The Northumberland National Park Authority has announced their collaboration with the English Poet, Simon Armitage CBE

Together they have launched a digital treasure trail of spoken poems that are accessible from mobile devices at locations throughout the National Park.

‘Poems in the Air’ is a collection of six new poems by Simon which are inspired by serene hidden gems and secret places within England’s most tranquil park. Using the ‘Poems in the Air’ mobile app visitors can follow in Simon’s footsteps and listen to him reading his poems in the exact places that inspired them.

Unusually, Simon’s collection of poems will not be published or visualised in any way, they will only exist as voice recordings, and to experience them, visitors have to make their way to the specific location then activate the recording on a mobile phone or tablet.

The reward for making the effort is to hear the poem spoken by Simon in the very location it was written to create a unique moment which should feel intimate, personal, special, and private.

Simon spent time with National Park Rangers at their favourite places to explore ideal locations for the project.

Simon Armitage writing in Park

He said: “I was excited by the concept of poems that are not written down, and only exist within landscape. It was a simple idea aiming to combine poetry and the landscape to engage people with six places across the Park through the power of the spoken word.

“The concept appealed to me because in terms of the landscape it is very non-interventionist, relying on the invisible airwaves and whatever communication devices people happen to bring with them.

“The app technology offers a 21st century way of activating poetry in a very atmospheric setting with an element of discovery that encourages visitors to venture out, explore the landscape and be exposed to different ways of looking and thinking about it,” explains Simon.

‘Poems in the Air’ is part of Northumberland National Park’s rapidly developing arts and culture programme which is supported by Arts Council England and connected to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre at Hadrian’s Wall.

Simon at Weavers Cottage

The Sill, which is set to open in 2017, is a £14.8 million partnership project led by the National Park Authority and supported by a £7.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It will open up the landscape and surrounding areas to create more opportunities for people of all ages to explore the National Park and support the delivery of more than 1,000 unique events between 2017 and 2020.

The ‘Poems in the Air’ app contains all of the information, maps and directions needed to find each of the six locations that inspired Simon and span the length and breadth of the Park.

The app is available to download for free on both IOS and Android platforms. It was developed by Newcastle-based creative agency TAC Design Ltd.

The six locations featured are: 

  • Dove Crag in Harbottle is a rewarding woodland walk leading to a natural amphitheatre and a secret waterfall.
  • Shepherd’s Cairn at Ewartly Shank near Alnham is a little-known memorial to two shepherds lost in a blizzard.
  • Weaver’s Cottage in Stonehaugh is a tumbled down dwelling overlooking the pretty Warks Burn.
  • Riverside walk in Greenhaugh is a tranquil meander past hay meadows and through woodland to the Tarset Burn.
  • The Proposal Stone at Simonside is a site of poignant local history discovered on Simonside ridge.
  • Old Middleton near Wooler is an abandoned medieval village nestled into the landscape.

To find out more about ‘Poems in the Air’ and download the app go to or visit the Northumberland National Park website