18th March 2020
Northumberlandia has been voted Landmark of the Year at the prestigious BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2020, beating off strong competition from some fantastic sites across the country.
Decided by public vote, the win for Northumberlandia was part of wider success for the North East region with Northumberland winning National Park of the Year, while Alnwick Gardens was voted Garden of the Year.
Land Trust Chief Executive, Euan Hall, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled that Northumberlandia was voted Landmark of the Year. I remember watching the lady take shape nearly 10 years ago and being so excited about how many people would benefit from this unique space.
“I know that Charles Jencks would have been so proud to see Northumberlandia win this award and this is just further recognition of the incredible vision he had, which created something, not only unique to the UK, but across the globe.
“The Land Trust works in partnership with Northumberland Wildlife Trust to manage this fantastic space for its visitors and for the wildlife there, ensuring the site is a great place for fun, adventure and learning. We hope many more people come to see this iconic land sculpture and enjoy what Northumberlandia, and also the wider region, has to offer. A huge thank you to everyone who voted.”
The idea for Northumberlandia originated in 2004 when the Banks Group was applying for permission to mine coal and fire clay on farmland owned by the Blagdon Estate, near to the town of Cramlington, to the North of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Both organisations recognised that whilst recovering much needed minerals for UK steel, cement and brick industries, electricity generation and providing local employment was important, there was also a unique opportunity to create a spectacular land-art form that would provide a legacy for future generations and a visitor attraction in south Northumberland. So the consortium contacted the internationally renowned artist Charles Jencks to see what could be done – and Northumberlandia was born.
Work began in 2010 and once the major landscape works and three wetland areas were complete the sculpture was seeded with grass which started to transform the landform into a living landscape. Her face, paths and viewing platforms were constructed with a hard stone surface with every feature surveyed and checked against carefully designed plans.
Now attracting over 100,000 visitors a year from across the globe, Northumberlandia is a stunning human landform of a reclining lady made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil. She is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long.
She is the key feature in a 19 hectare community park providing free public access, with four miles of footpaths on and around the landform, along with a café and visitor centre. Walking to the viewing point at the top offers stunning views of the Northumbrian coastline and countryside.
The Land Trust Took over management of the site in 2012 and over the last eight years the site has flourished as the Trust manages the site in line with its charitable objectives of health, environment and biodiversity, economy, education and learning and community cohesion, and delivers real and lasting social value for the community who live and work nearby.
Mark Dowdall, from the Banks Group said:
“I am delighted to see that the Lady of the North has won this prestigious award voted for by the general public. Northumberlandia has lived up to our original vision of creating an outstanding landscape feature for tourists and local residents to enjoy for years to come. We have worked with many talented people over the years to design, construct and maintain Northumberlandia and I look forward to seeing her providing a special place for families to enjoy for many years to come.”
Fergus Collins, Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, said:
“Congratulations to the winners and all those short-listed. There’s a really strong showing for the north-east in this year’s results and a couple of real surprises, too. The winners and runners up in every category are a resounding confirmation of the beauty and diversity of the British countryside.”
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