Visitors to Northumberland urged to treat the county like their own back gardens

Craster harbour
The harbour at Craster is one of Northumberland's most visited destinations Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Visitors to Northumberland are being urged to treat the county with the same respect as their own back gardens.

The 'Love It Like It's Yours' campaign began last year in response to the influx of visitors.

With people still flocking to the region, the aim is to reduce the negative impact of visits on communities and the environment while helping trippers to make the most of what is on offer.

The campaign is led by Northumberland County Council and the tourism organisation Visit Northumberland.

Its chairman Andrew Fox said wildfires are one example of the damage that thoughtless behaviour can cause.

"It's really making sure that we are taking our litter home, we are parking in the right areas, we're keeping the dogs on leads so they're not affecting the local wildlife so it's just treating it with pride and having common sense."

At Howick coastguard station near Craster, the volunteers are seeing the effects of rising visitors in the number of callouts it receives.

In 2021 it responded to seventy calls which was a record high.

It is expecting that figure to be matched - or even exceeded - this year.

Coastguard station officer Ian Woods said many callouts are to paddle boarders and kayakers who have been pushed out to sea after being caught out by tides and wind.

Mr Woods urged people to take advice from coastguards, fishermen and other local people before venturing into or onto the water.

"We all have social media pages - every coastguard team in Northumberland - message the pages asking for safe areas to swim, safe areas to paddle board, asking for advice on the weather."

According to Visit Northumberland:

  • Tourism is worth an estimated one billion pounds a year to Northumberland's economy

  • Fifteen per cent of the county's jobs are tied to the industry

Visitors are drawn to Northumberland's picturesque coastline Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Those involved in the sector are keen to see it develop further, but not at the expense of the county's communities and environment.

Cllr John Riddle from Northumberland County Council said the authority was investing in improvements to country parks and a million pounds had been set aside to upgrade public toilets.

The aim is that with the help of its visitors, Northumberland can strike a balance: reaping the rewards of a growing tourism industry with protection for the people and wildlife that call it their home.

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