Northumberland Sandstone Ridges and Vales: A Valued Landscape

In 2020 the Northumberland & Newcastle Society recognised the serious gap in Northumberland County Council’s (‘NCC’) approach to our landscapes, in the discharge of both its planning decision and plan making/policy functions.

The Society is pleased to announce the completion of one of the largest projects it has ever undertaken, with the publication of a report evaluating and recognising the value of a significant part of North Northumberland’s landscapes.

The Northumberland Sandstone Ridges & Vales – a Valued Landscape

The study, entitled ‘The Northumberland Sandstone Ridges & Vales – a Valued Landscape’ is by Alison Farmer Associates (AFA) and was released in January 2022. A number of hard copies are to be produced.

Download the full study here

The Study’s conclusion is that most of the Study area is worthy of designation as an ‘Area of High Landscape Value’ – indeed, AFA consider that significant parts meet the criteria for National Park or AONB designation (such latter designations, however, would require Natural England’s involvement and such further evaluation would be likely to take many years).


The Society consulted local people, mainly through the Parish Council network, on two aspects of the project:

  • Whether the Study’s broad conclusions are supported;
  • Whether consultees have any comments in relation to the specific ‘valued landscape’ boundary chosen, especially in so far as it relates to their own area.

The importance of and support for the Study cannot be over-emphasised: it fills a yawning gap in the work that should have been carried out by NCC, as advised by its own experts in 2010.

Without the evidential base provided by the Study and others like it, the County’s landscapes within both the Study area and, potentially, elsewhere may be seriously exposed to the adverse impact of inappropriate development.

Photographs from the Study

By Ros Castle looking towards the Cheviot
Corby’s Crag
Above Eslington looking west into the Vale of Whittingham















Page updated 22 June 2022