In our annual BBC Countryfile Magazine awards, Northumberland always does well. This year was no exception, with the coast winning Holiday Destination of the Year and Embleton grabbing Beach of the Year – both hotly contested categories. It’s also a favourite filming location of Countryfile producer Polly Billam, so we asked her what all the fuss is about.
On page 18 she takes us on a journey from some of England’s most beautiful beaches – framed by medieval bastions – to wild valleys, moors and massive forests, where nature thrives alongside admirably independent towns and communities. It’s one of the few places in England where, away from the main towns, you can drive for miles and see no one. A magnificent place to escape to.
Northumberland was too wild and distant to attract the pen of Jane Austen – her ever-popular books are often driven by a close gathering of characters in country houses – so it’s bustling southern England that she focuses on. Yet the countryside, and Austen’s rural background, played a huge part in shaping her stories, as historian Lucy Worsley reveals on page 48. Enjoy Lucy’s piece and you will read Pride and Prejudice with new eyes.
Lastly, we head back to the deep wild in search of our most secretive mammal: the Scottish wild cat. At the 11th hour, conservationists are trying to save it from vanishing altogether. Will they succeed? Find out on page 34.
Sand dunes crowd the golden sands at Embleton Bay in Northumberland – why not visit yourself to see why it keeps winning awards?