Neil Bradbury is a Northumberland County Councillor and represents Prudhoe West. He is the Executive Member for Customer Services and Culture, which includes tourism. In the last election Neil was the Liberal Democrat prospective Parliamentary candidate for Blaydon constituency.
Outside of politics he is a manager at a Citizens Advice Bureau in County Durham, and is a non-executive director on Northumberland Care Trust.
In this interview Neil explains his love for his adopted home, tells of his favourite places and even reveals some of Northumberland’s best kept secrets.
How long have you lived in Northumberland?: I moved up to the North East to study at university and have never left! I moved to Prudhoe 11 years ago. As a child I had many family holidays up here and have always loved the county.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: The beauty and variety of landscapes – you really can get away from it all but you are really close to lots of attractions.
What’s your favourite Northumberland beauty spot?: It’s a predictable choice but the sun rising over the vast sandy beach at Embleton takes your breath away.
Tell us about your favourite view/walk/cycle route/town/nightspot: A walk that I love and do very regularly is along the Tyne Country Park. The route from Prudhoe Station to Wylam station is flat and a lovely stretch of the river, with various things to see along the way including the Spetchels Site of Special Scientific Interest, seeing the fly fishermen in the river and the beautiful Hagg Bank bridge.
There’s a great pub at both ends (the Bridge End Inn in Ovingham and the Boathouse in Wylam) and you can either hop on the train to get back to the start or if you get second wind, walk on to Newburn, where the river widens and there is another great real ale pub, the Keelman. A great Sunday walk.
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without….?: If the night is reasonably clear, there is nowhere better to get a feel for the majesty and tranquility of Northumberland than to drive up to Kielder as the sun sets over Kielder Water and go to a talk at the Kielder Observatory.
The building is an award-winning sustainable building and you will see more stars than anywhere else in England. It really is special and a hidden gem.
Is locally produced Northumbrian/Borders food the best?: The quality of food and drink in Northumberland is amazing. There are some amazing pubs and restaurants, but the beef from the North Acomb farm shop and my friend Phillip Lathams Riding Mill honey takes some beating – not at the same time of course!
Do you have a preferred place to eat out in the county and why?: I love the Feathers Inn in Hedley on the Hill. Rhian Cradock has turned a very good pub into the 2011 winners of the Great British Pub and the Great British Gastropub. It’s very popular these days so book ahead. The Bouchon Bistrot in Hexham is also very good and is a slice of rural French cooking.
Northumbrians and people from The Scottish Borders are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness?: We are a friendly bunch. I think it is becasue we are all so proud of this wonderfull area and want everyone to leave with the same impression.
Coast or country?: Both, but I would say country if I had to choose.
Your favourite historical site?: I am biased but I would have to say Prudhoe Castle. Built in the 12th century, it is the only castle in Northumberland that has never fallen to the Scots. It’s only open in the summer so people will have to wait to enjoy it.
And the best road to take a leisurely and scenic drive along?: The A686 from Haydon Bridge to Alston is one of the most stunning roads in the country. It’s quiet and is a great road to drive, although like many roads in Northumberland, I would advise people to slow down and enjoy the view.
What would be your perfect day out in Northumberland?: A trip to my friend’s bungalow on Embleton Bay in the summer and a barbeque on the beach as the sun sets.
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets