Braving the cold to spruce up a special lady

Throughout all covid ups and downs since last March, and 2021 beginning with a second UK lockdown, Northumberlandia aka the “Lady of the North”, has kept a watchful eye over the reserve on Blagdon Lane as people turned to nature and green spaces to help them cope with what was happening in the world around them.
Northumberlandia head repair work - Peter Ernst

Repair work at Northumberlandia. Image by: Peter Ernst.

Therefore, it is only fitting that she has a makeover in preparation for the doors of the visitor centre being thrown open again once life returns to normal.

The huge landform sculpture, which was opened to the public in October 2012, attracts over 90,000 visitors to the Cramlington site each year and so it is no surprise that, over time, the original path to the head had become eroded and was in desperate need of repair to prevent trips and falls.

Peter Ernst Northumberland Wildlife Trust Estates Officer and his small squad of volunteers have been braving the wintery weather, installing steps to improve access the sculpture’s head.

Northumberlandia head repair work snow - Peter Ernst

Repair work at Northumberlandia. Image by: Peter Ernst.

The task has been tough going at times with the team having to follow covid social distancing rules, which included not sharing tools, working two metres apart and making their own way to the site rather than in the wildlife charity’s minibus. Undaunted, they have kept going.

Speaking about the work and his volunteers, Peter Ernst said: “Since 2012 there have been individuals, school groups, coach tours, fun runs, markets, a traveling Shakespeare company and even a wedding at Northumberlandia, so you will appreciate there is a lot of wear and tear.

“It’s been tough going at times doing these repairs as there are usually dozens of volunteers helping me around the site, but this task is being completed by a very small team, so their support is invaluable and really appreciated.”

Work is expected to finish by mid-February 2021.