The Battle for Berwick is to be the focus of a new farm trail
launched with the help of Defra and English Heritage. The trail
will provide a window onto the battlefield, using specially designed
The Battle of Halidon Hill, fought between the Scots and the
English, in July 1333, was one of the deciding battles that finally
meant Berwick-Upon-Tweed became England's most northerly town.
Now tenant farmers Nigel and Lynn Dudgeon, of Conundrum, the
most northerly farm in England, have joined forces with Defra
and English Heritage to launch a new trail in and around the
Halidon Hill Battlefield.
The couple's farm is already a popular attraction for visitors
boasting the Conundrum Farm Trail, which was launched in 1998
with a farm visitor centre. The fly fishery opened the following
year, and a barn shop and licensed restaurant was added in 2002,
with the help of a Rural Enterprise Scheme grant from Defra.
Through a Countryside Stewardship agreement, the couple has
now added new permissive access routes to allow visitors the
chance to walk around the battlefield and special, see-through
interpretive panels created with the help of The Design Quarter,
a design and marketing consultancy based in north Northumberland.
Nigel Dudgeon said:
"Our existing farm trail, fly fishery, shop and restaurant
are already proving to be very popular with visitors and this
seemed a logical progression providing greater access for visitors
enabling them to find out more about the history of the local
area. We now feel there is something for everyone at Conundrum.
"It really is a lovely walk. There are several routes you
can take with some fantastic views right into the heart of the
Scottish Borders and towards the coast you can see the town of
Berwick, Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island.
"Visitors can park their cars at the car park near the
shop and restaurant to pick up a battle leaflet and map before
heading off to enjoy the new trail. Obviously, we'd love to welcome
them for refreshments either before or after their walk."
Steve Pullan, an adviser at Defra's Rural Development Service
in the North East, said:
"The Dudgeons have already realised the benefits of diversifying
to ensure a sustainable future for their business.
"Through CSS they are now safeguarding an important historical
site and allowing visitors the chance to learn more about their
heritage while increasing the appeal of their farm as a visitor
attraction. The new trail is just one part of Conundrum's CSS
agreement, which also includes tree planting, hedging, stone
wall restoration and extensive habitat improvement for wild birds
Kate Wilson, of English Heritage, said:
"Halidon Hill is one of 43 battlefields on the English
Heritage Register of Historic Battlefields. The register is designed
to draw attention to the importance of English battlefields and
the need to conserve their archaeology, topography and setting."
The Design Quarter managed the project of setting up the panels
or 'windows' from concept through to installation, using modern
materials to create windows on the natural landscape through
which visitors can view the battle site from the soldiers' perspective.
The company researched all aspects of the battle, working with
experts from the Royal Armouries, English Heritage and Defra.
The battle is regarded as one of the greatest disasters in Scottish
history and the surrender of Berwick followed immediately afterwards.