Northumberland attractions leading the way in national countryside vote

Bamburgh Castle by Gary Fitchett
Bamburgh Castle by Gary Fitchett
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Three Northumberland destinations are leading the way in a national poll for the best of the UK's countryside attractions a week before voting closes.

Bamburgh Castle is winning the charge for Landmark of the Year, Northumberland National Park has edged ahead in a neck-and-neck race for the National Park of the Year gong and Hadrian's Wall is currently number one for Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015/16.

College Valley in the Northumberland National Park. Picture by Jane Coltman

College Valley in the Northumberland National Park. Picture by Jane Coltman

And the Johnston Press titles in the county - Northumberland Gazette, Berwick Advertiser, Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader - are backing their campaigns for glory and encouraging everyone to vote before the closing date of Sunday, January 31.

Countryfile experts, including John Craven, Ellie Harrison, Chris Packham and Simon Barnes, have nominations candidates in 11 categories and the magazine is asking readers to chose their favourites.

The magnificent coastal fortress at Bamburgh is among five candidates chosen by landscape photographer Guy Edwardes for the Landmark award. The other contenders are: Durdle Door, Dorset; The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye; Glastonbury Tor, Somerset; and Seven Sisters cliffs in Sussex.

Northumberland National Park is up against the Cairngorms, Pembrokeshire Coast, Norfolk Broads and the New Forest in a shortlist drawn up by BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison. Glen Sanderson, chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, has expressed his delight over the nomination, saying: “I am sure that this national recognition will really help put Northumberland National Park even more on the map and attract lots more visitors."

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

And presenter John Craven has elected Hadrian's Wall alongside Dunluce Castle, Country Antrim; Whitby, North Yorkshire; Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wrexham; and Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, in the line-up for the Heritage Site prize.

Northumberland also has a say in a fourth category - Wildlife Success Story of the Year. Among the candidates are the hen harrier, North Sea cod and the basking shark. There was great excitement in the summer for the first successful pairing and breeding of hen harriers on the Forestry Commission land in Northumberland for several years. Recent sightings of basking sharks off the Northumberland coast have also caused a stir. And in September, Conservationists took North Sea cod off a red list of 'fish to avoid' eating, as the ailing fishery began to show signs of recovery. The other candidates in this category are the barnacle goose and the holly blue butterfly.

The top three in the wildlife category are currently 1. Hen Harrier; 2. North Sea cod; 3. Basking shark.

To vote online, visit www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16