Five projects aimed at transforming visitor attractions along Hadrian’s Wall are moving forward with their bids for funding from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
The World Heritage Site is central to the Deal’s aims of opening up the region to a growing and diverse audience of visitors, creating jobs and supporting sustainable communities. An Expression of Interest Process was opened in July for initiatives to unlock a share of £9million to be spent across the counties of Cumbria and Northumberland.
The initial criteria were for projects located five miles either side of Hadrian’s Wall, along its entire length, from Ravenglass and Silecroft in the west, to Segedunum (Wallsend) and Arbeia (South Shields) in the east. They also had to demonstrate they fit with the Borderlands’ programme themes of improving infrastructure and facilities, and investment in attractions. After a shortlisting process the following successful projects have been invited to submit Business Cases:
Reimagining Roman Maryport, Senhouse Roman Museum - Redeveloping the museum to provide a much improved visitor attraction, offering modern and flexible spaces, including access improvements and interpretation of the wider Roman fort site.
Reimagining the Romans, Tullie House Museum - Creating a Hadrian’s Wall themed interactive children’s experience, harnessing the power of play to educate, inspire and make the World Heritage Site more accessible for families, particularly non-traditional visitors.
Deep Time / Discover Hadrian’s Wall West, Carlisle City Council and Copeland Borough Council - Installing pieces of public artwork to encourage and extend exploration along the west of the Wall and the west Cumbrian coast.
Hadrian's Wall Into the 21st Century (Heddon-on-the-Wall to Lanercost), English Heritage - Addressing significant problems in the current visitor infrastructure both at the main managed partner sites, and along broader areas of Hadrian’s Wall that sit within partners’ care.
Walltown Wider Horizons Project, Northumberland National Park Authority - Transforming the Country Park into Hadrian’s Wall’s most accessible outdoor visitor attraction, connecting more visitors with the rich natural and cultural heritage of the area.
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal is a 10 year programme of investment to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic benefits across the North of England and South of Scotland. It is a partnership between Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council, with funding from the UK and Scottish Governments. Its vision for Hadrian’s Wall is that by 2030 it will be the most widely recognised, appealing, and authentic visitor destination in the Borderlands region, and the UK’s leading example of heritage-inspired inclusive growth.
Lady Jane Gibson, chair of the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, said:
"We are thrilled Hadrian’s Wall is a main feature of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal because it is not just a link to the past – it links communities from coast to coast.
"Despite its iconic status it remains underdeveloped as a visitor destination and putting sustainable visitor experience front and centre should help its potential become more fully realised."
Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Borderlands Partnership co-chair, said:
"The Romans first visited Cumbria some two thousand years ago but their history, artefacts and remains still bring thousands of people here to this day.
"We hope these innovative new projects will encourage more visitors to explore our county’s past, from the Wall to the west coast, but also experience the area’s exciting present day attractions."
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member for Healthy Lives with Northumberland County Council, said:
"We get many return visitors to Hadrian’s Wall but improving accessibility is key to ensuring a more diverse range of people can enjoy its stunning setting.
"The projects chosen to progress to development will help to make the World Heritage site a truly 21st century destination for both local people and visitors from home and abroad."
Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council, said:
"From the start we wanted the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to be about investing in improvements to attract people to live, work and visit this region.
"The Hadrian’s Wall projects are another example of what can be done by joined up working by councils and organisations to maximise the impact of this investment."
In addition to the Hadrian’s Wall Visitor Attraction projects, a further £9million is available for Visitor Exploration projects focusing on cycling and walking along the World Heritage Site.