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The Newsletter of the Northumberland Coast
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
March 2015
Dear ,
It certainly feels like Spring is in the air this week. This is confirmed by sightings of the season's first puffins and first National Trust Rangers on the Farne Islands. 

Whatever the season, the Northumberland coast is a great place to take a dog for a good walk on the beach. Many visitors to our area come here because our beaches are dog friendly.  Being able to walk dogs on the beach at any time of the year, without restriction, is a privilege that most people elsewhere in England don't have.  Privileges should be earned and the majority of dog walkers do this by behaving responsibly and cleaning up after their dog. Sadly, there is a minority who don't and it is they who risk this privilege being removed. 

Whilst we encourage responsible dog ownership, we will not spoil our beautiful coastline with more signs, bins or other urbanising clutter. However we must keep challenging the irresponsible minority and this issue of Coastal Views includes some useful advice from the County Council on how local people can help us to tackle this particularly offensive problem.

Cllr John Woodman,
Chair, Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
Peregrini Lindisfarne  - Introducing Helen
Helen Griffiths
We are delighted to announce that Helen Griffiths has joined our
team as the Peregrini Lindisfarne Programme Manager.

Over the next three years Helen will be responsible for the delivery of the £1.8m Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme for the Peregrini Lindisfarne area.  Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership covers an area from Scremeston in the north to Budle Bay in the south including the whole of Holy Island. 

Helen has a wealth of project management experience and is joining us from a role as a Senior Locality Development Officer. "I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to work within one of Britain's most iconic landscapes. I am relishing the many challenges that lay ahead and looking forward to the conservation rewards".

Visitor Guide 2015/16
Cllr John Woodman and designer, Mike Jones from PDP unveil the new Visitor GuideWe officially unveiled our 2015/16 visitor guide at the Alnwick Tourism Fair on 18th March. The guide is bigger and better than previous years, packed full of information for visitors about how they can make the most of their visit to the AONB in a responsible way. 

The guide will be available from Tourist Information Centres, tourist attractions and accommodation businesses. 

If you are a tourism business and need a supply of guides, please contact us to arrange delivery.

The visitor guide will soon be available to download from our website. 

Great British Beach Clean
The results of the annual Great British Beach Clean, held last September, have been released by the Marine Conservation Society. 

In September 2014, volunteers broke a 21 year record when they
found 2,457 pieces of litter on each kilometer of beach they cleaned and surveyed. Beach litter is continuing to rise and 
plastic is still the most frequently found item on our shores.

Beach LitterHowever more and more wet wipes are smothering our beaches.
As more people choose to use moist cloths to remove make-up, replace traditional toilet paper and apply fake tan, more wipes are flushed down the loo causing havoc with sewerage systems and ending up on our beaches.

The good news is that the amount of litter on beaches in the North East has actually dropped and Northumberland's beaches are some of the cleanest in the country. The national average is for 2,457 bits of litter collected per kilometre cleaned.  In Northumberland, this figure was just 912.

Dogs on the Beach
The Northumberland coast is an increasingly popular place for people to bring their dogs for a walk. Of course, this is understandable, with miles of quiet beaches with no restrictions for dogs.

Most dog owners act responsibly, cleaning up after their dog and keeping it on a lead when appropriate. A small minority however do not. This minority spoil our beautiful coastline for everyone including their fellow dog walkers. This behaviour will not be tolerated.

Dogs on the coastWe have a leaflet which gives some common-sense advice for people who bring their dogs to the coast. It can be picked up at tourist information centres or downloaded from our website.

At this time of year birds are looking to build their nests on the beach or in the adjacent grasslands and are very prone to disturbance, so dogs should be kept on a lead here until the end of July.

Northumberland County Council has a zero-tolerance policy for those who do not clean up after their dog. However their dog wardens can't be everywhere. They rely on reports from members of the public and we would encourage anyone who witnesses dog fouling to report it to the Council. The following information is useful:
  • Time, date, location
  • Description of dogs, owners or vehicles

National Plant Monitoring Scheme
This is a new habitat-based plant monitoring scheme designed by BSBI, CEH, Plantlife and JNCC. The aim is to collect data to provide an annual indication of changes in plant abundance and diversity.

Why is it needed?
Thanks to volunteers, we have a very good understanding of changes in the populations of birds, butterflies and bats. Plants are the foundation of habitats and ecosystems, but currently we do not have a good measure of changes in plant populations across the country.

How will it work?
This is a scientific survey, so you will be randomly allocated a convenient 1km square to visit. The visit involves recording plant 'indicator species' in plots. Within your 1km square you will record around 5 plots in semi-natural habitats.

Who can take part?
Anyone interested in nature who can identify plants, or who is keen to learn. Different levels of participation ensure that all who are keen can participate: you do not have to be an experienced botanist. You will only need to identify between 25-30 'indicator species' per habitat. These are distinctive species specially selected to allow us to monitor changes in the countryside.

There are a few squares left within the AONB. More details can be found on the NPMS website.    

Tour of Britain 
It has been announced that the 2015 Tour of Britain cycling race 
will pass through the AONB when it visits the County in September. Exact detail of the route is still a closely guarded secret but we know that the cyclists will travel through the AONB between Alnwick and Amble on Wednesday 9th September as they bike from the Scottish Borders to Blyth.

Tour of Britain, Northumberland logo
Northumberland is to host two stages of the prestigious Friends Life Tour of Britain, the UK's largest professional cycle race. This will be the first time Britain's national bike race has passed through the North East since 2009 and is a massive coup for the county.

Some of the world's top cyclists are expected to turn up to compete. Last year the UK's favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were in the starting line-up and hopes are high that they will be competing again this year.

Once the route is confirmed we will be working with the communities along the route to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.

First Class!
Berwick's Royal Border Bridge will feature as a first-class stamp on newly launched Royal Mail stamps.

The stamp issue is aimed at celebrating the leaps in engineering that have seen the UK's bridges evolve from humble stone crossings to dramatic and symbolic landmarks.
Royal Mail vans working locally will also carry an image of the stamp.

Crossing the River Tweed, the Royal Border Bridge was constructed between 1847 and 1850 to the design of Robert Stephenson and was a key component in Britain's expanding railway system, linking London to Edinburgh.

Nature Reserve Closure
Hauxley Nature Reserve will be closed to visitors from Tuesday 7 April 2015 (the day after Bank Holiday Monday) until spring 2016.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Northumberland Coast
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Northumberland Coast AONB was designated in 1958 and covers 39 miles of coast from Berwick to the Coquet estuary. Within this stretch of coastline is some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the country.

The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership is responsible for making sure that this landscape is conserved and enhanced now and for future generations.
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Contact Us:
Northumberland Coast
AONB Partnership
c/o County Hall
NE61 2EF
Email us
Telephone: 01670 620306
The Northumberland Coast AONB is part of the AONB Family - the UK's Landscapes for Life
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