Northumberland National Park, Northumberlandia and The Alnwick Garden’s Poison Garden have all been shortlisted in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2020.
The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges that include Countryfile presenter Tom Heap, travel writer Dixe Wills, historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and Andrew Hall from the Campaign for National Parks. It will now be up to the public to vote for their favourite parts of the British Countryside.
This is not the first time the county has seen success in these awards; in 2018, Northumberland won the National Park of the Year, and Hadrian’s Wall won Landmark of the Year in 2019.
The Park has been shortlisted again in the National Park of the Year category and will be up against The Cairngorms, Snowdonia, Yorkshire Dales and South Downs. It is described in the nomination as having rugged uplands, crystal-clear rivers and dark forests, as well as the stamp of human history with Hadrian’s Wall. The new visitor’s centre of The Sill at Once Brewed is helping to increase the accessibility to nature through exciting exhibitions and events.
Glen Sanderson, Chair of Northumberland National Park Authority said: “I am thrilled that we are shortlisted again in such great company of other beautiful national parks. Northumberland truly is unique in its visitor experience; from our pristine dark skies, our tranquil landscapes, friendly staff and volunteers, to our outstanding visitors centre at The Sill. We hope that the public feel the same way and vote for our wonderful park.”
Northumberlandia, next to Cramlington in a 19-hectare community park, was the brainchild of renowned landscape designer and architectural historian, Charles Jencks, who passed away last year at the age of 80. Also known as the Lady of the North, it is made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, and is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long.
Alan Carter, Director of Portfolio Management, for the Land Trust said: “We are delighted that Northumberlandia has been nominated for Landmark of the Year and it is great recognition for a site that welcomes thousands of visitors a year and has become a real part of the community since opening in 2012.”
The Poison Garden has been one of the main attractions to visitors coming to The Alnwick Garden since its development in 2005. With over 100 of the most deadly and narcotic plants locked behind formidable black iron gates, including Deadly Nightshade, the opium poppy, and hemlock. The garden is recognised for its thrilling experience and education of dangerous herbs and flowers.
Mark Brassell, CEO of The Alnwick Garden said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated, particularly as this is the first year that The Poison Garden has been recognised in these awards. Year after year we welcome thousands of visitors to our poison garden where we strive to not only amaze them with the array of ways in which common plants can in fact cause death and illness, but also to educate via our Drugs Education Programme which aims to give young people the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding about drugs and alcohol, empowering them to reach their full potential in society.”
The nominations add to a positive period for tourism in Northumberland, with visitor spending in the county surpassing £1 billion in 2018.
Cath Homer, cabinet member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism at Northumberland County Council said: “It is fantastic to see so many worthy destinations and landmarks nominated from Northumberland.
“Our county boasts breath-taking landscapes and visitor attractions that are bringing in millions of visitors every year. We would encourage everyone to get behind the county and vote in these awards and show their support for Northumberland.”
Voting is open to the public until the 28th February, with winners being announced online in March.
Anyone wishing to vote should go to: https://countryfile.awardsplatform.com/