North Pennines AONB European and Global Geopark

The North Pennines AONB, became the first area in Britain to be awarded the status of European Geopark in June 2003. European and Global Geoparks are supported by UNESCO. The AONB is noted for its diversity of wildlife and for its nationally recognised scenic qualities, but it also has a world-class geological heritage.

Objective 6 (Theme 4)

Conserve through sites and areas

  • European Geopark Status and Northern Rocks festival
    Awarded European Geopark status in 2003 and was one of the founding members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network a year later. The North Pennines Festival of Geology and Landscape is an annual week-long festival of various activities as part of the European Geopark celebrations.

Objective 7 (Theme 4)

Maintain and enhance through management

  • Peatscapes Project
    A collaborative project to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the AONB and to promote peatland conservation at the local, national and international level. The objectives of Peatscapes are: Restoration - supporting restoration and management work through the promotion of existing agri-environment and wildlife enhancement grants and through sourcing new additional funds - Peatscapes has set a target to block 1000 km of moorland grips by 2012 at an estimated cost of £1 million; Celebration - raising the level of understanding and appreciation of the significance of the resource to those living in, working in and visiting the area; Promoting best practice - supporting the provision of management advice on upland peatland to form the basis of practical management works; and Research - supporting and disseminating new and existing research into peatland processes, ecology and management.

Objective 8 (Theme 4)

Share good practice

  • Peatscapes Project
    A collaborative project to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the AONB and to promote peatland conservation at the local, national and international level. The objectives of Peatscapes are: Restoration - supporting restoration and management work through the promotion of existing agri-environment and wildlife enhancement grants and through sourcing new additional funds - Peatscapes has set a target to block 1000 km of moorland grips by 2012 at an estimated cost of £1 million; Celebration - raising the level of understanding and appreciation of the significance of the resource to those living in, working in and visiting the area; Promoting best practice - supporting the provision of management advice on upland peatland to form the basis of practical management works; and Research - supporting and disseminating new and existing research into peatland processes, ecology and management.

Objective 9 (Theme 5)

Make relevant to the wider world

  • European Geopark Status and Northern Rocks festival
    Awarded European Geopark status in 2003 and was one of the founding members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network a year later. The North Pennines Festival of Geology and Landscape is an annual week-long festival of various activities as part of the European Geopark celebrations.

  • Trails, interpretive materials and guided walks
    Many interpretative leaflets, sign boards and trail guides have been produced for sites throughout the region. Appropriate locations were identified in the 04-09 audit and action plan. Themed guided walks are provided as part of the AONB events programme.

  • “Wheels to the Wild” cycle route
    A cycle guide available from local shops, attractions, information centres and the AONB Partnership Staff Unit, including information on a three-day cycle route and 3 individual day trips through the geology and landscape of the AONB.

  • Rock Detective Clubs
    Held across the North Pennines AONB region for children aged 6 – 12 years, including activities such as fossil hunts, games and crafts, video animations and visits to ‘hands-on’ attractions. Harehope Quarry Project at Frosterley, Weardale, is an innovative environmental education centre with a strong ‘geotheme’. Not only are many geological subjects addressed here regularly, but Harehope is also host to one of the AONB Partnership’s three children’s geology clubs, ‘Rock Detectives.’ Other Rock Detectives hosts are the North Pennines Heritage Trust at Nenthead and Talkin Tarn Country Park.

Objective 10 (Theme 5)

Use the arts to involve people

  • Linking geodiversity and the arts: the Sounds of Killhope workshop
    Three-day workshop for local college students to interpret the sights and sounds of the museum through their own artwork. The Geodiversity Officer with the AONB Partnership introduced the geological processes that have shaped the North Pennine landscape using examples of her own artwork. A collaboration between the museum, AONB Partnership, local Community College and the museum’s Visiting Artist.

Objective 11 (Theme 5)

Create resources to help integrate geodiversity into learning

  • Centres endorsed by the AONB Partnership (including Killhope North of England Lead Mining Museum and Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre)
    Programmes of education, interpretation and outreach, and the staff are also involved in supporting geology and mining heritage projects throughout the area. At Killhope Museum, visitors can experience the mineshop where children can learn how the miners lived, work as a ‘washerboy’ looking for minerals and galena, and observe the working machinery in the ‘jigger house’. At Nenthead, visitors can explore the underground tunnels and tramways of Carr’s Mine, view the Power of Water Exhibition, go mineral panning, visit the Brewery Shaft and Smelt Complex, and follow self guided trails throughout the site.

  • Peatscapes Project
    A collaborative project to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the AONB and to promote peatland conservation at the local, national and international level. The objectives of Peatscapes are: Restoration - supporting restoration and management work through the promotion of existing agri-environment and wildlife enhancement grants and through sourcing new additional funds - Peatscapes has set a target to block 1000 km of moorland grips by 2012 at an estimated cost of £1 million; Celebration - raising the level of understanding and appreciation of the significance of the resource to those living in, working in and visiting the area; Promoting best practice - supporting the provision of management advice on upland peatland to form the basis of practical management works; and Research - supporting and disseminating new and existing research into peatland processes, ecology and management.

Objective 13 (Theme 6)

Increase financial support

  • Peatscapes Project
    A collaborative project to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the AONB and to promote peatland conservation at the local, national and international level. The objectives of Peatscapes are: Restoration - supporting restoration and management work through the promotion of existing agri-environment and wildlife enhancement grants and through sourcing new additional funds - Peatscapes has set a target to block 1000 km of moorland grips by 2012 at an estimated cost of £1 million; Celebration - raising the level of understanding and appreciation of the significance of the resource to those living in, working in and visiting the area; Promoting best practice - supporting the provision of management advice on upland peatland to form the basis of practical management works; and Research - supporting and disseminating new and existing research into peatland processes, ecology and management.

Objective 14 (Theme 6)

Encourage working together

  • Geodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015
    Following completion of the Geodiversity Audit and Action Plan in 2004, the North Pennines AONB Partnership started the Rockworks project in 2005 (4 year, £600K programme of work, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural England, CDENT and LEADER+), which supports many different geodiversity initiatives. A follow-up to the 2004-09 Geodiversity Audit and Action Plan for the North Pennines has since been produced, which is a commitment in the statutory AONB Management Plan. It is informed by the original audit of geological sites and features carried out with the British Geological Survey in 2003/04, which underpinned the original 04-09 action plan. The 2010-2015 plan includes a comprehensive time-based action plan.

  • Relationships with quarry Operators
    Maintaining and building upon relationships with local quarry operators, notably the Sherburn Group, who have been helpful in supporting people to find out more about their local geology.