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

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 Land of Oak & Iron.

Executive Board

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

David MarrsDavid Marrs, Chair

David has been involved in Land of Oak & Iron since the very early stages due to his then role as Chair of Pont Valley Network. David is a local historian, is passionate about the heritage of our local area and project managed the build of the Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre at Winlaton Mill. David continues to share his local knowledge when he leads heritage walks around the Pont Valley.

Groundwork NE & Cumbria (Host organisation) John Rundle, Chair of Land of Oak & Iron Executive Board
Kate Culverhouse

GroundworkGroundwork 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.

Cllr Tracie Smith, Durham County CouncilDurham County Council
Councillor Tracie Smith

Durham County CouncilCovering 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.

Forestry Commission
Luke Hemmings

The Forestry Commission are the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment. The Commission has an interest in the restoration of ancient woodland cover, ten percent of Land of Oak & Iron’s area is ancient woodland and forms one of the largest interconnected ecological networks of broadleaved habitat in the region. 

Gateshead Council
Councillor John McElroy

Gateshead CouncilLand 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 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 Glen Sanderson

Northumberland Country CouncilNorthumberland 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.
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 Rigby

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.

Community Representative Barry Tupper, Land of oak & Iron Executive Board member
Barry Tupper

Barry lives in Consett, after moving to the north east in 1986. He worked as Head of Health and Safety at Nissan until 2003, when he moved to Gateshead based occupational health provider IOH as MD until his retirement in 2014. Barry has represented the UK for 11 years on committees developing European health and safety legislation and machinery safety standards. He is a Fellow, past national Vice President and past Chair of the Tyne and Wear Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the world’s largest health and safety professional body.