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New walks leaflets are a breath of fresh air

Source: Source:North Pennines AONB Geopark Published:Dec 31,2008

A series of three new leaflets featuring walks in the Blanchland area will give visitors an insight into the history, landscapes and wildlife that makes the area so special.

The three beautifully illustrated leaflets have been produced as part of the three-year Living North Pennines project, being run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership with £2m of Heritage Lottery (HLF) funding.

The walk routes were devised in collaboration with local residents as part of the Our North Pennines Stories, the community interpretation strand of Living North Pennines, which aims to celebrate human involvement in shaping the landscape and share these stories with the wider public.

Community Interpretation Officer Abi Wylde said: "Working with the Blanchland Community Development Organisation, what came over loud and clear was that residents were very proud of their village and keen to show visitors what makes Blanchland and the surrounding countryside so special to them."

Carefully designed for walkers of varying abilities, the leaflets are packed with fascinating information on the flora and fauna that abounds in the area:

Along the river bank (A trail of three tails!) is just over a mile in length and takes walkers out of Blanchland along the River Derwent, highlighting the wildlife that lives at the water's edge.

Over the hill to Cowbyre Farm is a 3.5 mile walk which begins with a climb up from the village and passes through woodland and pasture with magnificent views of the Derwent Valley along the way.

Newbiggin and the Carriers' Way is nine miles in length and the leaflet explains how the earliest settlers came to the area and how people have shaped the landscape down the ages with their activities.

Blanchland suffered badly in the summer flooding that affected the North East, with some villagers having to leave their homes so that water damage could be repaired. Sections of the riverbank were also washed away, but marked diversions are now in place so that walkers can continue to enjoy visiting Blanchland and exploring the area.

Abi Wylde said: "During 2009 as part of the Living North Pennines project and in partnership with Northumberland County Council and the Lord Crewe Estate we'll be creating a short 'all access' route so that more people - including those with mobility problems - can get closer to the natural beauty of Blanchland."

Sets of the three leaflets can be picked up free of charge from local Tourist Information Centres, libraries, pubs and tea rooms, or by contacting the North Pennines AONB Partnership on 01388 528801 / email