What we do

Exploring heritage

Exploring our heritage

We made a big effort to make sure that people could get closer to our natural and cultural heritage and to learn more about it. We focused on helping visitors find their way around the Allen Valleys, helping them discover our dark skies, interpreting our world-class mining history, and on sustainable forms of transport for visitors.

Signage, access, orientation and web information

  • five new visitor orientation panels were installed in Allenheads, Allendale Village and Whitfield to help visitors discover the Allen Valleys
  • we created a new dedicated visitor / heritage information point in the Post Office at Allendale
  • we created new permissive access for the public in Deneholme Wood including a new bridge and footpaths, new interpretation, signage and waymarkers
  • we improved signage, repaired access and promoted the 36 mile Isaac’s  Tea Trail
  • we created new permissive access for the public at Allenheads mineyard
  • we helped develop a new community & visitor website www.allenvalleys.com
  • we helped the new Allen Valleys Local History Group to develop their new website and photographic archive www.allenvalleyslocalhistory.org.uk

Interpreting our world-class mining heritage

  • we installed two new major story-telling panels at the important monuments of Allen Smelt Mill and Allenheads mineyard
  • our interpretation work at Allen Smelt Mill won a national award
  • we created a series of interpretation panels in the new walkers’ shelter at Ninebanks Hearse House
  • we installed zinc etched plaques at 5 locations, telling the stories of the Allen Mill flues and chimneys and the engineering feat of the Blackett Level
  • we created and installed new interpretation at Langley Mill Chimney, Barney Craig mineshop, Allenheads village, Deneholme Wood
  • we created new digital interpretation using beacon technology (Info-Point) at Allen Smelt Mill and Allenheads mineyard
  • we commissioned an interpretive plan and designs for the Armstrong Engine House in Allenheads
  • we refreshed and reprinted Geology Trails at Allen Banks and Allenheads
  • we published an Allendale Village history trail designed and written by Allendale school children
  • we helped the Allenheads Trust to publish a new leaflet to guide visitors around Allenheads village

The North Pennines Observatory

We built an observatory in Allenheads at the Old School House, hosted by Allenheads Contemporary Arts. The observatory is based on a winning design entry from a competition for architecture students from Northumbria and Newcastle Universities. Now owned and managed by Allen Valleys Enterprise Ltd it hosts the newly established North Pennines Astronomy Society. Events take place throughout the year for the members and general public and there are collaborations with other dark sky and stargazing groups across the North Pennines.

Electric Allen Valleys

We worked hard to establish an electric bike hire service in the Allen Valleys. We set up the North Pennines Electric Bike Hire Scheme, which is based in Edmundbyers in the Derwent Valley, but with bikes available to hirers across the North Pennines.

We also established a new rapid-charge electric vehicle charging point at the newly restored Allen Smelt Mill complex.

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