illumination of hadrian’s wall
Rory – whose constituency includes thirty miles of Hadrian’s Wall – convened a meeting on Saturday to develop the potential of Hadrian’s Wall for tourists, Cumbrian businesses and the Cumbrian identity. In particular, he pressed to repeat the success of the 2010 illumination of the wall by making it an annual festival. “The illumination brought over three million pounds to the Wall, dramatically increased the number of visitors, and cost a fraction of what it delivered. I would like to do all I can to make it an annual event,” he said.
The meeting was opened by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, who co-ordinated the last illumination. The not-for-profit company, charged with co-ordinating the Wall’s management and development, opened the meeting by explaining their development plans for the 150-mile World Heritage Site. Mr Stewart then talked through new ideas for the wall with local business people – including Neil Milbourne of Walby Farm Park, Hazel Broatch of Brampton Economic Partnership, and Victoria Farley of Lanercost Tearooms and Farm Shop. They discussed how they see the future for economic growth in Hadrian’s Wall Country, opportunities for marketing the area and for encouraging more visitors to the region, and ways of expanding attractions along the route. Hadrian’s Wall Heritage outlined their investment plans for enhanced visitor projects along the wall, and presented an overview of their grass-management work on the National Trail, including projects at Lanerton Farm – where they have created an alternative walk route in order to help local farmers manage cattle – and at Haytongate, where they have maintained the grass sward.
Rory said: “Hadrian’s Wall is not only one of Penrith and the Border’s most incredible assets, but it is one of the world’s: an extraordinary feat of engineering, a frontier of the Roman Empire, a monument of global importance right here in our very own landscape. We have an amazing opportunity to realise the economic, social and cultural benefits of this site, both for those living and working along the wall, and for the millions who visit each year. I have been very impressed by the work of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, and look forward to supporting them in any way I can. I hope to walk a stretch of the Wall later this year, and am very excited about seeing at first-hand how its length is being managed and promoted. An annual festival of illumination should bring this all together.”
Linda Tuttiett, Chief Executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage said: “International and domestic visitors are fascinated by the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and its landscapes. This is a very beautiful part of Hadrian’s Wall with a lot of potential to attract more visitors to the north of Cumbria. We are keen to work with tourism businesses to help them get the most out of being part of the World Heritage Site. Evidence from around the world shows that world heritage site status has positive economic benefits and offers destinations a chance to build a global identity and brand. We want more people to come to Hadrian’s Wall Country and to stay longer, to discover this area’s extraordinary heritage and friendly welcome.”
The 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, which runs from Bowness to Segedunum Roman Fort at Wallsend, was recently voted the greatest walking trail in Britain in the Countryfile Magazine Awards which celebrate the countryside and its people. Over 10,600 people walked the Trail end to end last year, taking around seven days to complete it. Hadrian’s Wall Heritage manages the Trail on behalf of Natural England, the government agency responsible for all of England’s 13 National Trails. In 2010 there were 3.5 million staying visitors in Hadrian’s Wall Country who generated £880 million for the local economy. The internationally renowned world heritage site draws hundreds of thousands of new visitors every year. Research proves there is still room to grow the number of visitors and estimates that with continued investment visitor spend can be increased by another £300 million per year by 2029.