North­ern pow­er­house

Countryfile Magazine - - Editor’s Letter -

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?

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