Our current projects
The new North Pennines Observatory was developed by the North Pennines AONB Partnership using Heritage Lottery funding. Hosted by Allenheads Contemporary Arts and sited at their base at the Old School House in Allenheads the observatory is well-placed to make the most of the dark North Pennines skies. It is AVEL’s first operational project and will deliver an innovative programme of events appealing to schools, community groups, residents and visitors, as well as providing a base for astronomers locally and regionally, including a new North Pennines Astronomical Society.
Go to the Observatory's website for more details about this exciting new
A number of river locations in the Allen Valleys are being investigated for the feasibility of building sustainable small-scale hydro-electric projects that can generate an income for the community. Work to date has encouraged us that a couple sites may be viable. The technical requirements and financial modelling are now being evaluated, and funding options explored, before a firm plan for further development can be finalised. Recent experience demonstrates that such projects can attract the necessary finance from individuals and organisations both locally and nationally to allow them to go ahead.
AVEL has leased the former Allendale First School Field from Northumberland County Council for the next 35years.
This piece of waste ground has been brought back to life and now provides valuable Community space with picnic tables, a pond as well as a new permissive footpath leading from Shilburn Road across the field and out on to the footpath opposite the Village Hall.
En route you can see the two new projects which have transformed this piece of land.
Carrshield camping barn is located within the historic Barney Craig mine shop on the site of the former Carrshield Mine in the West Allen Valley. The former mine shop is a Scheduled Ancient Monument recognised as having significant cultural value. Its condition was critical, being dilapidated and in danger of becoming ruined. Being well-placed for cyclists and walkers and for use by local outdoor activity providers, AVEL recognised its potential for development into low-cost, no-frills accommodation - a backpacking camping barn.
With funding from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, during 2017-18 the building was renovated using traditional methods and existing materials, converting the upper floors into a basic camping barn. It is now owned and managed by AVEL for the benefit of the local community.