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What Is Northumberland National Park?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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Northumberland National Park is one of several British national parks. It is located in Northumberland County in England, near Scotland. Notable features of the area include archaeological and military landmarks, as well as several tourist centers. The landscape has many hills and valleys.

The northern portion of England houses Northumberland National Park. It is an expansive land, covering over 62 miles (over 100 kilometers). This wide landscape thus gives rise to a variety of different environments, from the rolling Cheviot hills to flatlands to forests. Many streams and valleys also dot the region. Despite its large size, the area has a rather sparse population and an equally sparse number of visitors. Most of the 405 areas of this park are under government protection, which means that activities that might harm the environment and its living organisms are typically forbidden.

Archaeology is a main draw of Northumberland National Park, particularly in the area known as the Breamish Valley. Several landmarks of prehistoric origin dot the land. Military fortifications such as small pele tower houses are also of historical interest. Perhaps the most prominent defensive structure found in the park is Hadrian's Wall, part of a Roman fortification that has been declared a World Heritage Site.

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Tourists visiting Northumberland National Park are drawn to the region for its landscape and archaeological offerings, as well as its activities. Dining and sightseeing facilities are available throughout the region, as are lodgings ranging from small hotels to bed and breakfasts. Some of the common activities include hiking, rock-climbing, horseback-riding, biking, and wildlife watching. The wildlife is diverse, including a common species of bird in the region, the curlew, that serves as the official symbol of the park.

A sizable percentage — roughly one fourth — of Northumberland National Park is under ownership of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. The Otterburn Training Area comprises a military facility that trains tens of thousands of soldiers each year. While many portions of this area are forbidden to non-military personnel, some of the Otterburn region is accessible to average citizens.

Several visitor centers are situated throughout the park. The southern area has a center located within Hadrian’s Wall. Landscape and history exhibitions populate a center near Rothbury. Archaeological artifacts are the main attraction at a center located at the Breamish Valley. The park’s main times of operation are in the non-winter months. In the winter, many of the park's centers are only accessible on weekends.

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