Call for Cheviots to be given national park status

Looking across to The Cheviot Hills near Wooler.
Looking across to The Cheviot Hills near Wooler.

A public meeting next month will look at the pros and cons of the Cheviots becoming a national park (NP).

The meeting has been called by the Southern Upland Partnership (SUP) following a report earlier this year suggesting the area should be considered for NP status.

But Roxburghe Estates, which owns much of the land in the area, urges caution.

Factor Roddy Jackson said: “Any proposal for NP designation needs to analyse fully the benefits and costs so an informed view can be made.

“NP status involves additional state intervention in the management and use of land. There is already a high level of landscape protection afforded to the Cheviots and rightly so.”

The area is a National Scenic Area, a conservation designation run by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and has Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) protection.

Mr Jackson said both Scottish Borders Council and SNH had measures in place “to ensure adequate protection for sensitive areas”.

The report, entitled ‘Unfinished Business’ was published by The Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP) and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) in the spring. In the report author John Mayhew notes the southern flanks of the Cheviots in England are included in the Northumberland National Park but the Scottish side have only the “limited protection” of the AGLV.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “The council is aware of the work undertaken by the ARPS and the proposed meeting organised by SUP, and will continue to monitor events.” The meeting takes place at 7pm on August 14 in Yetholm Youth Hall.