Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa is well and truly part of the beauty of Northumberland. Set in 500 acres of parkland, it is a luxurious idyll for anyone exploring the Tyne Valley and Hadrian’s Wall. But our nature is not just what surrounds us, it is how we look after it and who we are, so we thought you might be interested to hear a little bit about what goes on at Matfen Hall behind the scenes…

Matfen Hall Hotel Golf and Spa

(more…)

Curator Peter Sharpe talks to us about the Kielder Art & Architecture trail and how the landscape of Kielder Border Forest influences him, the artists and the sculptures.

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Working for Kielder Art & Architecture has provided me with the opportunity to learn about and experience the fascinating environment of Kielder Water & Forest Park. The sheer scale of the forest and lake allow for a huge range of creative responses that are able to co-exist without competing and offer alternative insights into this landscape’s history, occupation, weather, seasonal conditions, flora and fauna.

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Kielder Water & Forest Park

(more…)

“Went to see Hadrian’s Wall. Saw it. Came back.”

Adrian Mole

I was hoping for to be able to conjure up a slightly more evocative review of Hadrian’s Wall than that from the famed teenage diarist following my visit to one of the region’s most-loved landmarks.

Walking the Wall, Northumberland National Park

Walking the Wall in Northumberland National Park

I was visiting a small stretch of the world famous Hadrian’s Wall on a guided walk organised by Northumberland National Park volunteers. This was my first experience with guided walks and one I was very much looking forward to. Although I like walking outdoors I’m far too reliant on modern technology. The draw of Google and their ubiquitous maps mean as soon as I enter a mobile phone black spot, I’m lost.

What I needed was a walking experience with a knowledgeable guide who could explain the surroundings to me; one that did not really on 3 to 4 bars of 4G signal. (more…)

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens: What goes on behind the scenes?

Anyone who is a keen gardener will know the hard work involved keeping your own personal green haven in check.  So imagine what goes into managing those at Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens: a 40 acre garden which is hundreds of years old, Grade-One Listed and full of extremely rare and exotic plants, mosses, ferns, shrubs, bulbs, flowers, trees and more.

Aerial view of Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens

Aerial view of Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens

Head gardener Jo Harrigan leads the six-strong gardening team, supported by dedicated volunteers. Unsurprisingly, it’s a full-time, year-round job that requires a great amount of skill, knowledge and most importantly a passion and love for all things horticultural.

(more…)

One of the world’s most contemporary gardens, The Alnwick Garden was built to break the rules.

Eighteen years ago, The Duchess of Northumberland embarked upon the creation of “A huge public garden of classic symmetry and astonishing beauty…”  and today The Alnwick Garden is not only an inspiring landscape with beautifully sculpted foliage vivified by water, but the Wirtz International design has combined unique features and spaces to encourage interaction, learning and play.

The Grand Cascade at The Alnwick Garden

The Grand Cascade at The Alnwick Garden

(more…)