NEW and improved visitor facilities have opened at Walltown Country Park, near Greenhead, following significant investment.

Intended to enhance Northumberland National Park’s Dark Sky Programme and visitor experience, the new facilities are part of a planned multi-site “Hadrian’s Wall observatory” featuring the Sill visitor centre, Cawfields and the country park.

The newly-refurbished site offers a new seating area and toilet facilities with 24-hour access. Visitor welcome assistants will provide information at key times through the week and staff a small kiosk selling refreshments including hot and cold drinks, cold snacks and a small range of merchandise.

The refurbishment and development of Walltown Country Park was made possible thanks to a funding boost from the Rural Development for Rural England Growth Programme.

The programme provided 80 per cent of the £108,000 investment.

Glen Sanderson, chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “The development of Walltown Country Park into a year-round visitor facility will create new jobs for the local area and allow us to expand on the existing activity and events programme at the Sill.

“We hope that the new facilities at Walltown Country Park, with their superb location, will encourage more families, tourists and local residents to stay longer and comfortably enjoy the tranquil, unique, wide open spaces and dramatic landscape that Northumberland National Park has to offer.”

Duncan Wise, visitor development manager at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “The transformation of our visitor facilities at Walltown Country Park is an important step towards our vision of creating a multi-site dark skies observatory.”