12% is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).