The State of the National Park Report provides a snapshot of the overall health of Northumberland National Park (NNP) and provides an update of the progress in delivering the aims and objectives of the Northumberland National Park Management Plan 2016-2021.

The Management Plan was developed in close consultation with the communities, businesses and organisations that have an interest in the National Park; these make up the Management Plan Partnership. The Plan represents a shared vision for the place, and this is therefore a report on the special qualities of the park, how these qualities are enjoyed, and by whom, and on the economic and social wellbeing of the park communities.

The report is structured in line with the five Aims of the National Park Management Plan with a comprehensive update on the achievements of the Management Plan Partnership in delivering each of the 16 primary outcomes[1].

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has meant that the decision has been made to extend the State of the Park monitoring until we begin monitoring the targets of the next Management Plan, in 2023.

This year’s State of the National Park report sees improvements in across several outcomes which were affected by the impact of Covid-19. Ten outcomes (62.5%) achieved a ‘good’ performance while 6 outcomes are ‘acceptable’. Last year several outcomes had a trend which was ‘unknown’ reflecting the sudden drop in performance, future trends for which were unknown. There is only one outcome which is declining after this period, and this relates to people of working age coming to live and work in the National Park. Although the data will take some time to catch up, current estimates predict that the average age of residents in Northumberland National Park continues to increase.

I trust you will find this report of interest and I would welcome your feedback on any aspects of the report.

Tony Gates, Chief Executive (National Park Officer)
December 2022

[1] The format of the report has changed to meet accessibility standards. Northumberland National Park Authority is a publicly funded body and our information published online is regulated by the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Northumberland National Park Authority Key Performance Indicators

Further information relating to our Key Performance Indicators can be found below.

IndicatorBaselineTarget (2021)Status 2019 / 2020Status 2020 / 2021
Increase visitor numbers to Northumberland National Park.1.47 million (2015)1.62 m (10% increase)0.94m (34% decrease)1.27m (14% decrease)
Increase the economic contribution of National Park visitors to the local economy.£141 million (2015) [2]£155 million (10% increase)£71 m (49% decrease)£146 million (4% increase)
Develop and implement the Sill Activity Plan.Not Applicable30,000 days per annum10,922 days (36% of Target)6,884 days (23% of Target)
The National Park will remain the most tranquil part of England.Most tranquil (CPRE 2016)Most tranquilStudy requiredStudy required
Maintain the area of blanket bog and extend the area of heathland.20,800 ha (2016)160 ha2 new heath [3]20,816 ha Total Heath20,816 ha Total Heath
Maintain or increase the number and distribution of curlew.450 pairs / 211 areas (2016)Maintain or increaseStudy requiredStudy required
Farmland managed under ‘enhanced’ agri-environment schemes.85% (2016) [4]70%89% [5]Awaiting update [5]
Reduce the number of scheduled monuments that are “at risk”.53 (12%) (2016)21 (5%)39 (9%)33 (8%)
Total self-generated income by Northumberland National Park Authority.£242,000£922,000£1,000,600£1,868,000

Key Performance Indicators Further Information

[2] 84% of visitors to the National Parks ‘influence zone’ visit the National Park but spend outside the boundary. This figure is 84% of the value of the visitor economy of the wider influence zone.

[3] NEV target of 1000 ha additional heathland area between 2010 and 2035 (25 yr period). 160 ha is 4 years’ worth.

[4] In 2016, 100% of the farmed area of the National Park was covered by an agri-environment scheme. 85% of the farmed area was covered by agreements with ‘higher level’ options. Changes to agri-environment schemes mean only (and not all) areas with higher level options will qualify in the future. The 70% target is based on the 2016 benchmark for other English National Parks.

[5] There are no longer any holdings in Entry Level Stewardship in NNP. The definition of farmland now applies to all holdings under the Rural Land Registry, as Countryside Stewardship Schemes also include woodland and scrub areas.

[5] There are a range of factors responsible for the delay to national data, but ultimately staff shortages and capacity are impacting our access to figures.