Durham wins UK Landscape Award – see great films for the six finalists

The restoration of the Durham Heritage Coast – previously an industrial wasteland – was announced as the winner of the first-ever UK Landscape Awards in Liverpool on 8 November.

Durham Heritage Coast was awarded the title
of UK Landscape of Year at the UK Landscape Conference in Liverpool. The
project will now go on to represent the UK in the European Landscape Award
which takes place in Strasbourg in March 2011.

Durham Heritage Coast emerged as the winner from a diverse list of urban and rural finalists
which included:

  • A twenty five year campaign to improve the Mersey Basin
  • Creation of spectacular spaces and streets in the heart of Sheffield
  • Community-led rebuilding of Baxter Park, Dundee in Scotland
  • Conservation of the hill forts and heather moorland of Denbighshire in Wales
  • Regeneration of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland

Durham’s coastline suffered from 100 years of waste tipping by the coal industry with
over 1.5 million tonnes of waste per year being dumped over the cliffs onto the
beaches and into the sea. Durham’s beaches became known as ‘The Black Beaches’ and
looked so grim that they were used as film locations in Get Carter and Alien.

In their submission, The Durham Heritage Coast Partnership described the

“Where previously colliery waste was tipped onto the beach in enormous quantities, a costal path now leads you through a wonderful landscape mosaic of great natural, historical and geological interest with dramatic views along the coastline and out across the North Sea.”

Ian McMillan, poet and radio presenter, who was on the judging panel summed up the
views of the judges;

“This is an internationally important exemplar for transforming a despoiled landscape through careful investment and enormous amounts of enthusiasm and hard work. A bold vision has created a landscape of beauty rich in wildlife and cultural heritage in which local communities can feel justifiably proud. This is the beginning of a renaissance which will enable towns and villages of this part of the former Durham Coalfield to develop a relevant new identity.”

Full details are available from

Watch the films here:

Baxter Park, Dundee –

Durham Heritage Coast –

Gold Route, Sheffield –

Heather & Hillforts Project –

Lough Neagh Regeneration Project –

Mersey Basin Campaign –

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