Northumberland Educational Week “History, Heritage, Environment” was the presentation of the North Northumberland Shore between Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and Druridge Bay, in a comprehensive way. For this purpose field courses and sessions that provided a view to shoreline, landscape and traditional land uses were combined with sessions given by experts in visitor management, heritage interpretation, and natural history.
The focus of the week was on methodologies of site interpretation and their practical application to engage residents and visitors. Description of sessions held during the week.
Session 1: A Northumberland Shore Itinerary
Context: Northumberland, also called Northumbria is often referred to as “The Best Kept Secret” in England, and as England’s most northerly county, covers an area of some 1935 square miles. It spreads from the historic town of Berwick upon Tweed in the north, to the village of Tynemouth with its golden sands and rolling surf, in the south.
Method: A tour by coach along the Northumberland coast from Lynemouth in the south to Berwick upon Tweed, on the Scottish Border, in the north.
Interpretative Methodology: Visual, spoken explanations, visit to Amble Tourist Information centre – leaflets and booklets
Target Audience: The participants of the educational week
Session 2: Amble GPX
Context and Method: This is a project developed by young people from Amble, a small town on the Northumberland cost. Using digital media and a combination of online and real life interaction with members of the community, participants were helped to explore and discover the town and its surrounding coast and countryside.
Please visit www.amblegpx.com/main.php for additional information.
Interpretative Methodology: Digital technology, mobile applications, websites
Target Audience: Young people and families
Session 3: Τhe Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Context: The aim of this field session was to show the participants the challenges and opportunities relating to tourism impacts and management on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
Method: Presentation and discussion on the impact of visitor pressure upon natural island ecosystems, vegetation and biodiversity. In addition, attention was paid to the importance of interpretation and visitor engagement. Work of the Holy Island Partnership of NGOs and Statutory (Government) agencies.
Guided visits around the Island, to National Nature Reserve (North Shore). There was opportunity for participants to explore the island and Lindisfarne Castle, Lindisfarne Priory.
Interpretative Methodology: New technology / Digital Applications
Target Audience: General public visitors to Lindisfarne, naturalists, religious pilgrims, families and day visitors
Session 4 : Potland Burn Surface Mine
Method: PowerPoint presentation by UK Coal Site Manager
Tour of open cast surface mine workings
Context: This session was organised to allow the participants to learn about and view a working open cast surface mine, and to discuss methods and value of post-production site restoration with regard to ecological and recreational constraints.
Session 5: Low Hauxley Nature Reserve
Context: The reserve is part of the former Radcliff open cast coal mine, which was landscaped to produce a lake with islands. This session was planned as a direct follow on from Session 4 to allow the participants to place anthropogenic activities “making” the Northumbrian coastal landscape into a context where ecological and economic benefits can accrue after phases of primary economic activity have ceased.
Method: Site visit, discussions.
- Opportunity to observe birdlife / flora on the reserve.
- Discussion of use of site for Carbon Capture research by Professor Mike Jeffries (Northumbria University).
- Explanation of archaeological importance of reserves.
Interpretative Methodology: Leaflets, booklets, interpretation panels.
Target Audience: Birdwatchers, local area day visitors.
Session 6: Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (N.C.A.O.N.B.)
Context: An overview of the management of the Northumberland Coast and protected areas.
Method: PowerPoint presentation by Iain Robson (Access and Natural Environment Officer, N.C.A.O.N.B.), followed by guided walk from Warkworth to Alnmouth.
Interpretative Methodology: Booklets on A.O.N.B area and habitats, North Sea Trail guide books, interpretation panels along route.
Target Audience: Tourist visitors, local area day visitors and resident
Session 7: The Farne Islands
Context: The FarneIslands are possibly the most exciting seabird colony in England with unrivalled views of 23 species, including around 37,000 pairs of puffin.
It’s also home to a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn.
Method: Presentation on birds of the Northumberland coast and Farne Islands (Tim Dean, Northumberland County Bird recorder) followed by boat trip around the islands, and landing on Inner Farne (David Steel, National Trust Warden)
Interpretative Methodology: Guided boat tours around islands, leaflets, self guided visits
Target Audience: Birdwatchers, nature tourism, visitors