Protected landscapes

Protected landscapes

This page provides information about the three protected landscapes in Northumberland.

Protected landscapes

This page provides information about three protected landscapes in Northumberland.

Northumberland encompasses a range of landscapes, shaped by geology, soils, climate and human activity.

These include the Cheviot Hills and North Pennines, the agricultural lowlands, the urban fringe and coastal seascapes.

They are more than just ‘the view,’ they reflect the complex, interacting natural and cultural system that make them up. These landscapes share some common features but all have their own distinctive characteristics.

Protected landscapes in Northumberland
Three areas have been designated as some of the most important areas in the UK by the government. These are:

Northumberland National Park

This section provides information about Northumberland National Park.

Officially the country’s most tranquil location, Northumberland National Park covers 20% of Northumberland county.

The source of four of the country’s rivers, the national park is 405 square miles of hills and valleys, including the world heritage site at Hadrian’s Wall, North Tyne and Redesdale, Coquetdale and the Cheviot Hills on the border with Scotland.

Management of the national park
The national park is managed by a stand-alone local authority, Northumberland National Park Authority. There are 18 members appointed to this authority to serve a renewable fixed-term appointment.

Six are appointed by Northumberland County Council, following any local elections held in May. 12 are appointed by the secretary of state for the environment, with half of them representing local, regional or national interests for a four-year term and the other half appointed to represent six parish groupings in the national park.

Three of these parish groupings are from the north (formerly the Alnwick and Berwick districts) and three are from the south (formerly Tynedale district). 
Planning authority
Northumberland National Park Authority is the statutory planning authority for the area of the national park, with specific responsibility for developing planning policies for the park and for development management (dealing with planning applications) within the park. Other related matters, such as building control and environmental health, are the responsibility of Northumberland County Council, within the boundaries of the national park.

The statutory purposes and duty for the national park area are to:
  • conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the park
  • promote opportunities for public understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities
 An additional statutory duty of the national park is in pursuing purposes. The authority should seek to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities within the national park.

The national park authority and county council work closely on a number of shared and specialist services, including on access and rights of way, jointly hosting the joint local access forum for the national park and county.