Hebburn wildlife retreat gets a £20,000 boost

GOING GREEN ... From left, Groundwork apprentice Dale Bell, Johnny Robb, Groundwork landscape operative, Ernie Henderson, Groundwork landscape operative, Conrad Hallam and Steven Robson, who are both on placements with Groundwork, and Groundwork ranger Jed Tubman.
GOING GREEN ... From left, Groundwork apprentice Dale Bell, Johnny Robb, Groundwork landscape operative, Ernie Henderson, Groundwork landscape operative, Conrad Hallam and Steven Robson, who are both on placements with Groundwork, and Groundwork ranger Jed Tubman.

PEOPLE can get back to nature at a South Tyneside wildlife retreat thanks to a £20,000 investment.

A dedicated ‘green team’ has helped improve the Monkton Community Woodland, in Hebburn.

The vision is to create a site that is a valuable resource for health and recreation, whilst maximising the wildlife present.

Alene Lee, Groundwork’s green and healthy places manager

Access to the 10-hectare site has been dramatically improved with the completion of 470 metres of new trails and a seven-space car park.

The year-long project has been undertaken by staff and volunteers from communities’ charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN) in partnership with the Land Trust, which owns the land.

Along with the car park, new gates have also been installed at the main pedestrian access point off Mill Lane, as part of the Forestry Commission Woodland Improvement Grant scheme.

It will be completed later this year when interpretation panels detailing the industrial past of the former Monkton cokeworks site, its current use with potential wildlife to look out for and a map, are installed.

The work aims to encourage more visitors, including those from schools, businesses and community groups, and to enhance the woodland’s potential as a habitat for wildlife.

Alene Lee, Groundwork’s green and healthy places manager, said: “The vision is to create a site that is a valuable resource for health and recreation, whilst maximising the wildlife present.

“People previously parked by the roadside or next to pedestrian entrances – access is now a lot safer and easier thanks to the car park, which has two disabled access bays.

“And the new wood chipped trails, which meander through the woodland, allow young and old to explore all it has to offer.”

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