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NEWS RELEASE No: 1353328 APRIL 2010

Transport of delight in Kielder Water & Forest Park!

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old coach at kielder with driver

Visitors heading for Kielder Water & Forest Park are being given the chance to arrive in true vintage style!

The Forestry Commission and Bellingham Heritage Centre have teamed up to lay on two 1940s and 1950s buses to take people for free from Bellingham and Newcastleton into the spectacular Border wilderness for a classic vehicle rally on Sunday 9 May.

So far over 140 exhibitors have signed up for the event, based at 18th century Kielder Castle – representing all aspects of motorised transport, from throaty engined motorbikes guaranteed to get Granddad’s pulse racing to stylish cars of yesteryear and even tractors.

Alex MacLennan, Recreation, Tourism and Communities Manager with the Forestry Commission, said:

“The event has become really popular and this year we wanted to do something a bit different. So we thought why not strike a green note and provide transport in the shape of two fabulously restored vintage buses? Once they transported folk out of the crowded towns and cities for a day in the countryside and it’s a tradition we are thrilled to revive.”

One of the buses is owned by self-confessed coach addict Derek Thompson, from Longframlington, a member of Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society. As a student back in the 1960s he made daily bus trips between his Alnwick home and college in Newcastle. But while that may have been a chore for some, Derek became fascinated by his mode of transport!

He said:

“I began to find coaches and buses really engrossing and when I had to give up work early due to a bad car crash, restoring old vehicles became even more of a passion. I’ve got three vintage buses, with the one I’m using at Kielder taking three years of hard work to get road worthy after I rescued it from a Berwick scrap yard. It dates back to 1956 and it's a very nice runner, but fuel economy isn’t a strong point!”

Places are limited on the vintage buses and booking is required. The Newcastleton service departs from the Grapes Hotel at 10am and returns at 2pm. Ring 01387 375245. The Bellingham shuttle runs from the local Heritage Centre at 10am and 12.30pm, returning at 1.30pm and 3pm. Bookings on 01434 220616.

This year's rally has been organised by Wesley Turnbull, from Bellingham, a retired Jumbo jet flight engineer. Other highlights include BSA Gold Star and Bantam motorbikes and a 1942 Standard Fordson Tractor. People want to bring along their own classic vehicle can still do so providing they register by 30 April Contact Wesley on 07800 853475.

The event runs from 10.30am to 4pm and entry is free. For further details contact Kielder Castle Visitor Centre on 01434 250209, or go to

Kielder Water & Forest Park is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. It was recently voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.


The Kielder Partnership is a public, voluntary and private sector collaboration working to develop Kielder Water & Forest Park as an inspirational place for leisure, exploration and fun. Partners are the Calvert Trust Kielder, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water, plus representation from community groups. The Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an associate member.

Richard Darn (Forestry Commission) on 01226 246351. Mobile 0775 367 0038.