‘Birds of the Wansbeck Valley’, by John Caffrey

In December 2016, John Caffrey a proud Morpethian and a passionate Environment Group volunteer sadly passed away. He possessed an amazing understanding of the town’s environment, and was a major contributor to the Castle, Woods & Water (CW&W) project and many other Trust activities.

John’s particular skills, apart from an encyclopaedic knowledge of Morpeth and wildlife, were ornithology and art. His outstanding artwork, which can be seen on many of the interpretative signs around the town, also saw his original paintings ‘Birds of Thoreau Country’ exhibited in the “Lit & Phil” library in Newcastle in May 2017. His artistic ability was renowned not only locally, but as far afield as the USA where his work won awards.

Closer to home was his series of original watercolours ‘Birds of the Wansbeck Valley’ celebrating our local natural heritage. These are illustrated below:

Bullfinch Goldcrest Goldfinch

These have been reproduced as high quality printed cards (inside blank for your own message), which can be purchased through our website Shop as a full set of 6 cards with envelopes.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Redpoll Wren

A stroll with John through any wood, along the Wansbeck, or burns and fields which punctuate the town was a real treat, with every birdcall and rare plants and trees immediately identified.

Artist, John Caffrey: “It has been a pleasure to participate in GMDT projects especially Signage and Interpretation working closely with team colleagues to produce quality material. These projects have been GMDT led on behalf of Morpeth and its surrounding environment, and they have made a difference!”



former GMDT Chair, Doug Phillips: “I attended a Bird of Prey photography class and showed the photos to John, who described each picture and provided a detailed commentary about the birds’ characteristics, and many Morpeth sightings.”