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Property for sale in Northumberland

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The local area guide to living in Northumberland

Northumberland is England's most north easterly county, right on the border with Scotland. It is beside Cumbria in the west and County Durham to the south.

Northumberland used to be part of the Roman Empire and has been the site of hundreds of border conflicts between the north and south over the centuries. As a result, it was heavily fortified and has more castles than any other county in the country. It is also known as the 'cradle of Christianity', with the island of Lindisfarne being one of the earliest places in Britain to house Christian converts.

As well as this, Northumberland has a history of rebelliousness. The Rising of the North in 1569 under the reign of Elizabeth I happened in Northumberland led by the infamous Percy family. Later, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution with coal mines opening up across the county and employing large numbers of local men until the 1970s and 1980s.

For many centuries it was a wild county, full of raiders and outlaws, but you wouldn't be able to tell today. It is a highly rural county and the least densely-populated county in England. It has some fantastically rugged and beautiful landscapes and has attracted plenty of tourism because of that.

Information about the local residents

There are 316,028 people living in Northumberland as of the 2011 census, up from 307,190 in 2001. As a rural county, there are only 62 people per square kilometer, and like other northern counties, it has a very small number of ethnic minorities at 0.985% of the population, which compares to just over 9% for the rest of the country.

The mean age for Northumberland is above the national average by nearly 4 years at 42.8, while the median age is 45. More than 20% of people are of pensionable age, while just around 16% are children under the age of 16.

A third of households in Northumberland are owner occupied, while another third are owned with a mortgage, putting property ownership above the national average. 11.7% of households are privately rented, while nearly 20% are used as social housing.

Like much of the rest of the north, Northumberland's social grade classifications are lower than the national averages. 19.4% of people are classified as AB which compares to 22.9% for England, and 29.7% are C1 which is less than the 30.9% for England. 3.8% of the population claim Jobseeker's Allowance, a little higher than the 3.3% for the country as a whole.

Nearby schools

Northumberland's state school system is entirely comprehensive. There are 15 state secondary schools, two academies and one private school in the county. It is known for adopting a three tier system of lower, middle and upper schools and hence has had very large school year sizes. For example, Cramlington Learning Village has nearly 400 pupils in each school year, making it one of the largest in the country.

There is one Catholic secondary school, St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy, which has around 900 students. It is the only school in the UK that has set up its own social enterprise business.

Those living close to Newcastle often send their children to schools there, including the independent Royal Grammar School.

Getting around

Northumberland is a large county with variable modes and quality of transport throughout its towns and villages.

One of the primary trunk roads, running north to south, is the A1, which offers fast access to Newcastle upon Tyne from the county town of Alnwick. To the north, it runs 80 miles to Edinburgh.

The East Coast railway line offers direct links to Edinburgh (which takes just over an hour from Alnwick) and even to London (a 3 hour 45 minute journey). For flights, Newcastle Airport is the most convenient, with regular flights to both domestic and European destinations.

Local shops

Within the county, the main shopping towns are Alnwick and Morpeth. Alnwick's shopping area is split into three streets: Market Street, Fenkle Street, and Bondgate Within. The later was recently voted Britain's best street for shopping and has a fantastic selection of famous brands and independent stores.

In Morpeth, Bridge Street is the main shopping destination and includes a department store, Rutherfords, which has been trading since 1846. Other places to find independent retailers are Newgate Street and Oldgate.


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