Centre to enhance landform facilities

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WORK is under way to bring a new addition to a popular Northumberland visitor attraction.

A visitor centre will be built at landform Northumberlandia, near Blagdon.

The £242,000 facility, which is funded by Banks Community Fund and Defra’s Regional Economy Grant, will be located in woodland and act as the gateway to the Lady of the North sculpture and 46-acre community park.

It will provide information about the attraction, a cafe, shop and toilets, and will also be available for community activities, such as meetings, educational courses and as a base for guided walks and talks.

The centre, which will be managed by Azure Charitable Enterprises, is being built by Newcastle company Clearspace Buildings, and as much of the construction takes place off site, groundwork preparation can be carried out at the same time, significantly reducing the overall build time. As a result, the facility should be open by the end of November.

The free community park and iconic landform was designed by architect Charles Jencks and created with £3million investment from The Banks Group mining company and the Blagdon Estate.

It is managed by The Land Trust and in its first year the park has attracted more than 100,000 visitors.

Banks Environment and Community Director Mark Dowdall said: “When we first developed our plans for Northumberlandia, we set out to deliver a new gateway feature for Northumberland with a unique and spectacular publicly accessible land sculpture as the centrepiece, providing a really special place for the local community and attracting new visitors to the region.

“The Lady of the North and the number of visitors are already meeting our initial expectations and I hope that these new facilities will attract even more visitors to the region.”