MORE than 300 people have enjoyed a sneak peek at Northumberland’s newest landmark.
Northumberlandia – a 100ft high landform at the centre of a new park – is being created on the Blagdon Estate to provide a lasting legacy of the Shotton Surface Mine.
The £3million project is being funded by the Blagdon Estate and the Banks Group.
And while landscaping work on the human sculpture is not due to be completed until the end of the year, the partners behind the scheme organised a friends and family day at the site to see how it measures up to expectations.
The invited guests included local residents, community representatives and Banks’ staff and contractors – and there was a general thumbs-up for the scheme.
It was described as ‘an amazing art sculpture’, ‘peaceful and graceful’, with ‘region-defining parkland’.
Visitors were also impressed with the numerous walks, which have different gradients to suit all abilities.
One couple said: “We were rather sceptical about the whole thing, but it actually is going to be the biggest draw in the North East.”
And another guest added: “We didn’t approve when I first heard about it, but it can’t fail to impress — it’s spectacular, brilliant.”
Organisers were delighted at the positive response.
Blagdon Estate Chief Executive Bob Downer said: “Holding this event gave us a chance to share the work we’ve done to create Northumberlandia with the local community, as well as to test out how the infrastructure would be used by people visiting the site, and we’re thrilled at the excitement and enthusiasm generated by everything that our guests saw on site.”
As well as the massive landform, the project includes a 47-acre park, with two-and-a-half miles of surfaced paths and more than one-and-a-half miles of grass paths.
At its highest point Northumberlandia will be taller than an eight-storey building and it will take more than 20 minutes to walk around.
It is being created with material from the Shotton mine and when completed the park will be managed by The Land Trust as an amenity for the community.
Banks Group Communications Manager Katie Perkin said: “Northumberlandia was designed to provide a lasting legacy for the area, alongside the significant employment and economic contributions that we make through our Shotton Surface Mine.
“Part of this legacy will be through the increased number of visitors that the landform brings to both the local area and the wider North East, and the additional tourism revenues that this will undoubtedly bring to our region.
“The final elements of landscaping work are continuing and we’re looking forward to opening the site up for use by both local people and visitors to the region when everything’s complete.”
For more information about the project visit www.northumberlandia.com