Will Nicholls is a Northumberland-based photographer who this month won the RSPCA’s Young Photographer of the Year award. Will, 16, submitted his photo of a red squirrel taken at dusk in Kielder Forest. He received the award in London. In 2009 he won Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year and was highly commended in 2010. Will is completing his A levels at Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School and hopes to study zoology at Bristol University.
Will gives some tips on what to see and where to go in Northumberland, and reveals its best kept secrets.
How long have you lived and worked in Northumberland?: I’ve lived in Northumberland since 2006, taking up photography in September 2007. We moved from Newcastle to the countryside, and the huge variety of wildlife on my doorstep inspired me and sparked off my interest in the planet’s diversity.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: The beautiful woodlands and moorlands. They hold so many different species, many of which you just walk or drive straight past without noticing. Once you are keeping your eyes peeled, you can see so much more!
What is your favourite Northumberland beauty spot?: Just out of Haydon Bridge where I live is my favourite area. I know it very well now, and there are so many hidden secrets around the area that I keep discovering. Even such a small area holds a huge amount of wildlife, we are even lucky enough to still have red squirrels. They’ll sit above you in the trees, “chucking” angrily at you and bouncing around the branches.
Tell us about your favourite view/walk/cycle route/town/night spot?: My favourite view would have to be off the top of Hadrian’s Wall near Steel Rigg, looking out over the lough. It is so beautiful, especially in the winter when you have to wade though several feet of snow!
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland wouldn’t becomplete without . .?: Visiting Kielder Forest. This is a gorgeous area and superb for walking and seeing wildlife. As one of the last strongholds in England for red squirrels, you cannot go to Northumberland without at least trying to see one! They really are such characters.
Is locally produced Northumbrian food the best?: Yes! At home we often eat local produce from the small farm shops around the area. Much better than the supermarket-bought foods if you choose correctly I think.
Northumbrians are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness? There is a really sense of community in Northumberland, and I think that is key to making tourists feel welcome and at home in our county.
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets