Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Our Chance to Prove We're Best in Britain; on Saturday We Revealed That the Race for the Accolade of National Park of the Year Is Entering the Final Straight, with Northumberland in with a Great Chance. Your Vote in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards Is Vital to Help Our Very Own National Park Take the Title. So to Help You out, TONY HENDERSON Has Picked out 10 Reasons You Should Vote for Northumberland

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Our Chance to Prove We're Best in Britain; on Saturday We Revealed That the Race for the Accolade of National Park of the Year Is Entering the Final Straight, with Northumberland in with a Great Chance. Your Vote in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards Is Vital to Help Our Very Own National Park Take the Title. So to Help You out, TONY HENDERSON Has Picked out 10 Reasons You Should Vote for Northumberland

Article excerpt

1. Tranquillity, an increasingly rare commodity in a world which grows busier by the day.

Northumberland National Park is officially the most tranquil place in England, from its hills to the moorland expanses and traditional hay meadows.

2. The sense of space. It was the eminent historian G M Trevelyan, whose family owned the Wallington estate in Northumberland, who described national park country as the Land of the Far Horizons - and it hasn't changed.

3. Remoteness: Northumberland is the most remote and least populated of England's national parks, with a population of only around 2,000.

This equates to just 0.02 persons per hectare - 10 times fewer dense than any other national park.

4. Nature. The variety of landscapes mean that almost a third of the park (32,758 hectares) is made up of priority habitats, which are recognised for their national and international environmental importance and wildlife, while 10,000 hectares are sites of special scientific interest.

A total of 203km of the 364km of rivers in the park are classed as high or good ecological status, with two "pristine" waterways.

And 100% of the eligible farmed area of the park is covered by Government Environmental Stewardship agri-environmental schemes - the highest of any English park.

5. History. From prehistoric rock art and hill forts to the ruins of medieval castles and bastles, or fortified farmhouses and Hadrian's Wall, the historic landscape reflects its frontier past.

A third of the region's 1,389 scheduled monuments are found in the park, which also has 229 listed buildings and structures.

6. Leisure. Not surprisingly, walking is the top activity for visitors, with 72% of the park classed as open access land and there are more than 1,140km of public rights of way.

A growing pursuit is star gazing, with the park's unpolluted skies seeing it designated tow years ago as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky park.

7. Economy. The economic value of the park and its gateway settlements is estimated at PS246m a year. In 2014 there were 1.69 million visitors to the park and surrounding areas.

8. The Sill. Summer 2017 will see the opening of The Sill, the park's PS14.8m landscape discovery centre at Once Brewed near Hadrian's Wall, which has been backed by a Heritage Lottery Fund award of PS7.8m.

The largest scale initiative of its kind by any park authority, it is predicted it will attract 100,000 visitors a year and PS5m extra in spending.

9. Climate change. The total amount of carbon captured and stored in the soils of the park is estimated at 40 million tonnes, equivalent to the average annual emissions from 6.6 million households.

10. It's ours. This is our national park, it's the best and we care for it. Let's prove it by voting on countryfile. …

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