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ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

Inside P5 HAPPY DAYS - A YEAR OF WEDDINGS, PARTIES AND SPECIAL EVENTS AT CUDDYSTONE HALL

P7 BETTER THAN EVER – UPGRADES MAKE OUR HOLIDAY COTTAGES EVEN MORE WELCOMING

P8 CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF THE HILLS – FOCUS ON FORESTRY IN THE VALLEY

TIME FOR A CHANGE S P10-11 VIEW FROM ABOVE – THE VALLEY AS SEEN BY GLIDER PILOTS

ome visitors to the Fleehope, Goldscleugh and Nothing stands still even in a College Valley may Dunsdale developed a resilplace as peaceful as College Valley. think this is a place ience similar to that of their where nothing ever stock. John Cresswell, chairman of changes. They could not These changes occurred College Valley Estates, explains be more wrong. Land use for economic reasons. It is changing all the time, was possible to employ a and it’s about to change again – for the better. shepherd at Mount Hooley to look after 300 ewes First, some background. Sheep numbers here on the Cheviot because sheep and wool prices were began to rise sharply about 200 years ago, driven high, while labour costs were low. As prices fell and by prices and supported by enclosure and by costs rose over the last 50 years, the government innovations such as clostridial vaccination and stepped in with subsidies to keep the system going. liming, which meant upland ground could carry Over the last 20 years there has been a shift in more stock than before. the public policy mindset for our upland areas. Techniques were developed to hold stock Why should the taxpayer help to hold stock numon the highest ground right through the year – bers on the hill? breeding selection, hefting (acclimatising the It could hardly be justified in terms of food secusheep to the area) and fencing. The shepherds rity: large areas of hill still only produced a small and their families now had to stay in places that number of light lambs, to be fattened elsewhere. were far from hospitable in February. People And anyway man cannot live by kebab alone. in places such as Mount Hooley, Coldburn, The system preserved some jobs, but these were continues on page 2


YOUR NEWSLETTER

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elcome to the latest issue of the College Valley Newsletter, packed with interest for anyone keen to find out more about this very special place. Whether you know every footpath and viewpoint intimately or are just considering your first visit, there is plenty here for you to read. We include an explanation of some interesting changes in land management that are intended to enhance the environment while putting the estate on a sound economic footing. Read, too, about changes in forestry within the estate, which should add to the diversity of wildlife here. Find out about the glider pilots who you may spot soaring silently above you as you explore the slopes. Discover how tracking technology is helping in the husbandry of the College Valley’s cattle. It’s not all birdsong and rustling leaves here, though. The Valley is often filled with the sounds of chatter and laughter. We look at how Cuddystone Hall, pictured below, hosts weddings, birthday parties and special events throughout the year. There’s something for everyone in this newsletter – including your chance to send in your best photograph of a Valley view and win a week in one of our holiday cottages.  John Cresswell Chairman

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continued from page 1

TIME FOR CHANGE low-paid and arduous. These arguably meagre benefits came at the cost of plant life. High year-round stocking levels tend to favour robust, competitive plants, such as bents and fescues, at the expense of more delicate types, such as saltwort, limestone bedstraw and brittle bladder fern. Some birds (pied wagtail, carrion crow, jackdaw and goldfinch) thrive on well-grazed uplands; many traditional upland species (skylark, wheatear, whinchat, yellow wagtail and yellowhammer) do not. As for the landscape, on intensively grazed river banks trees cannot re-establish themselves. The payment regime changed entirely. Instead of farmers being paid per animal, payments would only be made by the acre, and then only in return for looking after the land. In the College Valley there was a fall in the number of resident shepherds; by 1998 the last one had left the southern part of the estate. Stock management was now done by teams of people living some distance away.

None of this addressed three central facts: that the management of the 5,500 acres at the top of the estate was driven almost exclusively by farming; that little profit was being made out of this, despite subsidy; and that the environmental condition of the area was not what it could be. This place is really special. Yet assessment of the botany of the Cheviot Site of Special Scientific Interest over many years has repeatedly deemed its status to be �unfavourable’. The dominance of farming has held back other objectives, and in the board’s view this had to change. In late 2012 College Valley Estates had the opportunity to bring to an end the agricultural tenancy of the Goldscleugh area. The board decided land management here would now be driven by environmental objectives. This did not mean there would be no farming – far from it – but it meant farming would support environmental efforts, rather than the other way round. We concluded that the main reason we had seen unfavourable changes in the botany was that the sheep stayed on the ground for 12 months a year. For example, vascular WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK


NEWSLETTER OF THE COLLEGE VALLEY ESTATE ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

College Valley already contains great ecological diversity – but that should increase further when the new management plan takes effect

plants in sheltered areas were trampled as sheep sought refuge in poor weather. We would also like to see the regeneration of trees such as alder and downy birch along edges of watercourses, and reduced winter grazing should help in this. We had an opportunity to remove the hefted stock in September 2012, so they went to a nearby estate. Some important plant and bird species depend upon grazing, so locally sourced sheep and cattle will be brought on to the land in the spring, then removed at the start of winter. Intensive monitoring of the botany began in 2012, with the help of experts from the University of Lancaster. A subsidiary programme run by University of Newcastle is being set up to monitor the cattle grazing pattern, using radio collars. This will give us the information we need to make appropriate alterations to stocking. Moving animals on with the start of spring and off before winter: not so different from land management here some 200 years ago. We are confident the changes will be positive. If monitoring reveals that the changes WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK

are not having the effects that we wish, then we will make appropriate changes. Goldscleugh is only 40 per cent of the estate: what of the rest? We have no desire to implement the same �environment first’ policy over the northern part of the estate. Hethpool and Elsdonburn are more productive agriculturally and less valuable environmentally – and they are occupied by two farming tenants who are adept at integrating environmental benefits with their businesses. So what do we hope for after a couple of decades? We do not expect different plants, but we hope to encourage those now just hanging on. We hope you will see more birds and more diversity of bird species. Native trees might start to thrive along the watercourses and straths of the Lambden Burn. We hope all of this will happen, while the company remains profitable and satisfies its partners in Natural England and the National Park that it is fulfilling its obligations in managing this very special area. We will not get everything right first time but I am confident we’re going in the right direction. We hope you enjoy the ride.  PAGE

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WEATHER EYE

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he weather has always been a talking point, and these days that’s truer than ever. On 24 November last, our drive from Budleigh Salterton on the south coast of Devon to Crediton took two and a half hours rather than the usual 40 minutes. Exeter was surrounded by floodwater, with many roads blocked and the main railway line to Plymouth washed away. The drive north saw similar scenes the length of Wales and up through the Midlands, with thousands of acres of farmland flooded and winter-sown and unharvested crops ruined. On reaching the Borders we were pleasantly surprised to find that though the College Valley had suffered a flood, there was nothing like the devastation of 6 September 2008 and 17-18 July 2009, when there was so much damage to our property. Some of our fords and forest roads have suffered and one hayshed was left suspended over the College Burn. The whole country had one of the wettest summers on record and here PAGE

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Floods and snowdrifts present their usual challenges – but this past year the Valley has fared well compared to some areas

the 2012 rainfall recorded by the Environment Agency at Goldscleugh showed that 1,524mm (60 inches) of rain fell, representing 141 per cent of our long-term annual average. August was the wettest month, with 123mm, followed by February, with 108mm, and December, with 107mm. The great snowstorms of 2010 and 2011 have not been repeated, with only one significant fall in January. The very low temperatures for a number of days meant that drifts four and five feet deep were difficult to clear on the roads to Goldscleugh and Mount Hooley, when our snow-clearing machinery (snow plough and blower) failed to make any impression at all. We resorted to a 360 excavator, which dug out the road for over a mile, allowing our tenants to at last get to work and into Wooler. At the time of writing, in March, the hills are still covered with snow and we are thankful that we have no livestock grazing the land at 2,700 feet.  Colin Matheson Land agent

FOXY TALES

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iving legend – that’s one of the kinder labels that have been attached to the outspoken Martin Letts during a lifetime spent in pursuit of the uneatable, much of it as Master of the College Valley Hunt. Now Martin, who lives at Hethpool with his wife Eildon, has written a book entitled Memories Of My Life At The College Valley. It is a charming memoir of a countryman and so much more than a book about hunting foxes and breeding foxhounds. Martin’s sharp observations of people and events are as entertaining and insightful as his accounts of days in the saddle in the Cheviot hills. His book is an essential read for foxhunters, dog breeders and people watchers – and will certainly be of great interest to all those who, like its author, love the College Valley.  Christopher Ward Martin’s book is published by Trafford and is available online at Amazon.co.uk, price £6.55 paperback or £2.63 Kindle edition. WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK


NEWSLETTER OF THE COLLEGE VALLEY ESTATE ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

POPULAR PLACE W

ith weddings, parties and special events galore, Cuddystone Hall had a busy 2012 - and this year looks like being just as hectic. The first notable date was 10 March, when the hall hosted the hunt breakfast at which supporters of College Valley North Northumberland Hunt enjoyed a hearty feed before the last day of hunting in the valley. On 1 July, the hall played its part in the successful open gardens event organised by Fanny Elliot in aid of the Air Ambulance Service. I walked into the hall, saw a mountain of cakes, biscuits and all things delicious, and thought “OMG, there is going to be a lot left over”. Happily I was wrong – about 600 people called in at the hall, which raised £1,300 from the refreshments alone – a remarkable achievement. The seven of us working that day were aching and tired for a week. The event was followed in the evening by the annual church service. We had a hog roast for residents and helpers on 22 July. Mick Holland did the catering, which was superb. On 19 August, John Izat, former director of College Valley Estates, held his 80th birthday party at the hall. John

and his wife, Fredi, were joined by 80 guests including their three children and 11 grandchildren. Drinks were served in the sunshine, with a piper adding to the atmosphere. Lunch featured College Valley venison, which John said was the best he’d tasted. He added: “It was a great success and the hall was a wonderful venue.” Over the weekend of 6-7 October, the hall was used as a registration and marshalling point for a two-day fell running event in the Cheviots, and on 1 December there was a celebration dinner for Scout leaders. Roddy Matthews arranged a ceilidh to launch a band, Cuddystone, on 23 November. The music was fantastic. Roddy spent much time in the valley as a child, and went to many dances at the hall. Six weddings took place and everyone had a superb time – with many guests staying in the valley’s holiday cottages. Clare Malone and Martin Watson, who were married on 1 September, had a paddle in the river. Clare said: “We had a great time; it was meaningful but also great fun.”  Catherine Crees Clockwise from top right: Clare Malone and Martin Watson take the plunge; tables at the ready; the happy couple show the chemistry is working; John Izat and his family outside the hall; his happy guests

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COME AND GO AS YOU PLEASE With a new flexible booking policy and improvements galore, the Valley’s holiday options have never been better

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o this is spring! It doesn’t feel like it in the Valley as I write this; a year ago we were heather-burning in tee shirts. Today two feet of snow lie at Dunsdale and I have had to ask the visitors booked in for this weekend to telephone to check whether they can get there. The snow is particularly unwelcome this week as the joiners have been at Coldburn refurbishing the kitchen and at Dunsdale putting in new windows in the sitting room, where the double-glazing has failed, and replacing the back door. I’m hoping all will be finished for visitors in plenty of time. The plumber was also at Coldburn yesterday replacing some pipework, he telephoned last evening to say he had drained everything down as he didn’t think he would be able to get up today due to the weather and didn’t want to leave anything to chance. When all the messy stuff is finished the repainting will commence and new curtains and blinds will go in. I hope it will give Coldburn a fresher feel without losing its essential country cottage appeal. In a perfect world I would pop a lovely sunroom on the front of the cottage so that one could sit and feel outside all year round and have an extra room downstairs, but I fear those who look after budgets will tell me that we don’t earn enough yet. The electrician, who is in the middle of testing all the fixed wiring circuits, is on hold too; happily he hasn’t yet drilled the hole through the outside wall at Dunsdale to run a new earth and the old one is perfectly safe in the meantime. We are considering putting in satellite broadband, telephone and television at Dunsdale, although opinion is divided on this. At the moment the majority of people seem not to want television but think broadband might be useful. If you feel strongly please contact the email address below.

DOGS WELCOME

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nlike many holiday cottages, those in the College Valley welcome dogs – provided their owners ensure they stay in permitted areas, ensuring the properties are left in top condition for future guests. At Dunsdale Farmhouse, dogs are allowed in the kitchen and dining room, and there is PAGE

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a purpose-built, insulated double kennel. At Hethpool Mill, dogs may go in uncarpeted areas, and kennels are available. At Coldburn Cottage, dogs must stay downstairs, and there is a large, raised sleeping platform for them in a separate kennel area. At the Old Schoolhouse, dogs stay in hard-floor areas.  WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK


NEWSLETTER OF THE COLLEGE VALLEY ESTATE ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

SPOILT FOR CHOICE

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Coldburn Cottage, main picture, and Dunsdale, other pictures, have both been enhanced for the 2013 season

It has been an interesting year for holiday cottages. The recession that everyone has felt has bitten us, and in an effort to entice more visitors I decided to be ultraflexible about bookings; it is now possible to arrive and leave a College Valley holiday cottage any day of the week providing one is available. This has helped, I think; if people can only be away Tuesday to Sunday having a rigid booking system of Saturday to Saturday just doesn’t work. I could not have done it without the help of Pat and Jeff Ivison, who have been really good about adapting to fit in around guests. Pricing for the cottages has stayed at the 2010 level until this year when we made a small increase to try to keep up with rising overheads. The cost of heating oil has increased from 48.5 pence per litre in March 2010 to 72.5 pence a litre today, an increase of 49 per cent. Electricity, as you will all know, is up and therefore laundry costs are up, and transport, too. We leave the heating on all year to keep the houses dry and to try to make sure that freezing pipes don’t become a problem. After the flood at the Mill two years ago we are very aware of the damage that water can do. All this means that we are ready for impromptu guests at any time. Do drop by! There are more weddings coming up this year in the Valley, including my elder daughter’s in mid-June. We are very much hoping that June will be more ’flaming’ than last summer, when it barely seemed to stop raining for more than 24 hours. All of the nuptials involve at least one of the cottages being booked and a lot of them have taken all the houses and the bunkhouse. We also have three birthday celebrations coming up – a 70th, an 80th and a 90th. My children and friends took the whole Valley – four houses and the bunkhouse – for a 30th birthday and we got Mick up from Wooler with his brilliant music. He has a talent for reading his audience, and we danced until the wee small hours. Cuddystone Hall is the perfect place for a party. There are still dates available in all of the houses for this year. Book before the end of May for a great 10 per cent discount. Quote ’Newsletter Offer’ in your email.  Jane Matheson, Holiday cottages manager holidays@college-valley.co.uk

WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK

ollege Valley is a special part of the world for all sorts of reasons – its scenery, its wildlife and its unbeatable tranquillity, to name just three. And it contains several very special places to stay. Dunsdale Farmhouse is a traditional harled stone house that sits in splendid isolation towards the top of the valley. More than a mile from its nearest neighbour, it offers perfect peace for up to eight people. The spacious sitting room has an open fire; the dining room has a large pine table and looks out on to Cheviot, one of the country’s best-known mountains; the kitchen is equipped with double oven, fridge-freezer and dish-washer; the utility room has a washing machine, tumble dryer and airer. The four bedrooms – one double, three twins – are all beautifully furnished and command magnificent views, and there is a large enclosed garden. Hethpool Mill, pictured right, at the other end of the valley, is a stone-built former miller’s cottage next to ancient woodlands. It has a modern, light, open-plan feel and sleeps six people if the double sofa bed downstairs is used. It has a spacious garden and bike storage. Coldburn Cottage, which sleeps four, nestles in its walled garden beside the Lambden Burn. Attractions include the lovely sitting room with its open fire and fine views, and the Victorian roll-top bath. The Old Schoolhouse, which also sleeps four, is a single-storey building at Southernknowe, on a small rise between the two arms of the valley. Advantages include the patio – a perfect place to relax and gaze across the countryside. Mount Hooley Bunkhouse, in its lofty position close to the Pennine Way and St Cuthbert’s Way, can accommodate 24 guests – 20 in three rooms in the main building and four in the family annexe. Prices are affordable, with a range of concessionary and group rates, and shared facilities include cycle storage, a meeting room and lounge. To find out more about staying in the College Valley see our website, www.college-valley.co.uk. To check availability of the four holiday cottages, email Jane Matheson on holidays@college-valley.co.uk or telephone 01890 830302. To stay at Mount Hooley Bunkhouse, call Pauline Baker
on 01668 216358
or email paulineatthetop@hotmail.com.


For further details of accommodation in the College Valley, see www.college-valley.co.uk To book online and for prices and availability go to www.northumbria-byways.com or call our holiday cottages manager Jane Matheson on 01890 830302

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GARDENERS’ CONGESTION TIME

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or a moment, it looked as though we were going to set a new record for Britain’s biggest traffic jam. Hundreds of people, some of whom had come from as far away as Edinburgh and Newcastle, descended on the College Valley last July when Valley residents threw open their gardens to members of the public in aid of the Air Ambulance Service. The narrow road with few passing places tested visitors’ skills at reversing and threepoint turns – not to mention their patience. But everyone judged the day a huge success thanks to the amazing variety of gardens on show, all of them full of colour despite

having come through one of the wettest summers in living memory. “It was an great community effort,” said Fanny Elliot, who organised the event and somehow managed to find time with husband Bill to get their own garden at Hethpool House looking like a Chelsea Flower Show entry. The day raised £6,800 for the AAS. At one point the number of visitors, estimated at more than 700, looked like it might outnumber the sheep – another first for the Valley. There are no plans to repeat the event – at least, not until there are a few more passing places. 

A MIXED PICTURE AS FORESTRY POLICY EVOLVES

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ritain now has more than double the area of forest it had just after the First World War. In 1919, only 5 per cent of the country was afforested. Now, 94 years later, the figure has risen to 12 per cent. There are about 8,900 square miles of forest, of which 60 per cent is held by the private sector. England has slightly more broadleaved than coniferous trees. Along with Japan, we are the biggest importer of timber in the world, with 90 per cent of our domestic demand supplied from abroad. Sweden remains our largest softwood supplier, with 54 per cent of the market share; the US is our biggest hardwood supplier. Against this backdrop, it is perhaps surprising that we have not become more self-sufficient in timber since the end of the Second World War, when governments strove to replenish depleted timber stocks by tax incentives and financial aid to investors and forest owners. When the College Valley was purchased in 1953, the directors at the time, under the chairmanship of the tenth Duke of Northumberland, carried out a ten-year afforestation scheme in PAGE

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the valley to create a woodland estate of about 1,600 acres of commercially managed coniferous trees. It could be said that the investment was to meet the challenge of woodland creation being encouraged by the government of the time, to provide shelter for livestock and a respectable return on the considerable investment. Enhancement of the landscape, conservation (apart from important habitat for red squirrels) and biodiversity certainly did not feature strongly. Indeed to receive any grant aid towards the cost of establishment, it was necessary to show that the main

aim of the woodland creation was to produce a commercial and viable crop of timber. The directors’ objectives have changed over the last decade, driven partly by falling timber prices, but more importantly by the desire to create a balanced woodland estate that is a mixture of commercially viable coniferous woodland, in the larger, more accessible blocks on better ground, and areas of native broadleaved trees for amenity, conservation and biodiversity reasons. The more inappropriately sited and remote plantations are being clear-felled, with

the agreement of the Forestry Commission, and similar areas being replanted with native broadleaved trees along the valley floor. It is a condition of obtaining a felling licence that an equivalent area is re-planted. The estate now has 2,200 acres of mixed woodland, an increase of 40 per cent in 20 years. Half of this makes an important contribution to the estate’s finances and makes it possible to establish and maintain the amenity woodlands. We are justly proud of this.  Colin Matheson Land agent


NEWSLETTER OF THE COLLEGE VALLEY ESTATE ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

FOLLOWING THE HERD

V A SIGHT I’LL NEVER FORGET

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ne lunchtime at Southernknowe, I looked out of the window and saw an osprey. We all turned to watch; it looked like it was hunting up the College Burn and then all of a sudden it dropped out of the sky and into the river. We were waiting with bated breath, but when it surfaced it hadn’t caught anything. We all thought seeing an osprey hunting in the Valley was amazing, but then it swung round again, over the river upstream from where it had just dived in. It had another attempt and this time when it surfaced it had a sea trout. It was the first time I had seen an osprey catch and carry a fish. It then flew down the Valley below Whitehall and started to catch a thermal and gained height, then took a line north-west, I would think heading for the nest site near Hadden. The osprey hunted in the Valley for about five weeks, sometimes appearing twice in a day. I hope the birds come back as everyone got used to seeing them in the Valley and stopped to watch them hunting or eating fish on one of the telegraph poles overlooking the river. The other interesting thing I noted this year was an increased number of ring ouzels. The numbers had seemed to be dropping in recent years but in 2012 they were spread throughout the Valley; two pairs nesting near Dunsdale, one pair on Harelaw, two pairs on Scald Hill. I only spotted fledglings near Dunsdale, which may have had something to do with the weather this summer. Waxwings are an uncommon sight in this area, but at Christmas we had 12 of these colourful birds feeding on some trees near the house at Whitehall. They stayed for about a week until the berries dried up and they moved on. Let’s hope all the Valley’s birds get some of the good weather they need this summer for nesting and bringing up their broods. 

isitors to College Valley this summer may notice something a bit different about the native cattle grazing the slopes of Cheviot. Some will be wearing collars, not with a cow bell attached, but with a specially designed global positioning system (GPS) unit to track their movements via satellite. College Valley Estates, farmer Adam Waugh, Northumberland National Park Authority, Newcastle University and Cheviot Futures are working to find out where the cattle go, and why, and how this affects the important plants and wildlife of the Cheviot Site of Special Scientific Interest. Following the removal of the hefted sheep flock, the native cattle involved in this project will be the only livestock grazing there this summer. The cattle will not have grazed on Cheviot before and will have to explore to find the best grazing, water and shelter. They will also be influenced by extreme weather events that seem to be becoming more common as a result of climate change. Tracking an animal, even one as large as a cow, can be very challenging in remote locations, especially during the night, or in periods of bad weather. Unlike radio collars, GPS collars enable the location of each animal to be recorded on the collar at a pre-determined interval without someone having to go out

and locate the animal. The GPS collars can also give an indication of what the animal is doing by recording how it is moving. The information stored on the collar can be obtained via satellite link to a computer. As well as providing data for the research, this will help Adam Waugh know where his cattle are, and provide a teaching resource for schools. Students at Newcastle University will join in the project this summer by analysing the GPS data under the guidance of Dr Richard Bevan. They will also undertake observations of the cattle out on the hill to find out about their behaviour and grazing patterns. The project is funded by Cheviot Futures, College Valley Estates and the James Knott Trust. Any schools wishing to be involved in the project, which could help deliver elements of the national curriculum for geography and science, should email Mary Gough (pictured top) at Northumberland National Park Authority on mar y.gough@nnpa.org.uk.  Mary Gough Farming, rural enterprise officer Northumberland National Park

Stephen Crees Estate manager

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Gliders are a common sight above College Valley – but instead of just gazing up at them why not take off?

HIGH TIMES G

aze into the skies above the College Valley and there’s a good chance you’ll spot a glider soaring gracefully high above the hills. This is a favourite flying area for Borders Gliding Club. Members fly most weekends, whenever the weather is suitable. The most reliable “hill lift” is found on the ridge that runs from Kirknewton Tors to Goldscleugh at the head of the Valley. The gliders are towed up to 2,500ft where they cast-off their towline and seek out the lift, which may sustain them for minutes or for hours. There are three kinds of “lift”, all regularly found here. Hill lift is created when the wind is blocked by a ridge and forced upwards, carrying the glider with it. Thermal lift is created when air is warmed near the ground and eventually breaks free as a giant bubble of warm air, known as a thermal, which the glider pilot will try to circle inside, rising with it perhaps to 4,000ft. The most valued lift of all, is mountain wave, which is created when a vast river of air hits the Cheviot hills and is forced upwards; this can trigger a “standing wave” downwind of the hills – like the static waves at the base of a waterfall. The wave can carry gliders to vast heights – at least two pilots at the club climbed above 28,000ft in the 1970s. These days we are limited to a ceiling of 24,500ft. Visitors to the club, at Milfield, can arrange an Air Experience flight with a qualified instructor for £75 on Saturdays and Sundays. Many visitors return from such flights enthusing about the experience, and most of us began our careers as glider pilots with one of these flights. Our two-seater training aircraft are dual-controlled and the instructor may allow you to try the controls if he thinks you are up to the challenge. Alternatively, lie back and enjoy the stunning landscape – be sure to bring your camera and sunglasses. For details visit www.bordersgliding.co.uk or phone the club, at weekends, on 01668 216284.  Graham White Borders Gliding Club PAGE

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NEWSLETTER OF THE COLLEGE VALLEY ESTATE ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

The College Valley looks superb from a glider – cloud permitting

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SIGN OF PROGRESS

VIEW FINDER T

here was a recent brief sighting in the Valley of Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust and author of England’s Thousand Best Houses and England’s Thousand Best Churches. It created almost as much excitement as recent sightings of ospreys and otters. Could Sir Simon, pictured above, have been doing a recce for his next book, due to be published next year, entitled England’s 100 Best Views? It promises the reader “breathtaking sights both iconic and undiscovered” and “heart-stopping moments”. Sounds just like the College Valley to us. We will have to wait and see if we will be considered worthy of an inclusion. Perhaps this gorgeous photograph of Hethpool Lake might help to persuade Sir Simon to include us. Please send us YOUR best picture of the Valley. It may not make it into Sir Simon’s 100 Best Views but we will publish the best entries in the next issue of the College Valley Newsletter. Email your picture to Colin Matheson on cam@college-valley.co.uk with some brief details of when and where you took it, and what you like about the Valley. 

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Over the last few months, staff from Northumberland National Park have been working with College Valley Estates to look at ways of enhancing the visitor welcome at the Hethpool car park, as both parties felt the area needed some attention. It has been agreed that a new joint information panel will replace the out-of-date and weather-worn signs currently at the car park. This will help to de-clutter the site, with key messages from both partners being promoted on one sign. The panel will be housed in a bespoke wooden ’shelter’ that will not only give information on the valley, but will also serve as a wind break, allowing walkers to change their boots, for example, in relative comfort. The panel should be completed this spring.

Ruth Dickinson Community enterprise officer WWW.COLLEGE-VALLEY.CO.UK

The Valley 2013  

News and views from the College Valley, in North Northumberland

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