Have pride in your past

FOUR days of fascinating free events have kicked off to celebrate Northumberland’s proud past.

The Heritage Open Days activities begin today and run throughout the weekend

There are walks and talks, churches and castles to visit, exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations, films, coach tours and even a Morpeth version of Time Team with local archeologists.

The Herald has also joined in with a window display as part of the Newgate Street and Oldgate From Past to Present initiative, in which shops and businesses show what they used to sell or how they used to operate.

Greater Morpeth Development Trust Heritage Officer Barry Mead said: “Morpeth’s Heritage Open Days programme has evolved over the past few years into one of the most popular in Northumberland, if not the whole of the North East.

“This is in no small part due to the invaluable backing we receive from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but also to the tremendous support we receive from our dedicated band of volunteers and property owners, without whom many of the events in our programme simply could not take place.”

More than 80 properties in Northumberland will be taking part in the scheme, including Kirkley Hall, Wallington, Mitford Church and Morpeth and Bothal Castles.

There will be the chance to take a tour of Morpeth Clock Tower, celebrate the town’s sporting heritage in an exhibition at the Town Hall, meet the Mayor, see old Morpeth on film, take part in art and craft workshops, visit Collingwood House, go on a coach tour of the district or take one of several walking tours in the area.

At Morpeth Library on Saturday, an event organised by the Sharing (K)nowledge and Pleasure (SNAP) international group will include a short talk followed by a display of traditional Turkish dancing and the chance to sample some authentic Turkish cuisine.

It will take place from 10.30am to 11.30am. Places are limited so booking is essential on 01670 503866.

Northumberland County Council Executive Member for Customer Relations and Culture Neil Bradbury said: “Some of the most remarkable buildings and grounds that open up to the public over the weekend date back hundreds of years and are usually off limits to visitors so the fact that it is all free is fantastic.”

A leaflet with full details and times of events is available from libraries, tourist information centres, leisure centres and council information centres, as well as online at www.northumberland.gov.uk/open

People can simply turn up for the majority of activities, but some may have limited numbers or require pre-booking.