Our Mission is to deliver cultural activities that transform people’s understanding of the heritage, landscapes and places they live in, building their confidence and ability to influence policy and decision-making.

Northern Heartlands is one of sixteen Great Place Schemes in the UK funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. We are using a ‘cultural landscape’ approach, recognising that landscape and places are shaped by what has happened in the past, what is happening now and what may happen in the future. Our landscapes tell an ever-changing story.

Our Great Place is in County Durham and includes the catchment of two rivers – the Tees and the Wear – extending from their sources in the North Pennines to the lowland arc through which they flow. The area includes the market towns of Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Crook, Tow Law and Willington and the communities of part of the former Durham coalfield, together with the isolated hill farms and villages of the rural upper Dales.