Skip to main content

Northern Heartlands

Engaging with communities to establish one of the UK's Great Places.

Northern Heartlands is one of sixteen Great Place Schemes in the UK funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. This Great Place is in County Durham and includes the catchment of two rivers – the Tees and the Wear – extending from their sources in the North Pennines to the lowland arc through which they flow.

The area includes the market towns of Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Crook, Tow Law and Willington and the communities of part of the former Durham coalfield, together with the isolated hill farms and villages of the rural Upper Dales.

Northern Heartlands

About the research project

The aim of this project was to understand how the past has transformed the landscape and what people value, need and want from their environment, as well as to explore current and future challenges and how they might be addressed. The project was awarded £1.48 million based on a cultural landscape approach and co-production methods between communities, artists and researchers to facilitate engagement and discussion with specific, targeted communities.

Commissioned artists used innovative approaches to enable communities to:

  • describe how their place and landscape has changed and is now valued
  • explore how this can be translated into future policy, strategy and plans
  • work towards the development and support of 'community champions'

This project had wide interest at the national and local level, building on the success of the Heart of Teesdale HLF Landscape project and the ‘Artists, Farmers & Philosophers’ (AFP) Conference, which was co-organised by Maggie Roe, the HoT team and other stakeholders.

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Duration: 2017-2020

PI and further team:

Maggie Roe - Landscape, School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Key Partners and Advisory Board Members:

  • Graham Young (Chair)
  • Sue BerresfordJacqui Cameron (Opera North)
  • Gary Charlton (Natural England)
  • Debbie Connell (Durham County Council)
  • Jim Cokill (Durham Wildlife Trust)
  • Annie Dolphin (Active Durham)
  • Michelle Gorman (Visit County Durham)
  • Rev. Alec Harding
  • Tony Harrington (The Forge)
  • Stephen Howell (Durham County Council)
  • Adrian Jenkins (Bowes Museum)
  • Trish Pemberton (Wear Rivers Trust)
  • Maggie Roe (Newcastle University)
  • Jane Shaw (People into Enterprise)
  • Diane Spark (UTASS)
  • Margaret Vaughan (County Durham Community Foundation)
  • Chris Woodley-Stewart (North Pennines AONB).

Further Information: Visit our official website for more information.