A PROJECT has been launched in an effort to ensure Teesdale gets a slice of the action when the Lindisfarne Gospels come to County Durham.

The exquisitely decorated mediaeval manuscript, which dates from about 700AD, will be in the library on Palace Green, Durham, from July 1 to September 30.

Organisers in Teesdale are hoping some of the thousands of visitors expected to flock to see the gospels will extend their stay by either basing themselves in the dale or visiting the area during their stay.

There are three parts to the project, which is being supported by the Teesdale Action Partnership, the Witham, Radio Teesdale, Durham County Record Office and local churches.

Firstly, accommodation providers are being asked to get involved. Those who come forward will be supplied with information about the gospels to give to guests, while visitors to Durham will be given details of places to stay in Teesdale.

Secondly, a major event showcasing the work of arts and craftspeople is planned.

A meeting to discuss this part of the project will take place at the NeST Gallery, Newgate, Barnard Castle, on Friday, February 15, starting at 10.30am.

The final part of the project is the development of a Timeless Teesdale Driving Tour, linking villages such as Escomb, Hamsterley, Romaldkirk and Cotherstone, where traces of the dale's Anglo-Saxon past can still be found.

Caroline Peacock, who is helping to co-ordinate the project, said it was very much a two-way initiative between the Teesdale group and the gospels exhibition.

“We are hoping to stage a large selling exhibition of arts and crafts by producers not just from Teesdale but also Weardale and Bishop Auckland at some point during the gospels' visit.

“At the meeting on Friday, we are hoping to identify people in the arts and crafts community who can help take this forward.”

Mrs Peacock said work was already under way to develop the driving tour.

“There are lots of villages with Anglo-Saxon connections and the Teesdale landscape must be one of the most timeless in the county.

“It would be good to invite visitors to base themselves in Teesdale, explore it and to learn a bit more about it.”

For further information about the any aspect of the Teesdale project to coincide with the Lindisfarne Gospels' visit, contact Caroline at peacock@ravensford.eclipse.co.uk or Katy Taylor at katy@thewitham.org.uk.