A new range of conservation initiatives are underway in Northumberland National Park as a team of volunteers answered the call of Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA, the partners behind The Sill project, for support.

Over a dozen people have been getting their hands dirty, helping out with conservation projects that are part of the development phase of Northumberland’s flagship Landscape Discovery Centre.

If plans for the new national Landscape Discovery Centre are approved, funding will go towards the unique project of a fully accessible ‘green roof’ made out of Northumberland’s whin vegetation.

So far, volunteers have been aiding Northumberland National Park rangers to plant a series of trial plots at Once Brewed and Walltown. These trial plots replicate the gradient and conditions of the future Sill site at Once Brewed, thus providing information on the best growing conditions for the vegetation.

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Botanist Janet Simkin is thrilled with the progress: ‘The work that the volunteers have been undertaking has been invaluable in getting this unique conservation project off the ground.

‘The prospect of creating a UK first, the whine grassland roof of The Sill building, and protecting these rare and native Northumbrian species of plant life is very important.

‘It will create a living habitat and essential educational resource for the community and visitors to the National Park, helping bring vital conservation messages to the forefront.’

The team is still hoping to encourage more volunteers to sign up to this once-in-a-generation opportunity and gather more support for the project. If you are interested in volunteering you can contact The Sill team on thesill@nnpa.org.uk and for more information on the project you can visit www.thesill.org.uk

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