National landscape discovery centre a step closer thanks to £7.8m HLF grant

The Sill will direct people to the places that may seem out of reach or difficult to find. It will revolutionise everyone’s ability to find and experience nature and the great outdoors, inspiring, involving and engaging people from all walks of life in the natural and cultural heritage of the sweeping Northumberland landscape.
The aim is to deliver a comprehensive programme of interpretation, education, research and events that will inspire people to celebrate, value and conserve the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Northumberland landscape.

The Sill, spearheaded by Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) and YHA (England and Wales), is projecting visiting figures of 100,000 with an all-weather and year-round facility that provides hostel accommodation, retail facilities and a café.

The stunning, snowy Steel Rigg site featuring Sill designs

Tony Gates, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority, claims the project will transform how people will learn about and explore our landscapes.
“The great outdoors is important to people, it enriches our lives, it makes us feel alive,” he said.
“The Sill will help people from all walks of life explore and learn about Britain’s finest landscapes. Through this project, we will inspire the next generation of custodians, protecting the legacy of our stunning landscapes for the future.
“We are particularly keen to ensure young people benefit, with the Sill as our answer to the ipad in helping grab young peoples’ attention.”
The partners hope this achievement will act as a springboard to help raise the remaining £2.2 million funds needed to ensure the project reaches its full potential.
Northumberland National Park is home to some of England’s darkest skies, having recently been awarded International Dark Sky Park status, cleanest rivers, ancient landscapes, rich culture and heritage and breath-taking scenery.

With some of the darkest skies in England, Northumberland National Park is great for stargazing

The HLF grant will help to secure the future of this ambitious project, with construction expected to begin on site later this year. The activity programme will start in autumn 2015 and the Sill national landscape discovery building will open its doors to the public in June 2017.