A INJECTION of more than £5m is set to be ploughed into an historic hotspot in Belsay.

English Heritage site, Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, was awarded a £1.88m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and along with donations from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Foyle Foundation and other private donors, the total investment is £5.5m.

The money will go towards funding some major changes at the property from 2020, including rejuvenating the renowned gardens and conservation work to the roof of the hall, coach house and parts of the castle. It will also see the provision of a brand new family-friendly space which will feature a woodland play and learn area with an outdoor classroom and a cafe. It is hoped work can be completed in phases between 2021 and 2022.

Andrea Selley, historic properties director for English Heritage North said: “Belsay Hall is one of our jewels in the North-East. Conservation of this very special Classical Greek Revival hall is a priority, and we see the addition of these new visitor facilities and new interpretation as essential to improve the experience of this special place for visitors.

“The gardens will benefit from restoration work to its acclaimed picturesque style landscape, rejuvenating the plant collection and opening up new areas to visitors. We will also invest in an imaginative children’s play area. Our key aim is to ensure that a wide range of people enjoy everything that Belsay has to offer and conserve this gem of a property for future generations.”

The project includes a range of skills training, work experience, traineeships and research opportunities.

In addition, there will be new volunteer roles available from gardeners and conservation tour guides to ecological survey volunteers.