Alston Moor Partnership

- living and working together in the highest community in England

Alston Moor Draft Marketing Strategy


1) Introduction

This marketing strategy has been produced by Alston Moor Partnertship (AMP) in collaboration with Alston Moor Business Association (AMBA), Alston Moor Parish Council, Alston Local Links, North Pennines AONB Partnership, and Eden District Council.

The overall aim of the strategy is to improve the quality of life on Alston Moor and above all to ensure a sustainable future for our local community.

The strategy sets out to fulfil and expand upon some of the Alston Moor 2012 -16 Community Plan actions relating to the economy, local facilities, communications and the environment, and to incorporate a range of ideas and proposals which have since evolved.

2) Background

The parish of Alston Moor is remote and the majority of the land is high in altitude, over 1,000 feet above sea level, resulting in a harsh climate.
Although remote , the parish is centrally situated at the hub of five trans-Pennine routes in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB. The area is also a designated Geopark due to the outstanding geology of the area.
In fact the geology of the area has shaped:
- our landscape, habitats, and wildlife (AONB & Geopark)
- our history, where mineral extraction played a central role, leaving a legacy of rich industrial heritage and our distinctive “miner farmer” landscape
- our buildings (traditional stone walls and flag roofs)
These are all important aspects of the character of Alston Moor today,

The relative remoteness and isolated population have resulted in Alston Moor having a wide range of services for the size of population. However, these shops and services are constantly under threat as they rely on such a small catchment population to support them, and therefore a well developed tourist industry is essential to help sustain our shops and services. We also need to attract new businesses & new residents in order to maintain their long-term viability.
In order to effectively market the area we need a co-ordinated strategy.

3) The Strategy

An effective strategy should have a co-ordinated vision to create the “feel” of the place, based upon an understanding of what makes Alston Moor special: the sense of adventure, of a magical place to escape to and explore….

The proposals seek to maximise the key assets identified in Appendix 1 and 6:
- Landscape (ie: discovering wildlife, flora, geology, walking, cycling and other outdoor activities)
- Heritage (from Roman history, industrial landscapes and vernacular buildings to our rich transport heritage)
- Culture (past and present – strong community of artists, craftspeople, musicians, writers all inspired by the landscape).

The strategy sets out proposals for:
- better co-ordination of marketing activity
- addressing weaknesses in our visitor infrastructure by improving our “offer”: improving the visitor welcome, visitor information, and encouraging environmental improvements
- developing events and activities to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for residents
- promotional activities: develop options for “branding”, promotional leaflet, visitor website, use of social media, promoting local businesses.
- Further promotional activities for future consideration: welcome packs with information for potential residents and businesses, bedroom browsers, press visits.

4) The vision:

In a nutshell Alston Moor is somewhere to escape to:
Whatever the visitors’ particular interest, the attractive routes from all directions, with the contrast of travelling along tranquil green valleys and over majestic high moorland, create a dramatic entry to Alston Moor and help define this sense of escapism, and a sense of adventure. The journey to get here from whatever direction, helps to create a feeling of anticipation, approaching somewhere special, and when they get here whether it’s Alston’s cobbled main street and old stone buildings, or Garrigill’s peaceful village green, visitors have a sense of stepping back in time, away from the fast pace of modern living. There is also plenty of space and fresh air. This makes Alston Moor an ideal destination to “get away from it all” to wind down and relax. The sense of adventure also beckons people to explore, so at the end of their stay visitors can go away feeling that they have “recharged their batteries”.

Three words: escape, adventure, explore…. Can we do something with these to help create the idea of a magical place you must come and explore…. With great landscape, great history, great (and alternative) culture….and a great place to go walking and cycling and to watch wildlife.

5) The Action Plan:

The action plan should go some way towards developing the sense of place and belonging that is unique to our community, building on what we already have and bringing people together to support each other in these increasingly difficult times.
The vision behind the Action Plan is to ensure that any promotional material will convey that sense of place, and specific groups will be set up to assist coordination and organise events programmes. Visitor infrastructure will be improved and the environment will be enhanced for the benefit of both local residents and visitors. Whilst the Action Plan is visitor orientated, the longer term aim is to attract not only more visitors but also more residents and businesses to sustain our local economy.
 Summary of priorities for year 1 (see Action Plan for more detail): 
¬ Consult on options for branding/logos/straplines (Alston Moor Business Association)
¬ New Alston Moor promotional leaflet
¬ New information panels in car-parks to aid visitor orientation
¬ Set up Town Team Action Group and Marketing Forum to aid coordination, consultation and networking
¬ Start image bank to encourage good quality photographs in promotional literature, free to local businesses and organisations
¬ Support new initiatives that potentially benefit the local economy, eg French Film Festival (Alston Moor Film), Blooming Alston/Get Your Bloomers Out (Alston Moor Business Association)
¬ Support local initiatives to create themed displays in empty shops (examples are to promote our: monthly market, creative community, rich heritage, walking and wildlife)
¬ Achieve Walkers are Welcome status for Alston Moor
¬ Improve Alston Moor web presence on existing stakeholder web-sites
¬ explore options for funding to develop and maintain a specific Alston Moor visitor website

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