The Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership – enthusiasm spanning the public, private, voluntary and community sector.

With Groundwork NE & Cumbria hosting the Partnership, our partners include a wide variety of organisations and individuals focused on a clear and shared vision to celebrate heritage and create opportunities in the Land of Oak & Iron.

Executive Board

Tasked with championing, directing and scrutinising the scheme the Board includes:

John Rundle, ChairJohn Rundle

A locally based, economic development and regeneration expert who has spent time at the top of organisations including One North East, the Department for Communities, Local Government, the Northern Way and Newcastle Science City; bringing great experience of harnessing successful multi-agency partnerships. John provides strategic overview, high level influence and guides decision making to ensure the long term vision is realised.



Groundwork NE & Cumbria (Host organisation) – Kate CulverhouseKate Culverhouse


Groundwork NE & Cumbria is a registered charity that aims to change places and change lives. Delivering a broad range of activity, Groundwork supports communities to improve their environment, health and wellbeing as well as their training and employment prospects. Through hosting the Partnership, Groundwork will work with the other partners and organisations in delivering schemes that support the vision and address the agreed priorities of the Land of Oak & Iron.


Durham County Council – Councillor Ossie JohnsonCouncillor Ossie Johnson

Durham County Council

Covering 223,000 hectares with a population of 516,000 Durham County Council provides a diverse range of services across a wide geographic area. The area within the Land of Oak & Iron includes the key settlements of Burnopfield, Castleside, Consett, Dipton, Ebchester and Shotley Bridge. The Council is fully supportive of the scheme due to the wide range of benefits it will bring including schemes to improve woodlands, access, tourism sites and opportunities for residents to participate in education and learning.

Environment Agency

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency works to create better places for people and wildlife and support sustainable development. They have invested significant resource in improving the water quality status of both the River Derwent and River Tyne, including the installation of a fish pass at Derwenthaugh. Working closely with the Tyne Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency is keen to capitalise on this initial investment in the Land of Oak & Iron to improve the quality of the environment.

Gateshead Council – Councillor Malcolm BrainMalcolm Brain

Gateshead Council

The Land of Oak & Iron focuses on the rural west of Gateshead Council, taking in Blaydon, Swalwell, Chopwell, Rowlands Gill, Ryton, Crawcrook to where it borders Durham and Northumberland. Gateshead Council has provided significant support for the Land of Oak & Iron as it will bring numerous benefits to Gateshead including new tourism attractions and facilities, improved access and woodlands, opportunities for education, learning and volunteering.


North East Culture Partnership – Matthew JarrattMatthew Jarratt

The partnership, which includes all 12 local authorities, arts and cultural organisations, businesses and educational organisations, sport and tourism, is to build on the strong foundations laid through the North East’s cultural regeneration so that it can harness the power of culture to promote health and well-being and to forge a dynamic and successful economy.


Northumberland County Council – Councillor Tony ReidTony Reid

Northumberland Country Council

Northumberland County Council’s mission is a thriving County where people choose to live, work, visit and invest. Including the town of Prudhoe and then heading south west towards Allensford, the Council are a key partner of the Land of Oak & Iron. Benefiting from access, improvements, a heritage centre in Prudhoe, interpretation and cultural activities, the Council recognise that this investment will support their mission.


Pont Valley Network – David MarrsDavid Marrs


A local conservation group based in Dipton, which informs its’ community about events, activities and issues that are important to the local area. The Pont Valley Network focuses on running projects to enhance the local area. It also teaches people, young and old, about its fascinating history and attracts people from further afield for its famous guided walks. – Tony Bradley

Public Relations Consultancy

The UK’s first cloud-based PR company, brings together a number of the North East’s leading consultants in a collaborative venture where clients are able to access senior professionals working in virtual teams. Founder and CEO Tony Bradley FCIPR, is one of the region’s most experienced PR practitioners and a former national president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Community Representative – Ros RigbyIMG_0071

Ros has a background in arts and cultural development; she was a co-founder of Folkworks which became the UK’s foremost producer, presenter and educator in folk and traditional music before being involved in the opening of Sage Gateshead where she was Performance Programme Director until 2016. Ros who has lived in the Derwent Valley for over thirty years, will lead the Board’s work in developing and strengthening cultural and tourism activities.


Business Representative – Vacant