Answering to the Call of Nature; New Reserves Attract Local Support

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Byline: By Tony Henderson Environment Editor

THERE was a major boost for nature on Tyneside yesterday when plans for four new nature reserves were agreed.

Gateshead Council's cabinet approved four new Local Nature Reserves and also an extension to a fifth, a move that will more than triple the land in the town devoted to nature reserves.

Gateshead currently has nine reserves, and yesterday plans were backed for new provision at Blaydon, Whickham, Windy Nook and the Derwent Valley.

A council spokesman said: "This is a very substantial increase in the area devoted to Local Nature Reserves and will make a big difference."

The new reserves are headed by Blaydon and Barlow Burn, including Blaydon Bank Quarry.

Blaydon Burn is a steep wooded valley flanked by meadows with a rich history of industrial development that has left it with many archaeological features.

There is an active local support group, The Friends of Blaydon Burn, and the site is now being used as an educational resource.

Blaydon Bank Quarry is an area of scrub land over a sandstone quarry used for informal recreation. The quarry faces are exposed, a rarity in Gateshead, providing geological interest and an important habitat for ferns.

Barlow Burn is an area of wet woodland, scrub, grassland and wetlands providing a mosaic of habitats extending directly south of Blaydon Burn. …