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Coast Care is an initiative created to train, support and resource volunteers to contribute to the management and conservation of the Northumberland coastline from Berwick to Amble.

The region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and incorporates many Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI). Volunteers will care for our sandy beaches, rolling dunes, historic buildings, village greens and other community spaces which make up our coastal environment.

There are a range of volunteer roles including performing wildlife surveys, practical conservation tasks and local site wardens. We have projects to suit a wide range of interests and capabilities.

Coast Care is a project enabling volunteers to access training, support and resources to conserve and protect the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Team

These are the people who help keep this great project afloat.

Mark Furnell

Mark Furnell

Volunteer and Access Officer


I’m Mark Furnell, the new Volunteering and Access Officer for the Northumberland Coast AONB, who will be helping to manage our Coast Care volunteers. I’m passionate about the North-East and the Northumberland Coast AONB– it's exciting to be working alongside volunteers who care so much for this special place. My goal is to help volunteers get involved in projects as well as help improve the AONB both aesthetically and for its biodiversity.

My love of the Northumbrian coast comes from my staycations as a child. Twenty years ago, I studied for my first degree in Environmental Management at Northumbria University and spent some on Lindisfarne NNR completing field studies, I wrote my dissertation on coastal geomorphology.

For the last 13 years, I have been a Ranger looking after Newcastle Parks and mainly countryside sites, of which those first five years were spent running an environmental education and forest school programmein the west end of Newcastle for a wide variety of age demographics. I managed several country parks and nature reserves including the Newcastle section of Hadrian's Way National Trail. I have enjoyed establishing and assisting ‘friends of’ groups, leading volunteer groups-both regular and corporate-on a daily basis to do estate and habitat management.

My other passion is trees. After studying for a National Diplomain Arboriculture and Forestry and Estates Management at Kirkley Hall College in Northumberland, I continued my professional training by gaining my Lantra professional Tree Inspector certificate in 2015.

In my new role, I am keen to make a difference and help maintain the AONB special characteristics of nature and historical legacy. I want to champion the volunteers and empower those that have already poured energy, skills, experience and love into caring for the coast. I am also keen on raising participation in Coast Care to be inclusive to all parts of society. 

Andy P

Being a Coast Care Lead Volunteer is an extremely rewarding role. As well as the associated benefits of working outdoors and meeting like minded volunteers who share a passion for this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it also allows me the opportunity to maintain and in some cases improve the coastal areas that matters the most to me.

Andy P

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a statutory designation established by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Together with National Parks, AONBs represent the nation's finest landscapes. The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance natural beauty.

The Northumberland Coast was designated as an AONB in 1958, covering an area of 138 sq km along 64km of the coastline between Berwick-upon-Tweed and the Coquet Estuary.

Northumberland County Council has a statutory duty to ensure that the natural beauty of the Northumberland coast is conserved and enhanced and to prepare a management plan setting how the council's policies for the management of the AONB.

The Partnership

To assist the council in the conservation and enhancement of the Northumberland Coast AONB, the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership was formed in 2003. Comprising of local people, representatives of statutory agencies and interest groups, the Partnership guides the policies of the council and the work of the staff team.

The role of the Partnership is to pursue and champion the purposes of designation of the Northumberland Coast AONB and to assist in the delivery of the partners' statutory duties and other management aspirations in respect of the AONB.

Our Partners

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are working together with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Seahouses Development Trust and Northumberland Coast AONB to look after our coastal environment.

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​What does 23 sessions, 15 months, 8 volunteers, 2 members of staff and 1 very determined lead volunteer get you?

​What does 23 sessions, 15 months, 8 volunteers, 2 members of staff and 1 very determined lead volunteer get you?

2nd February 2021

One transformed traditionally built dry stone wall leading into one of Northumberland’s quaintest ...

Connecting Virtually at Coast Care

Connecting Virtually at Coast Care

9th December 2020

Coast Care volunteers have been making the most of modern technology to socialise safely during thes...

"I met some wonderful people and really felt that my work helped make a difference to my local area."

Why Volunteer →