Prestigious accolade for Northumberlandia
North East icon wins Best Parks Partnership at Horticulture Week Custodian Awards
THE partnership behind the Northumberlandia human landform sculpture has been recognized for its work to create publicly accessible green space that brings education, health and environmental benefits.
At the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards, the partnership team of Banks Mining, Blagdon Estates, the Land Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust picked up the Best Parks Partnership – Third Sector accolade.
The concept for the 19ha park and unique landscape art came in 2004, when Banks Group and Blagdon Estate started mining coal and fireclay at Shotton surface mine.
They seized the opportunity to create a restoration-first community space that could be enjoyed for years to come and enlisted Charles Jencks to design the reclining ‘Lady of the North’ (pictured).
Meanwhile, the Land Trust, which was granted a 99-year lease to set the strategic vision for the park, brought in Northumberland Wildlife Trust to manage the site on a day-to-day basis through its ranger and volunteer team.
Northumberlandia opened in September 2012 and a visitor centre followed in March 2014. Around 100,000 people visit the park each year, including many schoolchildren on educational trips.
Matthew Williamson, agent at the Blagdon Estate, said: ‘Blagdon prides itself on working in partnership with many different types of organizations and we are all very happy to see Northumberlandia win this award.
‘During Northumberlandia’s conception and construction, Blagdon Estate and the Banks Group were aware of the need for an effective management team, and with the Land Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust on board we were confident that the Lady of the North would thrive – and will continue to do so.’
Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at the Banks Group, added: ‘Northumberlandia is a fantastic community asset that has quickly become a highly valued North East icon, and this latest award is further recognition of the Lady’s status.’