AN oversized learning aid for children is being stocked at castles in the region.

The 4ft-high Very Big Book of Castles has been developed by English Heritage in partnership with local teachers.

The book is large enough to be viewed by a full class, and is available at seven North East castles -Barnard Castle, in County Durham, and Etal, Aydon, Norham, Warkworth, Dunstanburgh and Prudhoe, all in Northumberland.

The book contains information and activities that aim to help children learn about the castles they are visiting, how they were defended and what life was like inside.

English Heritage education officer David Walmsley said: "The Very Big Book is an extremely exciting venture for us, and initial feedback from families and school groups has been extremely positive.

"We have developed an innovative education tool that we very much hope will enhance the learning experience for youngsters by providing an enjoyable and interactive insight into the history of the North-East's most magnificent and treasured castles."

A free booklet for children about each castle is also available.