A NEW gallery hosting the work of Northumberland artists is set to open this weekend.

Julian Morrison-Bell and his family have transformed a 19th century hay barn behind The Boe Rigg at Charlton, near Bellingham, into The Bellwether gallery and shop as part of the ongoing development of Charlton Farm.

The gallery will showcase and sell a range of artwork and products from makers across the north, mainly from Northumberland.

Supporting local artists and businesses is something which is important to them, said Julian's daughter Alice.

"One of the things that the artists have all said is that they don't have that many outlets to show their work," she said, adding that they are keen to keep the commission they charge low.

Julian said they have received great support from similar businesses elsewhere while preparing to open the gallery.

"They were all very keen to help," he said.

He added Sam McDine, owner of Whickham Cottage Crafts, had particularly been a "tremendous help in finding craftspeople and artists".

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It is hoped The Bellwether's location, in the Northumberland National Park and close to Kielder, will encourage more visitors to stop by.

"It's a pretty major tourist route for Northumberland," said Julian. "The route from the east up to Kielder is pretty well worn, I would say, and with The Boe Rigg here and holiday accommodation around, a lot of people are appearing looking for things to do in the summer."

Alice added: "Especially having The Boe Rigg next door, it's nice that people can make a bit of a day of it, you can have something to eat and a coffee and also have somewhere to browse."

Last year, the venue hosted an inaugural concert featuring the Landermason and Dark Sky Voices, and another event, BAAFest Mid Summer Music, is planned for June 17.

"The acoustics in here are absolutely fantastic," said Julian.

They are also planning on hosting workshops.

The Bellwether will open its doors this weekend. It is hoped an official opening event will take place in June.