Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best parks partnership - third sector

Winner - Northumberlandia, the Land Trust

The concept for Northumberlandia — a unique piece of landscape art set in a 19ha park — came in 2004 when Blagdon Estate and Banks Group began mining coal and fireclay on farmland near Cramlington. Both recognised the opportunity to create a unique place for the community to enjoy for generations to come.

Artist Charles Jencks designed the massive landform sculpture and work began in 2010. The Land Trust was granted a 99-year lease, allowing it to set a long-term, sustainable strategic plan. Northumberland Wildlife Trust would provide management through rangers and volunteers.

Northumberlandia opened in September 2012, followed by a visitor centre in March 2014. The site has become an asset to the region, with around 100,000 visitors annually.

Partnership working has been at the heart of Northumberlandia since conception. The drive to provide for the community became reality with the land management experience and charitable objectives of the Land Trust, put into practice every day by Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

All partners are committed to enhancing the site and managing the park in a sustainable way while delivering educational benefits as well as encouraging local volunteering and community events.

Additional partnerships have been created with local organisations, further strengthening the community bond. Footprints on the Moon, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers outdoor activities, regularly uses Northumberlandia for events. The local library, Cramlington Women’s Institute and other community groups also make use of the space.

The Land Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust work hard to forge partnerships and links with other charities, helping to support Northumberlandia through activities such as tree planting and wildlife monitoring. Funding partnerships are also developing, with schemes such as Tesco’s "Bags of Help".

Established out of a third-sector partnership, enhanced via ongoing partnership working and growing still by engaging and inspiring more people and community groups, Northumberlandia is an excellent example of how long-term strategy, funding and passion can help the environment, people and society.

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