Learning at The Sill

...and beyond. Discover, explore and conserve Northumberland's incredible landscapes.

Two men willow weaving

Education, learning and fun for everyone

From taster days and fun family events to short courses and specialised training, The Sill will offer exciting opportunities for everyone.

We have designed and tested a comprehensive activity programme for learners of all ages, abilities and interests in order to create a perfect learning laboratory for children and adults alike. These unique learning opportunities will increase people’s understanding and enjoyment of the landscape, using the natural and cultural landscapes and heritage of Northumberland National Park as a starting point. Our activity programme includes:

Formal education: linking to the curriculums of primary and secondary schools, youth groups, universities, colleges and adult learning courses

Training: opportunities for vocational learning, including rural and heritage skills. Learn the techniques that have created this unique landscape, such as dry stone walling and hedge laying.

Events and informal learning: a wide range of engaging family activities and cultural events to attract new audiences

Activities will be based both at The Sill and also at sites across and beyond the National Park. Themes include:

  • Landscape
  • Ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural heritage
  • Traditional skills and crafts
  • Geology
  • Sustainability
  • Human interaction with the landscape
  • Outdoor activities, such as orienteering, geo-caching, bush-craft
  • Traditional and contemporary Northumbrian culture including art, music, language, literature, craft, health and well-being

Download the relevant Educational Visit forms here:

Understanding the landscape

The Sill’s exhibits and activities will examine the interaction between landscapes and the peoples and histories of Northumberland and the wider North of England, inspiring visitors to explore and appreciate these spaces in a new way. State-of-the-art interactive exhibitions will explore four fundamental themes between different – yet inter-connected - elements of the landscape’s story to create an experience that matches the way in which landscape itself is experienced. Our themes will include:

Landform and geology: Rocks and their formation create the backbone of the landscape. Visitors can make connections with observable features of the landscape which result from its underlying geology, such as habitats and cultural features 

Habitats and wildlife: Different areas of landscape have different features and accommodate different species of plants and animals. This theme will encourage visitors to explore nature on different scales

A human landscape: Our landscape is continually shaped by the interaction between people and nature. Humans have been shaping the landscape since prehistoric times, continue to do so now, and will do in the future

Changing nature: The landscape around us is constantly changing. Over longer periods, changing climates, humans and animals have shaped the landscape, and nature is responsible for large and small changes to the landscape

Bumble bee

Conservation

The Sill will revolutionise how partnerships are developed between professional conservationists, academic researchers, amateur enthusiasts and the general public to better understand and protect the complex heritage of landscape. Whether it is the quality of water in a relict glacial lake, a threatened breeding site of hen harriers, an Iron Age round house over-run by bracken or a medieval castle subject to erosion by rabbits, The Sill will cultivate understanding and stimulate action.

Projects that help to conserve iconic species, such as the red squirrel and black grouse, and internationally recognised sites including Hadrian’s Wall, will sit alongside other conservation work to safeguard prehistoric rock art sites and the habitats of lesser-known native species, such as shellfish, mosses and shrubs. The Sill will bring all of the disciplines together and provide unique opportunities to share knowledge, research and expertise.

Volunteer ranger speaking to children

The Sill: open for everyone

We want to use the power of landscape to unlock people’s potential, to provide the opportunity to get involved in something life-changing, and to help nurture the next generation of landscape enthusiasts.

Inspiring new audiences: We want to develop people’s interest in the natural world and inspire them to visit rural landscapes such as ours.  The Sill will enhance the experience for our regular visitors as well as attract new visitors of all ages.

Valuing volunteers: From helping to maintain trails, doing practical conservation work and guiding led walks, to advising on access issues, carrying out surveys and providing business advice, our dedicated volunteers already make a huge contribution right across Northumberland National Park: the work our volunteers do is worth at least £250,000 every year.

Volunteers have a vital role to play in The Sill, from leading activities and front-of-house duties to maintenance and conservation – and much more beside. Volunteering at The Sill will offer a wide range of ways for people to get involved, and opportunities will include regular volunteering, work experience and internships.

Why not join our outstanding team of National Park volunteers in protecting and preserving this remarkable environment for the future. Learn new skills whilst out in this stunning landscape, work alongside our dedicated staff and meet some great people in the process.

Accessible landscapes: We want everyone to enjoy and benefit from the richness of the landscape. Activities will be tailored to meet people’s needs.

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