Northumberlandia - the Lady of the North


The idea for Northumberlandia originated in 2004 when the Blagdon Estate and the Banks Group were applying for permission to dig for coal and fire clay (for bricks) on farmland near the new town of Cramlington.

The Banks Group and Blagdon Estates recognised that whilst recovering much needed coal for UK energy generation and providing local employment, there was also a unique opportunity to create a spectacular art form that would provide a legacy for future generations. So the consortium contacted the internationally renowned artist Charles Jencks to see what could be done – and Northumberlandia was born.

This project is known as restoration first – taking an extra piece of land donated by the landowner, the Blagdon Estate, adjacent to the mine and providing a new landscape for the community to enjoy while the mine is still operational. The £3 million cost of the project has been privately funded by the Banks Group and the Blagdon Estate.

In 2010 work began and 1.5 million tonnes of carefully selected rock, clay and soil was transported from the adjacent Shotton surface mine to a neighbouring part of the estate to form Northumberlandia.

Once the major landscape works were complete the sculpture was blasted with ‘hydro seed’ which started to transform the sculpture into a living landscape. Her face, paths and viewing platforms were constructed with a hard stone surface with every feature surveyed and checked against carefully designed plans.

Rather than become a highly manicured landscape the park and sculpture will be allowed to develop naturally with minimal interference working within the grain of nature. The park will change with the seasons and mature over many generations.