Coquet Island, Amble, Northumberland
NECT was inspired in 2008 to develop a pilot umbrella project to tackle several complex ‘Heritage at Risk’ cases in Northumberland. The resulting Trowels to the Rescue project examined the status of the remains of Newminster Abbey in Morpeth, the Monastic Cell on Coquet Island, Little Swinburne Tower, a bastle at Evistones and at Ray, and Simonburn Castle. All were on English Heritage's Heritage at Risk list. All six case studies were unoccupied at the time of inspection, and the initial conclusion of research was that only Coquet Island provided the right conditions for re-use. Indeed, there was strong agreement that the long-term future of the Scheduled Monument could only be guaranteed if the cottage next to the Monastic Cell could be re-occupied.
By 2012 funding for the restoration work had been granted through English Heritage and the partner organisations - Trinity House, Northumberland Estates and the RSPB and work commenced on site - when tide and the constraints of the resident nesting birds permitted. This proved to be quite a challenge but due to the perseverance and enthusiasm of the whole project team the scheme was successfully achieved.