A new body has been set up ensure that communities, groups and businesses along Hadrian’s Wall have a say in the future of the world heritage site.
Concerned individuals, who feel that many people with an interest in the monument do not have an input into important issues, have formed WallTogether.
A website, www.walltogther.org has been launched and it is planned to formally constitute the body as a membership organisation in the autumn under the title of WallTogether: the Hadrian’s Wall Association.
One of the drivers behind the move is the closure of the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, whose functions have now been divided up between other organisations such as Northumberland National Park and the county council.
“But such organisations have their own budget challenges to face,” said WallTogether chairman Amanda Earnshaw, who lives in Acomb, near Hexham
“Now that we have lost the Trust as a co-ordinating body our concern is that things will become disjointed and fragmented along the Wall, with sites and organisations operating for their own purposes and no co-ordination of activities.”
She said that on a monument as long as the Wall, many organisations, from the national park, English Heritage and the National Trust to local and highways authorities had an interest.
“We are stronger when we work together,” said Ms Earnshaw, who worked for the Countryside Commission and Natural England, and played a part in establishing the Hadrian’s Wall national walking trail.
WallTogether has been set up to be a platform for communities and businesses to raise concerns and air views on issues like the management of the walking trail, cycle route and public transport such as the AD122 bus service.
“The idea is that WallTogether becomes a critical friend and the eyes and ears on the ground for those who are managing different aspects of the Wall, and act as a conduit for community concerns,” said Ms Earnshaw.
Another function could be raising funds for Wall projects.
“We see it as being there for businesses, communities, walkers, visitors and anyone with an interest in the Wall.”
The stated aims of the new body are “in recognition of the pre-eminence, uniqueness and vulnerability of Hadrian’s Wall world heritage site, WallTogether’s aim are:
- To promote the recreational value of the national trail and the wider world heritage site in a way that is archaeologically, environmentally and economically sustainable.
To promote a forum for visitors and locals alike to contribute ideas and enthusiasm towards the long-term well being of both the world heritage site and access within it.
To support efforts aimed at securing proper resourcing for the management and maintenance of Hadrian’s Wall Path and associated access routes.
“We are keen to hear from those who have a point of view - any individual, community, organisation, or business wishing to contribute by highlighting pertinent issues relating to Hadrian’s Wall or its landscape setting,” said Ms Earnshaw.
WallTogether secretary is Cumbria-based guide book writer Mark Richards, who said: “We know from experience that without a Wall–wide approach the marketing message is not as strong and the national trail maintenance could be piecemeal.
“The component parts of the Hadrian’s Wall Trust have been scattered. Facing this future of fragmentation WallTogether is determined to voice the need for joined-up thinking.
“We will be at the forefront of the debate on key issues like the AD122 bus service and national trail maintenance, where necessary asking the awkward questions and seeking solutions that actually respond to businesses, the local community, and genuinely serve the visitor.”
For further details contact 01434 604 852