People behind the Park

More than 60 staff work for the Northumberland National Park Authority. They include our Ranger Team, our Welcome Team at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, Planners, Specialists and more. Administrative staff and those working at our head office in Hexham help provide the infrastructure and support vital to our care of the outdoors.

More information

Find out more about our staff.

Message from our Chief Executive

Welcome to Northumberland National Park.

National Parks are Britain’s finest landscapes.  Collectively, the 15 National Parks represent “Britain’s Breathing Spaces”.  Located on the border of England and Scotland, Northumberland National Park has its own unique role within the family of National Parks.

The most difficult question I’m ever asked is:  Just what is it that makes Northumberland National Park so special?

Do I point to our 425 scheduled monuments, to our world-class geological sites, or to the triumphant swoop of endangered Hen Harriers across a breathtaking landscape?  Do I show our mysterious Neolithic rock carvings and ancient forts, or tell how our National Park is home to England’s cleanest rivers, clearest air and darkest skies?  Or do I talk about farming, quarrying, artists, craftsmen or musicians?

The fact is that, in Northumberland National Park, our heritage is the landscape all around us: it is the rocks beneath our feet and the endless skies above. It is the earth from which our crops grow and the waters that nourish them. It is the shapes and scars of industry past and present. It is the microscopic organisms that creep and crawl and slither and climb. It is the tumultuous cacophony of languages, sounds, tastes, dialects, skills and traditions and cultures that add up to 6,000 years of human life here in Northumberland National Park.  This is heritage shaped by the landscape and of the landscape, a unique demonstration of the complex interactions between a natural and human environment and all that lies within it – on a 400 square mile scale.

Our vision is that the National Park will be a truly welcoming and distinctive place, easily accessible to all.  That its natural and cultural assets will be widely recognised and valued and its living, working landscape will contribute positively to the well-being of the thriving and vibrant communities in and around it.

Peace and tranquillity is a key quality of Northumberland National Park, and a feature valued by local communities and visitors alike.  In 2014, the National Park became part of Europe’s largest Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, for the quality of its night skies.

This year the UK’s first National Landscape Discovery Centre will open at The Sill on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park.  This will open the National Park and the wider North East to a larger and more diverse audience and will transform how people of all ages understand and explore landscapes.

Northumberland National Park is an exceptional place, and we want everyone who visits the National Park to have a truly exceptional experience and to be inspired by what they see.

So, Get Stuck In!

Tony Gates, Chief Executive

Tony Gates is the Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority; a post he has held since November 2005.  Tony has worked in landscape and heritage management for over 19 years and is an experienced senior executive and non-executive director.

A graduate of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tony has worked as a Town Planner with Cardiff City Council, where he worked on the regeneration of Cardiff Bay. Tony worked as a Regional Planner for the EU Development Programme in The Gambia, West Africa and for Chester City Council as Regeneration Manager.  Tony has also worked in rural development in Northern Ireland and, prior to joining the National Park Authority, was the first Chief Executive of the Mourne Heritage Trust in Northern Ireland.

In 2019 Tony was appointed chair of Your Homes Newcastle. He is also a member of the Council of the North East Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Board of Northumberland Tourism and the Kielder Partnership.

Tony is Chair of the North East Historic Environment Forum, a forum that champions the historic places and monuments of the north east. He is also Deputy Chair of the North East Farming and Rural Advisory Network which represents rural areas of the North East with Ministers and key decision-makers.

Rosie Thomas, Director of Business Development

Born and bred in The Lake District National Park Rosie joined the Northumberland National Park Authority as Head of Fundraising and Communications in early June 2016. Educated at The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, the North East captured Rosie’s heart and she is now pleased to call it home.

After study Rosie was immediately offered a role within the university itself, in their Student Community Action Newcastle service. She has since devoted her career to help provide better opportunities to those most in need. Whether through organising community projects in Kendal, Cumbria or through fundraising and partnership management in Tyne and Wear.

Rosie joined Northumberland National Park Authority from the role of Head of Fundraising at Sage Gateshead where she managed the successful £6 million 10th Birthday Appeal.

Pauline Wall, Director of Park Management

Originally from Leeds, she has spent her career in estates management and joins the National Park Authority from the National Trust.

During the last 8 years Pauline has managed a broad portfolio of heritage properties in the South of England, including Rudyard Kipling’s family home in Sussex and Monk’s House, the 16th-century home of novelist Virginia Woolf.