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’s Northumberland Environmental Policy Group (‘NEPG’) is pleased to announce the completion, subject to consultation, of one of the largest projects the Society 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 – Alison Farmer Associates January 2021 (‘the Study’).

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 is now consulting local people, mainly through their Parish Councils, essentially, 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 the Study and the support that the Society hopes local people, together with the Society’s members and supporters will give it, 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.

The Society is contacting affected Parish Councils and is inviting them, along with Society members and supporters to write to the Society Manager, Mrs Jackie Salmon with their comments on, and, it is hoped, their support for the Study.

Please email

Study Documents

Download the Northumberland Sandstone Ridges and Vales Final Summary Report

Download the Final Technical Report

Drawings areas 1-4

Drawings areas 5-11

Additional 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 2 February 2021