Management Plan

Every National Park must have a Management Plan. It is the single most important document for the National Park, as it sets out a shared, long-term vision for the Park as a place.

Alongside our partners, we have developed a new Management Plan for the National Park, with nature, climate, people and communities at its heart.

The Management Plan outlines a bold and ambitious long-term vision for Northumberland National Park. It will help to secure the National Park’s future as a key asset to deliver on some of the biggest challenges that face society, including biodiversity loss, climate change and our health and wellbeing. The Management Plan will also set out how all partners, including the National Park Authority, organisations, businesses and communities, can work together to tackle issues related to its people, nature, climate, place and heritage.

Our Film

Watch our film about Northumberland National Park's Management Plan and find out what our priorities for the National Park are for the next five years.

Special Qualities

All National Parks are special for different and often unique reasons. The following are the special qualities which help define Northumberland National Park:

A sense of tranquillity

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.

A rich cultural heritage

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.

A distinctive landscape character

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.

A place rich in biodiversity and geology

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).

A farmer on a quad bike and three sheep. Behind them, a view of a valley in Coquetdale
Farming in Coquetdale in Northumberland National Park.

The Management Plan’s strategic themes

The following themes have been agreed as core to the future of Northumberland National Park.

Five small graphical logos with test beneath. A hand holding a sapling tree to illustrate Nature Recovery, five small leaves to illustrate Climate Action, a Roman helmet to illustrate Culture and Heritage, a walking boot to illustrate A Welcoming Park and a small cartoon farm building to illustrate Thriving Communities.

Nature Recovery

To restore, conserve and enhance nature and its resilience at a landscape scale through a proactive nature-first led approach to sustainable land management and partnership working.

Climate Action

Empower, enable and inspire climate action to work towards a net zero National Park by 2030. Beyond 2030 we will be working towards the National Park being a carbon sink.

Valuing Place: Culture and Heritage

To conserve, enhance and celebrate our historic environment and rich cultural heritage by connecting people and

A Welcoming Park for All

To be a welcoming place, offering enjoyment and exploration of one of our finest landscapes and to support wellbeing.

Thriving Communities

To have engaged, resilient and balanced communities in a unique living, working landscape.

Landscape view of College Valley
College Valley, Northumberland National Park