Northumberland National Park

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This entire county of Northumberland is a national park, and best known for being home to wide sandy beaches overlooked by stunning castles, and being ‘king of the night sky’ with less light pollution than anywhere. With England’s lowest population, it borders Scotland (Berwick-upon-Tweed has changed hands many times, and even has its own tartan).

Inland, pine forests means there are more red squirrels here. Proof that their being endangered is not ‘due to grey squirrels’ but more that other areas are not providing native homes (red squirrels are more Scandinavian and need specific trees and areas to thrive). Read how to help both red and grey squirrels.

home of (part of) Hadrian’s Wall

The least populated of England’s national parks, this is the home of Hadrian’s Wall, which took 15,000 men to build over six years. Stretching from Cumbria on the west coast to Northumberland on the east coast, you are not allowed to use metal detectors here, but archaeologists who with permission have excavated areas, have found many human skeletons, including two bodies under a tavern floor (one had a dagger found between his ribs, leading to one of the most famed unsolved murder mysteries.

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