It wasn’t planned. It was a bonus.
Northumberland National Park Authority, reached out to identity on tyne and offered to host a visit for one of our groups at The Sill, The National Landscape Discovery Centre, on Saturday 30 March 2019.
It was a bit short notice but the SHEROES, the group of Muslim girls from inner city Newcastle who were part of our First World War Project, we’re eager to get involved.
We piled on a minibus, leaving behind the red bricked houses and traffic to soon looking out on to green rolling fields, stone walls and ‘sheeps’ as the girls liked to shout. Once we exited the bus we were hit by the smell of the countryside; manure yes but also ‘The smell of green’, one member of the group stated.
We were met by Chris Jones, Historic Environment Officer and Margaret, a Ranger, to be introduced to the building and the area. We had a tour of the permanent exhibition at The Sill, by a volunteer, which is a state of the art, interactive display which details the life, land use and the natural heritage of the area.
The group loved the hands-on experience and ran around the building as if they’d always been there.
After checking out the temporaray exhibtion about boglands, the girls got to go outside and explore the roof and the surrpunding scenery. This was the best bit for the girls as they expressed great joy at being out there and experiencing the fresh air, the views and natural beauty.
One particular girl who was unwell at the beginning of the trip, expressed how she was feeling. ‘I had a lot on my mind before. But now, after spending time out here and looking out at the views, my mind is clear. I feel much better.’
From this simple response, I would say this visit was a sucess. This response is exactly the reason for faciliating this project, the reason that we all need to connect with nature more because it makes us feel better.