Party-goers travelled from far and wide to celebrate Northumberland National Park’s 60th birthday this week.
Despite a less-than-perfect weather forecast, the party in the park at Walltown on Hadrian's Wall on Wednesday was a fun-packed day attracting people of all ages and from as far afield as Staffordshire. Party-goers met the rangers, went exploring on a wild safari, sipped tea in landscape-inspired cups made by the Park's resident ceramic artist Megan Randall and tried their hand at making smelly cocktails, Park-inspired birthday hats, bird-feeders and edible treats.
Liz Benson, from Wall Village, who shares her birthday with Northumberland National Park, had the honour of cutting a special 60th birthday cake which was modelled on the Park and made by local confectioner Vallum House Cakes. Liz was joined by her grandsons, Robin, five, and three-year-old Daniel. She said: "It was a lovely and unexpected surprise to be asked to cut the cake. I love the National Park and we've all had a great time today."
Tony Gates, chief executive at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: "Our 60th birthday party has been a fantastic opportunity for people to join us in celebrating this important milestone in the Park's history. It was fantastic to see so many brave the weather to support us and celebrate this wonderful landscape. I’d also like to wish Liz a very happy birthday.
"We've come a long way in 60 years and we have a lot more to look forward to. Being crowned National Park of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards is just the latest in a long list of accolades for this special place. As Europe's largest International Dark Sky Park, being England's most tranquil area, and having England's cleanest rivers, we now have even more ambitious plans for the future through The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed on Hadrian's Wall.
"Our ground-breaking project is the largest ever undertaken by a National Park in the UK and will transform how visitors of all ages understand and explore the landscapes and cultural heritage of not only Northumberland National Park, but the wonderful countryside and coastlines of the wider region. In an increasingly busy world, the opportunities for working, learning, discovery and recreation which the Park provides are more important than ever to people's lives."
Northumberland National Park was designated in 1956 and covers 405 square miles including Hadrian’s Wall, the North Tyne Valley and the Cheviots. Today there are 15 National Parks in the UK.