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Home > News > Revitalising Redesdale Newsletter – March 2019

Revitalising Redesdale Newsletter – March 2019

March 2, 2019

Your brief on what the team and partners have been getting up to.

Repair works to Scheduled Monuments completed

The repair and consolidation works to Ridsdale Ironworks Engine House and High Rochester Roman Fort have been completed, ensuring these important historical sites are conserved for future generations. We are now developing interpretation for the sites.

Lidar Landscapes

The Redesdale Lidar Landscapes project has gone from strength to strength, with 34 volunteers participating to survey 100 square km of Redesdale Lidar data. We are delighted to announce that the project is now being extended, with the new target to survey over 200 square km. To date, exciting new finds have included previously unrecorded Roman marching camps, medieval villages and Iron Age settlements. Who knows what else we might discover?! If you would like to be involved please get in touch with Karen.

Footpath improvements carried out at Padon Hill and Byrness

As part of the Walk and Cycle Redesdale project, improvement works have been carried out along sections of the Pennine Way at Padon Hill, Blakehopeburnhaugh and Byrness, including soil reversal and drainage works to combat boggy sections of the path, new steps on steep sections and improved way marking. In addition, way marking and strimming have been undertaken along the public bridleway and forestry commission tracks at Byrness, creating a way marked circular route up the Spithope valley. A guided walk of the circular route will be held on the 12th May, see details below.

‘The Nick’ to be revealed to the world

Students from Newcastle University have finished the creation and installation of a new interpretive structure at Blakehope Nick, on the Forest Drive between Byrness and Kielder. ‘The Nick’ will officially be opened at an event in May. Keep an eye out for updates.

Restoring Redesdale’s Peatland

The peatland programme continued with restoration work at Steng Moss during winter 2018/19. Located at the top of two river catchments, the Rede and the Wansbeck, the aims of these works were to reduce erosion, reduce and delay the loss of water from the system and to conserve the important bog habitat. This was done by blocking artificial ditches, known as ‘grips’, using peat dams to hold water on the site and by re-profiling the sides of the grips to make them shallower, helping to reduce erosion and allowing the bog flora to grow and hold the peat in place.

With the help of Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumberland National Park volunteers, as well as students from Northumberland College, we have also removed many self-seeded Sitka spruce trees. These non-native Sitka spruce have a cumulative drying effect on peat and reduce the availability of light, through shading. This can result in damage to the surrounding vegetation and eventually the peat, reducing its ability to store carbon, regulate water and its suitability for its unique wildlife.

River Improvement Project

In February, the River Rede was the focus of the Tyne Catchment Partnership.  The group visited the upstream works on tributaries of the Lisles Burn delivered by the River Project Team at East Woodburn in January. These include log jams with brash bundles and sediment ponds, to help slow the flow in high rainfall events and reduce sediment entering the Burn and River.  The Team also completed some grazing management fencing and water troughs on the Miller Burn near Otterburn.  On 20th March, our colleagues at Groundwork NE & Cumbria and Tyne Rivers Trust volunteers will be planting riverside trees at Otterburn.

Volunteering Opportunities

Transcriber- Ordnance Survey Place Name Books

The Ordnance Survey Name Books (OSNBs) are the records of fieldwork done by Royal Engineers surveyors as a basis for First Edition Six Inch maps and subsequent maps. As well as surveying, they collected information about places and place-names from local informants and consulted histories and directories of the county.

OSNBs survive for most of Scotland, but for only the four northernmost counties of England, including 104 books for Northumberland parishes. Many entries contain fascinating insights into the landscape, antiquities, buildings, and industrial and social history of the mid 19th century. For example, in rural Northumberland we hear of gentlemen’s residences, busy village schools and chapels, Post Offices despatching letters at 3.15 prompt, wells, mills, and archaeological sites generally labelled ‘camps’.The Northumberland Name Books project, launched in May 2016, seeks to make this valuable resource available to researchers and the general public through a website. The few remaining to be transcribed include Elsdon, a very large parish covered in two books and a total of 404 pages. Transcribing involves typing the content as seen into Excel workbooks, following the detailed guidelines provided. If anyone would like more details or is interested in volunteering to be involved in this, please contact Karen.

Upcoming Events

Introduction to Newts and Other Amphibians

Saturday 6th April, 6pm-8.45pm & Sunday 7th April 8am-9am
Otterburn Memorial Hall, NE19 1NP

This two-part event, designed to give a good understanding of newts and other amphibians, will cover species identification, their ecology and survey methods. 

For booking and more event information:

Catcleugh Discovery Day

Wednesday 10th April, 1pm-5pm
Byrness Village Hall, NE19 1TS

Discover the story of the workers who built Catcleugh reservoir, explore the last remaining Black House and find out how you can get involved in an exciting new radio play production about Catcleugh.

To book contact Karen Collins on 07741 194309,

Afternoon Tea at Byrness

Wednesday 10th April, 5pm-7pm
Byrness Village Hall, NE19 1TS

Join us for an informal afternoon tea to find out about our projects and events, share your stories and ideas and find out how you can get involved.

To book contact Karen Collins on 07741 194309,

Volunteer thank-you event: Arms and Armour

Saturday 13th April, 2pm-4pm
Elsdon Village Green

As a special thank-you to our volunteers, we are offering an introduction to warfare in the late fourteenth century— there’ll be swords, armour, polearms and bows – all available for handling plus a chance for basic spear drill! John Sadler and Beverley Palin will be providing an interactive introduction to the subject with lively discourse, storytelling and even period music, much clashing of swords and a chance (for those who wish to) to join in.

The event is free of charge and will be followed by an afternoon tea at Elsdon Village Hall, which will also be open to the wider community to come along and find out more about Revitalising Redesdale projects and have an informal chat.

To book contact Karen on 07741 194309,

Afternoon Tea at Elsdon

Saturday 13th April, 3.30pm-5.30pm
Elsdon Village Hall, NE19 1AB

Join us for an informal afternoon tea to find out about our projects and events, share your stories and ideas and find out how you can get involved.

To book contact Karen Collins on 07741 194309,

Guided walk- Byrness, Spithope and the Pennine Way

Sunday 12th May, 10.30am
Byrness Village

Celebrate the Forestry Commission’s Centenary with this circular walk along recently improved Forestry Commission trails through the Spithope valley and back along the Pennine Way.
7 miles. Moderate. £5 per person.

To book visit:

Archaeological survey of Farmstead Settlement

Sunday 26th, Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th May, 10am-4pm 
Rattenraw Farm, Otterburn, NE19 1LH

Take part in a detailed survey of a farmstead settlement and learn new archaeological survey skills. No previous experience needed, all training provided. Attend just one, two or all three days.

To book contact Karen Collins on 07741 194309,

Discover the World of Bumblebees and Honeybees

Sunday 23rd June, 10am-2pm 
Elsdon Village Hall, NE19 1AB

What’s that buzz? Learn about bees, discover their importance as pollinators and find out how you can help them.

For booking and more event information:

Revitalising Redesdale is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thank you all National Lottery players!

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Use our interactive DISCOVER map to explore the Rede Valley, facilities and places of interest to visit.


Revitalising Redesdale Partners are delivering a range of projects to “inspire and enable us all to care for Redesdale."

What's On

There are many events covering a wide range of topics and activities, find out what's on in Redesdale over the next few months.

Walking around Redesdale

We have created a series of 6 self-guided walk leaflets to help you to explore some of the footpaths and bridleways around the area.