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July Newsletter

What's On at the Land of Oak & Iron

Summer is here! We have so much planned to make this Summer full of fun and adventure for you and your family. Last month we hosted a range of successful events such as our Burger & Live Music evening, this time with the fabulous Northern Railroad Collective! We repeat this event with different artists throughout the summer on the last Friday of every month. We also hosted our Summer Meet the Maker Market. Thank you again to everyone who came along to support these incredible local businesses.

This month our Meet the Makers are; Print maker Kate Miller on 6th July and artist Rebecca Appleton on 20th July. Along with the range of Makers you will be able to meet at our Bark in the Park event! If you are interested in being a meet the maker at our Heritage Centre, please get in touch at We still have a few spots near Christmas!

Take a look at what is coming up in July and August!


Red Kite Weekender

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th July

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of red kites returning to northern skies at the Red Kite Weekender! 

This year marks 20 years since red kites were released into the lower Derwent Valley – to celebrate our fabulous red kites, we are partnering with Gateshead Arts Team to host a weekend of fun activities and live music at the Heritage Centre – 6th & 7th July.

A jam-packed weekend of making, creating, and celebrating red kites and the natural world. Across the weekend you can build a nest, craft cardboard wings, learn to fly, become a Red Kite Ranger and learn the "Bird Boogie"! Take part in our parades with a giant red kite puppet and more feathered friends.

Weekend highlights: Aerial hoop workshops, giant red kite puppet and feathered friends' parade, wing making workshops, clay nests, red kite kites and live music!


Acrylic Painting Course

Wednesday 10th July, 2pm-4pm

This course takes place every Wednesday for 4 weeks.

Experienced and friendly art tutor Kath will guide you from blank canvas to finished landscape artworks using demonstrations and individual assistance to improve your skills and confidence. 

The course is suitable for beginners and for those who have painted before and would like to learn more techniques or continue with their art projects.

Become part of this friendly painting course, learn how to paint and make new creative friends along the way.

Four week course costs £80, price includes tuition and a tea or coffee each week.

Places limited to 9 people to allow quality teaching and learning.


A Taste of Spain - Languages & Food!

Saturday 13th July, 6:30pm - 9pm

We're so excited to have CasaLingua with us at the Heritage Centre -  with an evening of fun, food and Spanish. Hola!

This fun and educational evening will not just introduce you to the Spanish language, but the flavours of Spain as well!

Join languages teacher Kim for this sociable evening of fun Spanish language activities, along with a delicious Spanish inspired meal and a glass of Sangria (or soft drink) on arrival.

Our Spanish inspired menu including a glass of sangria:

Starter: Pisto, a melody of Spanish flavours in savoury, traditional Spanish stew.

Main: A classic chicken Paella dish, featuring tender chicken, flavourful rice infused with aromatic spices, and a vibrant assortment of vegetables, we will also have a meat free paella available too (please let us know when booking).


Guided Bird Walk

Sunday 21st July, 9:30am - 11:30am

As we move through summer - it's a great time to enjoy the delights of bird watching in the lower Derwent Valley.

Grab a take away cuppa and start your day off with local ornithologist Michael Turner on the next of our popular guided bird walks through this rich and diverse landscape -  Michael will help you identify the many different bird species by sight and sound as we work our way through the seasons.

On returning to the Heritage Centre, why not treat yourself to brunch or a drink from our café as you chat about the birds spotted on your walk.

Tickets £9.50 per person. Booking Essential:


Woodnet, Restoring a Coppice Woodland

Wednesday 24th July

Join Living Woods North East for their Woodland Networking Day in Horsley Woods

“We are focusing on getting small woodlands into management and producing material to make products which can be sold in different markets to help to make this work sustainable.

Mark Shipperlee of Living Woods CIC will give a guided walk and talk of the woodland and he will discuss our methods, lessons learnt and the systems and networks that we are developing to strengthen the project.

Leo our coppice apprentice will talk about how he is collecting material and what he will be creating from besom brooms, charcoal and more. You will meet our volunteers and see how their contribution supports the success of the project.

This event is organised by Living Woods North East. Tickets £12, booking essential.


Calligraphy Workshop

Saturday 27th July, 10:30am- 12:30pm

Join calligraphy artist Chris Bowen for another of his fascinating workshops learning the art of Calligraphy.

For this workshop, Chris will be further exploring letter forms covered in his first Lindisfarne Gospels workshop, then adding colour and decoration to distinguish capital letters from the basic forms of Insular Half Uncials. Demonstrations using pencils and pen and ink.

This detailed workshop will continue with techniques and learning gained from his first Lindisfarne Gospels workshops - however, it is also suitable for those who have not had a go at calligraphy before as Chris will tailor the session for different levels and will be teaching a different lettering style this time around.

Tickets for the workshop are limited to allow quality teaching and 1:1 time with participants, so book soon to avoid missing out.

Tickets £28 including materials and a cup of tea or coffee.


Bark in the Park, Market and Dog Show

Saturday 24th August

Land of Oak & Iron is the perfect place to take your 4 legged friends for a walk – our Heritage Centre is dog friendly and we even have a doggie menu too!

To celebrate our 4 legged visitor friends, we are organising an event especially for them (and their human folk) with another Bark in the Park! It was such a great success last year – so we’re doing it all again!

Join us in and around the Courtyard for dog themed stalls and a fun dog show with different categories such as dog with the waggiest tail, dog most like their owner, favourite rescue dog, best in show and lots more!

Book your pooch into the show now – limited spaces in each category:


Sunday 25th August 10:00am- 1:00pm

Create your own beautiful foraging basket woven from locally grown willow.

Under the guidance of outdoor education leader and experienced basket maker Liz Beech (a member of the Northumbrian Basketry Group), you will learn how to twist and weave willow into a beautiful basket.

"I love to see the willow growing, then go through the harvesting and drying processes before preparing the willow for weaving.

From willow field to foraging basket and then back out to the field and hedgerow to forage - what could be more satisfying!"

Only 8 places available on this workshop to allow space and quality teaching. This workshop was fully booked really quickly last year, so book soon to avoid missing out.

Cost £45 including full instruction in a friendly small group, willow and a tea or coffee.


Bat Walk

Wednesday 28th August, 20:00 – 21:40

Our bat walks last year were such a great evening event and were fully booked - so we're hosting another one this year - book soon as the places for this one will go quickly!

Join the Northumberland Bat Group for this exciting evening discovering bats in the Land of Oak & Iron!

The sun is starting to set a little earlier in August, so it’s a great time to invite people on a bat walk in the beautiful lower Derwent Valley, setting off from the Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre.

The walk will start just as the sun starts to set - it's the best time for us to discover bats as they don't start flying until the sun has gone down, plus it's a lovely time of day too.

Northumberland Bat Group will provide bat detectors for you to use, so that you can hear the bats as they fly past and they will also help to identify which species of bats are in the area.

The walk will last 1.5 – 2 hours. Walking will be on paths but may involve some steps or uneven ground.

If you have mobility requirements, then please let us know, we can always walk a route that is more wheelchair friendly!

Booking essential.  Tickets £10 per person with proceeds going to the Northumberland Bat Group and our charity Groundwork NE & Cumbria.


Friends of Red Kite Family Fun Day

Thursday 29th August

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary since the first red kites were released in the lower Derwent Valley, we are continuing the Red Kite celebrations into August with the Friends of Red Kites.

After a friendly welcome about red kites, there will be face-painting, red kite mask making, a fun quiz, drawing activity, badge making and name your own red kite!

All the activities are free, but donations are welcome to support the work of FoRK.

Why not become a member too—find out more on the day.


Dog of the Month

This months Dog of the Month is... Vernon!

We think he deserves dog of the month as he is a fully trained assistant dog, who loved his walk to the Land of Oak & Iron!

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