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NCA Profile: 02 Northumberland Sandstone Hills (NE480)

An updated version of this profile is online at; this pdf is retained for historical and completeness purposes.

The Northumberland Sandstone Hills curve across central Northumberland in a series of distinctive flat-topped ridges which provide panoramic views of the Cheviots and the coast.
The ridgetops and upper slopes are covered with heather and grass moorland broken by large geometric blocks of conifer. Below this is pasture with some arable cultivation on the lower and dip slopes, broadleaved woodland on scarp slopes and along watercourses and a few notable parklands. There is a long tradition of rearing hardy sheep and cattle in this area.
A number of major rivers flow east to the coast: the Wansbeck and Font arise in the Sandstone Hills while the Aln and Coquet break through from the Cheviot Fringe. The Till meanders through the lowlands of the northwest corner of the National Character Area (NCA). The Till and Coquet are designated for their biodiversity value and are important game fisheries.
The Sandstone Hills play an important role in the recharge of the Fell Sandstone Aquifer; the quality and availability of water in this NCA are important for the supply of water locally and to northern Northumberland, and there are opportunities to help to reduce flood risk in this and downstream NCAs.
Further information

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NE480: NCA Profile: 02 Northumberland Sandstone Hills, PDF, 5.0 MB 2013/09/10


This record relates to the location identified by the marker on the map: