Haydon Bridge Churches

Project Summary

Haydon Bridge was unusual within the Inspired Futures project in that it incorporates two churches set in very different contexts: the 18th century and later St Cuthbert’s is located in the heart of the town, while the Old Church occupies a remote but beautiful and romantic location above the town and overlooking the Tyne valley. Both have churchyards, and the setting of the Old Church (together with ancient yews which occupy the churchyard) gives that churchyard a very special ‘feel’.

The challenge at the outset was to chart how (and if) these two churches could effectively combine in specific roles which supported one another and improved the sustainability and future prospects of both sites against the particular challenges that Haydon Bridge as a whole faces.

Very strong progress has been made towards realizing this goal. Although there was some concern at the outset that Haydon Bridge had not achieved Group 1 status within the project, the subsequent development of a clear vision document, a strong consultation process, the framing of the ‘landscape of faith’ heritage agenda and the specific development of fundraising and building design outputs (St Cuthbert’s) with timescales attached, have all strongly advanced Haydon Bridge’s current situation.

The Haydon Bridge team – led by the incumbent and the Churchwardens – have been enthusiastic participants in the Inspired Futures training programme, and have also contributed to events such as the Durham conference. While there is still a way to go in delivering the development objectives they have now defined, Haydon Bridge has the potential to be an exemplar of church sustainability in a small rural market town context.  Through the project the Haydon Bridge churches have secured:

  • A Way Forward report
  • A clear Vison and Development Plan
  • A well developed ‘Landscpe of Faith’ heritage interpretation concept
  • A concept design proposal for re-ordering and facilities development at St Cuthbert’s
  • Seed funding linked to a successful Headley Trust application
  • A phased fundraising plan incorporating the replacement of the roof on the Old Church and facilities development at St Cuthbert’s
  • Consultation and partnership development with the wider community and with potential partners including the National Park
  • Heritage Interpretation and pop up welcome display
  • Capacity building and skills development through the development project.

Project documents