Local author Val Scully lives in Blaydon and has been involved with the Land of Oak & Iron project since its inception. She published her first book, Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, in 2012.
When the Land of Oak & Iron project came along, she quickly became fascinated by the social history of the whole valley and set up the Land of Oak & Iron Local History Portal. In 2018, she published Molly Bowes, using a fictional character to tell the C19th history of this special place.
With other members of the Land of Oak & Iron Trust, Val produced a new edition of Men of Iron and Tales of Derwentdale, for which she wrote a biography of J.W.Fawcett. Her latest book, A People's History of Gibside, was published in May 2021.