New board points a way to the past

John Caffrey, Alan Davison and GMDT's heritage officer Barry Mead
John Caffrey, Alan Davison and GMDT's heritage officer Barry Mead

WALKERS will find a signpost to Morpeth’s past on a trail at the outskirts of the town.

A new interpretation board has been placed at Bluebell Woods, off Whorral Bank, to show the wildlife of the area and explain its heritage.

The panel is the latest in a series commissioned by the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) as part of the Castles, Woods and Water programme, which seeks to enhance footpaths and trails at beauty spots and historic sites.

Local wildlife artist and former Herald columnist John Caffrey has illustrated the boards, while current columnist, historian Alan Davison, has added the facts of interest.

There are now six such panels around the town, thanks to support from Northumberland County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

GMDT Heritage Officer Barry Mead said: “They are full of fascinating facts, maps and photographs provided by Alan, as well as being beautifully illustrated by John.

“They are greatly appreciated by walkers because of what they add to their enjoyment and knowledge of the countryside and the town centre trails in Morpeth.”

There are several walks to try from Bluebell Woods, from a 1km trail through the woodland to a 5km trek to Howburn.

The new board shows birds such as wrens, great tits, chaffinches, song thrushes and tawny owls, as well as foxes and badgers.

The walks start by the Easter Field, which was used for traditional games of booling and jaapin and hosted the Morpeth Olympic Games, and pass the sites of several local mine shafts and the Howburn Colliery.