Lottery grant will reveal county's First World War heritage

The County Council has received £67,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to deliver a project which will provide access to a little known piece of the Northumberland’s history and increase understanding of the role of local people in the First World War.

Working in partnership with The Forestry Commission the project will provide access to a remarkable set of First World War practice trenches on a remote area of moorland behind Rothbury. Temporary facilities, schools packs and specialist education staff will provide a series of workshops and tours to the trenches.

The project will also involve Coquetdale Community Archaeology Group which has excavated the site in the past and the Northumberland Army Cadets will be involved in creating a full replica of a First World War trench.  

The Rothbury Trenches are an extremely well persevered set of First World War practice trenches, designed in characteristic zig-zag pattern to mirror the allied fortifications and prepare the men of the Northumberland Fusiliers for the Western Front.

Cllr Dave Ledger, Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council and Armed Forces Champion for Northumberland said; ‘I am extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this funding. Not all children will get the opportunity to visit Flanders or Ypres as I did and this project will allow children from Northumberland the opportunity to learn about the First World War at first hand.

"Thanks to National Lottery players and our other partners, a great many more people will learn about how the First World War affected their communities and perhaps experience a little of what life was like for the brave men of Northumberland on the Western Front.

"We are also very grateful to the Armstrong Estates, whose land the trenches are situated on.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “The Rothbury Trenches were a key part of training for the Northumberland Fusiliers, but their heritage is not widely known. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this project which will enable people of all ages to explore and share the story of the trenches and of the men who used them.”

Alex MacLennan, Recreation & Public Affairs Manager for the Forestry Commission in the North East, said:  “At the Forestry Commission we are always looking for innovative ways to increase enjoyment and understanding of our natural spaces for people and this project provides an ideal opportunity. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund  people will have the opportunity to explore this unique piece of history and also increase understanding of the role of the Forestry Commission since its establishment during World War One- this also ties into the Forestry Commission celebrating 100 years  in 2019."

(Picture courtsey of Historic England)
View all news