Source of the river Tyne traced and marked

02 October 2013

The source of the River Tyne has been identified as lying on a remote Northumberland farm – and huge stone carved obelisks are set to honour it.

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and cancer charity, Daft as a Brush are working together with local artist Gilbert Ward, to create a sculpture to mark the source of the North Tyne River, found on Jimmy and Fiona Hall’s Deadwater Farm, north of Kielder village.

The marker, made up of two four-meter high stones which weigh over five tonnes each, will be airlifted in to place by an RAF Chinook helicopter next week. (Tuesday, October 8, 2013.)

Reporters and photographers are invited to witness the monumental moment. (Details below)

The huge sandstone blocks, donated by Border Stone Quarries in Haltwhistle, will mark the start and end point for a new walking trail which will run from the source of the North Tyne at Deadwater, to the sea at Tynemouth.

The award-winning Kielder Water & Forest Park, which the walk will pass through, has become the largest open air art and architecture gallery in the country thanks to its long running Art & Architecture programme.

Peter Sharpe, Art & Architecture Curator, said: “Our art and architecture programme will be managing the design works and installation of this imposing sculpture by local artist and stonemason Gilbert Ward.

“The sculpture will reflect the rugged nature of the site using two massive sandstone blocks that have been quarried downriver near Wark to create a visually arresting marker that will indicate the North Tyne’s source for hundreds of years to come.”

The source of the Tyne was identified using local knowledge and monitoring springs throughout the dry months to see which one kept flowing. The only spring which has never dried up is the spring in Jimmy and Fiona Hall’s farm at Deadwater. Once the landmark is in place there, the Forestry Commission will adopt care of it.

Funding for the project is being led by Northumbrian Water, with additional funding from Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Northumberland County Council.

Elisabeth Rowark, Director of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “This has been a true partnership project from Daft as a Brush founder, Brian Burnie’s brilliant idea of making something of the walk and marking the source of the North Tyne, through to the airlift from the RAF.

“The Environment Agency helped to pin point the exact source of the North Tyne and Jimmy Hall’s local knowledge helped to find the right position for the obelisks. Cundall’s (Civil Engineers) designed the foundations and the Forestry Commission have provided their expert advice throughout and will look after the sculpture in perpetuity.

“The Lakeside Way at Kielder will be a superb part of the whole walking trail and we were keen to contribute to this art project marking the source of such an iconic river.”

Jonty Hall, son of Mr and Mrs Hall, who was brought up on the farm, has lived in the area all his life. He said: “Something as important as the source of the Tyne should have a landmark. It’s been there all these years without any recognition and people used to come in to the farm to try and find it. Now that there is something there to mark it, visitors to the region can see exactly where it all begins and follow it right the way to the sea.”

Brian Burnie, founder of Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, established the walk after a 150-mile trek last year from the sources of the South and North Tyne to the sea at Tynemouth and South Shields, to highlight the work of the cancer charity.

Media information

When: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 (weather permitting). (Due to the inaccessibility of the site, public access will be difficult so please omit dates and times in publication prior to the airlift)

Time: Between 10.00am – 3:30pm. Please contact if you wish to attend and you will receive confirmation of more precise timing closer to the date.

Where: Deadwater Farm, Deadwater, Kielder, Northumberland, NE48 1EW

Available for interview: Peter Sharpe, Art & Architecture Curator at Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust. Jonty Hall, son of Fiona and Jimmy Hall, and Guest Services Manager (Operations) at Leaplish Waterside Park.
Brian Burnie, founder of Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care charity.

Available: Footage and stills of the RAF Chinook helicopter flying the two stones on to site.

Please note, there is limited mobile phone signal at Kielder. To contact the PR team on the day please call Leaplish Waterside Park on 01434 251 000.

For more information contact Janine Scott, Communications Advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538 or

Kielder Water and Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was awarded the number one tourism experience in England by Visit England 2013, and the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information see

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.

Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

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