The Bright Water Landscape Partnership covers an area of approximately 200km2 within lowland County Durham and Darlington, focusing on the River Skerne catchment from Hurworth Burn reservoir to South Park in Darlington.
The project area includes the communities of Newton Aycliffe, Sedgefield, Bishop Middleham, Fishburn, Heighington, Brafferton, Barmpton and Darlington.
The Issues
Over the last two hundred years, the landscape of this area has been significantly altered, including the River Skerne itself. There is a history of globally significant innovation occurring within the area that influenced both the agricultural and industrial revolutions. However, there is a general lack of awareness and appreciation of this local heritage.
Many people are not well connected to the landscape on their doorstep. There are physical barriers to access with the A1 and the East Coast main line crossing across the landscape and available information on the area is not always widely available. This creates an intellectual barrier to generating understanding of what the landscape can offer.
Our vision is to reveal a heritage of change and innovation, supporting opportunities to enhance and enjoy the natural, built and farmed landscape, realising gifts for now and the future, raising aspirations and inspiring communities.
To achieve this vision the partnership will aim to:
• Work to reveal the landscape of the past, showing how it has been shaped by man over thousands of years
• Work with landowners, local communities and other partners to restore and enhance key elements of the natural, built and cultural landscape
• Highlight the cultural heritage of the area, a story of innovation that has shaped the modern world – from the birth of the railways to the Durham Ox
• Provide opportunities for learning and training, ensuring the heritage of the area is better known and conserved
• Enable more people to access the heritage of the landscape, helping to improve health and well-being
• Provide new opportunities for businesses, making them more resilient in the future
We need your views
We need the ideas and views of local people to make sure we deliver the best project possible and one that champions the Bright Water area.
To find out more and to put your ideas forward please contact Helen Ryde on 0191 5843112 or or visit our Facebook page Bright Water River Skerne where we will be running an online survey, which is also available at
Further information is also available via the Durham Wildlife Trust website