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On 11th June members of the Lowick Heritage Group Archaeology section began a dig at Hunting Hall Farm. Two trenches were opened at locations that had been chosen to investigate the many interesting subterranean features shown by last year’s geophysical survey. We were already very confident that the site had Iron Age origins because of the obvious semi circular ring ditches but it didn’t us take long to discover that the site is much older.

What has been particularly rewarding is the number of volunteers each day. Although professionally led by Kristian Pedersen, the rest of us have very little experience of practical archaeology. That doesn’t stop us finding artefacts and it’s quite exciting to be the first one to reveal a man made object that hasn’t been seen for thousands of years. There have been many. The oldest object found so far is a flint tool that has been identified as used sometime around the end of the Neolithic Period to the beginning of the Bronze Age. That makes it around 4,500 years old! Other complex underground stone features have revealed that the site was probably occupied by Bronze Age communities prior to the Iron Age people who were around at the time of the Romans. Whether that was continuous or intermittent occupation over a period of more than two thousand years remains to be seen.

Originally intended to be a two week dig, the site is revealing so much potentially important information about prehistoric farming in North Northumberland that we intend to extend until early July. Volunteers and visitors to the site will be made very welcome.



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Our first school has just received its Ofsted report, confirming what is already well known in the village – ours is a GOOD SCHOOL.

We include the letter the Head Teacher, Rebecca Simpson, has just sent out to all parents and carers of children at the school. A copy of the Ofsted report can be read by clicking the link at the bottom.

We are delighted to be able to share with you the outcomes from our recent Ofsted inspection.  We feel that the inspector understood our school and our vision.  We have been judged to be good in all areas.  We encourage you to read the whole report (which is attached to this email) to get a complete picture for each judgement area.  The report will also be available on the school website as well as on Ofsted’s own website.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team and the school community who we serve.  I was really pleased to see that the inspector noted that “Together, they have quickly forged a strong team with a united approach.”

Teachers “have strong subject knowledge and plan work which challenges and inspires pupils” and our curriculum is “creative and challenging for all….enriched through a wide range of educational experiences, visits and visitors”.   In particular, Early Years provision provides “a wide range of stimulating and challenging learning opportunities which match the interests and needs of the pupils….Children are able to be curious, manage risks, investigate and explore.”

Teaching assistants “have positive relationships with pupils and use questioning well to help encourage pupils to learn”.  Our governors have been recognised as a “strength of the school”.  Pupils are described as having “positive attitudes towards each other and are well mannered….[they] work together co-operatively in lessons and are confident to discuss their learning.”

My favourite part of the whole report is the quote from a parent, which says that “I don’t think my child would be as happy in any other school.”

I am incredibly proud and honoured to work here.  I am so glad that all the improvements we have made together have been so clearly recognised.  Obviously, we also have areas we need to improve and our school development planning is already aligned to focus on these targets:  more children attaining greater depth in writing, neater presentation and accuracy of writing, expanding our work about world religions and on improving our attendance rates.

Lowick Church of England Voluntary Controlled First School Ofsted Report – June 2019


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The annual Beating of the Bounds in Lowick on Bank holiday was blessed with fine weather, and the Bishop of Berwick [above].

Claiming the eventual sunshine was the work of The Almighty, and not his prayer of blessing that launched the annual pilgrimage on its 12 mile tour of the parish boundary, Mark Tanner, the town’s Suffragan Bishop, was accompanied by over 30 determined residents from both near and far – all of whom had braved a wet morning to see bright skies quickly develop.

‘The beating of the bounds is a traditional ceremony that takes place in many rural parishes,’ as Bishop Mark reminded the walkers. ‘It was traditional to take an unfortunate child with the group, who would be beaten regularly on the way round, presumably to atone for past wrongs.’

On this Bank Holiday, no young person could be found who was willing to continue the tradition, so it was omitted!

On a more serious note, the annual walk has become a key event for the village, with people of all beliefs and ages happy to join the growing throng. Not only a key community event, the entry fee supports the local church, and all who participate enjoy refreshments on the way, and a certificate at the end.

Church Warden John Daniels organises the walk each year, supported by a team of cake makers and route finders. He added: ‘It is a great community occasion, bringing folk together for healthy exercise which refreshes both body and spirit. How religious is that?’

BELOW – a gallery of photos from the walk. To add more – email to Lowick.Live.

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The two images above will remind us that it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good! But, in this case, the village bus shelter is a deserving exception, with its bid to the EDF Community Wind Farm trust netting the funds it needs to re-roof and re-decorate the structure, using the ideas from the first school.

Thanks to the Fund, the First School, and to project leader Rebecca Maitland for making it happen!

Below is the table of all the successful bids this time around, so you can see where the money goes, and to inspire you to apply for funds for your project, the next time round. Money goes to the communities closest to the wind farm first, so don’t be shy!

Organisation Project Awarded
Bowsden Village Hall Improve catering facilities £996
Etal Horticultural Show Tables, benches and display boards £3,097
Lowick Parish Council Bus shelter renovation £2,714
St Paul’s Church, Branxton Repointing the tower £1,020
Glendale Gateway Trust Cheviot Centre kitchen refurbishment £4,970
Wooler Cricket Club Purchasing a ride-on mower £10,000
Berwick Rugby Club Clubhouse refurbishment £5,000
NTC Touring Theatre Company Ltd Two performances at Etal Village Hall £2,000


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To read the MAY newsletters from our First School click the links: Newsletter 3.05.19Newsletter 17.05.19