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Friends of Jesmond Dene Newsletter Autumn 2011

Number 69

Reg Charity no: 702260 Web Site Address: http//www.jesmonddene.org.uk Postal address: ‘Friends of Jesmond Dene’, c/o Shillito, 47 Salisbury Gardens, Jesmond, NE2 1HP

Editorial The end of the long running “Donkey Field” saga is at last looking in sight. As reported in early August by the local media, an inspector for the Lands’ Tribunal has overturned the decision of Newcastle City Council in favour of the four footpaths’ claim by the Friends of Jesmond Dene. The land owner now has until 12 October 2011 to appeal. Our current Chairman updates the detail on page 4, but whatever the final outcome, thanks must go to our previous long standing Chairman, Robert Wooster, for keeping the claim going with the City Council for over a decade of obstruction in more ways than one. The Committee has again decided to combine with the Rangers for a Sunday afternoon preChristmas event entitled Family Festive Fun, instead of holding our evening entertainment and refreshments event as we used to do. Booking is not required and we hope as many members of the Friends as possible will drop in to the Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre at Millfield House. This newsletter’s events listing contains a particularly varied and interesting sounding programme on offer from the Rangers, the Volunteers, the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust and also from William Armstrong’s biographer – Henrietta Heald. Many of these events are made possible (or better) by the excellent new facilities provided by the lottery funds. Anna Newson Newsletter Editor

Nature Area Project Membership Subscriptions 2011 If a renewal slip is included in your newsletter, please respond to:Membership Secretary, Kathleen Shillito, 47 Salisbury Gardens, Jesmond, NE2 1HP. Cheques to be made out to the Friends of Jesmond Dene and bankers order forms are available from the Membership Secretary. Many thanks, as always, to all the Friends who pay promptly each year, with an especially big thank you to the many members who include a donation. It is all much appreciated and put to good use in the Dene.

Friends of Jesmond Dene Events 2011 - 2012 Christmas Social, Sunday 18 December, 1 - 3.30 pm, Family Festive Fun. Education Classroom Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre. A joint event with the Volunteers, Friends of Jesmond Dene and the Rangers . Come and try your hand at making some simple Christmas decorations from natural and recycled materials. There will be music, light refreshments, tombola and raffles. This is a drop in event. For more information contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082. AGM, followed by a talk, on Sunday 6 May 2012, Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene, 2.30 pm.


The Nature Area Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and under construction by the Jesmond Dene Volunteer Rangers, is continuing to progress very well and we are confident that the official opening will be at the end of May 2012. The outdoor shelter is now complete and the Volunteers are busy fitting it out with work benches. Gutters have been used to capture the rainfall which is stored in water butts by the side of the shelter. This rainwater is ideal for washing out plastic equipment used in ‘pond dipping events’, for watering the newly planted shrubs and for topping up the ponds after prolonged bouts of dry weather. The weather station has been erected and is up and working; information is transmitted across to the Visitor Centre which will provide useful data for the Rangers and educational groups in the coming months. We have planted several different varieties of fruit bushes within the area, to provide a source of nutrition for birds, wildlife and insects, but also to demonstrate to the public how easy it can be to grow your own food. Species include raspberry, red and blackcurrant, gooseberry and strawberry. The photo below shows the Volunteer Rangers busy digging these shrubs in place.

Weed suppressing material was used and then the whole bed covered by wood chippings. In a similar fashion we have also planted a ‘sensory border’ alongside the fence. This includes lavender, sage and thyme and already smells delightful. All the pathways have been completed and these are suitable for wheelchair use; they clearly show the distinctive layout of the Nature Area. Several bird boxes have been fixed into place and we hope that during the springtime some of the many different varieties of bird will choose to make their home in our boxes. Yvonne Shannon Jesmond Dene Volunteer Ranger

Jesmond Dene Bat Project

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Although we have done numerous bat walks in the Dene since 2006, the aim of these has been to get local people interested in bats, not official surveys. This year, with the help of volunteers and local bat worker Tina Wiffen, we have undertaken some more formal surveying. We can use several means to help us identify bats, for example - flight pattern, frequency at which they echo-locate and habitat where they are found, but sometimes it is not possible to identify the exact species. The aim of the project was to catch bats whilst foraging and then identify the species once they were in the hand. The project, under licence from Natural England, used a harp trap (a specially designed trap for catching bats) and mist nets, to catch bats foraging along known flight lines. We caught ten bats in total over four nights; six of these were common pipestrelles, and the other four were Daubenton’s. Prior to these surveys, we believed we had these two species in the Dene, so it was great to have it confirmed. We also heard noctules flying overhead on our last evening. We hope to do some more surveys next year, so please get in touch if you would like to be involved and look out for our bat walks in May and September next year. Sarah Capes Ranger

Bees on the Roof We have some new residents at the visitor centre – 20,000 honey bees, or thereabouts. Three staff and one volunteer all attended a bee-keeping course earlier in the year and will together be looking after our new colony of bees. In July we had a slightly nervous journey back from Stocksfield with the hive, but all went well and the bees seem to have settled in. We have been watching them fly in and out of the hive, bringing in a variety of pollen on their legs. We have been observing them throughout the summer months to make sure they are healthy and to check they are not going to swarm. Despite the rain they seem very active and after only one week they had already made honey on some of the frames within the hive. I’m afraid there won’t be any Jesmond Dene honey this year though, as we’ll be leaving it for the bees to keep them well fed during their first winter with us. Rebecca Morgan Education and Interpretation Officer

Donkey Field Rights of Way The saga has been going on now for almost eleven years and finally it seems it may soon be coming to an end: let us hope so. On 19 July 2011, the Planning Inspectorate made its decision 3


concerning the Friends’ appeal against Newcastle City Council's rejection of our application for four rights of way. The authorised inspector's decision was that: the appeal is allowed. That decision stated : “In accordance with paragraph 4 (2) of Schedule 14 to the 1981 Act, Newcastle upon Tyne City Council is directed to make an order under Section 53 (2) and Schedule 15 of the Act to modify the definitive map and statement for the area to add the four public footpaths as proposed in the application dated 16 0ctober 2000.” This statement does not complete the process; firstly the order has to be made and published in the press. This was done by Newcastle City Council on 31 August 2011. Following this, a period of six weeks must elapse during which any responses to the order may be made. Until that time nothing further can be done. Donald McEwan Chairman FJD

Wildlife and People It has been a really busy summer in Jesmond Dene and we’re delighted that so many people are coming to see the new developments. However, while it’s always good to see people enjoying this fantastic valley, it does give me twinges of concern about the effects it may have on the wildlife for which the Dene is so important. There is a delicate balance between managing an area for the benefit of wildlife and for people and this has been clearly demonstrated by the various successes and failures of breeding birds in Jesmond Dene this year. Kingfishers and dippers have nested successfully on the Ouseburn for a number of years, a great credit to the cleanliness and biodiversity within the river. Unfortunately, however, both species failed to breed successfully this year; they had both been nesting in their usual spots until the end of April when suddenly the nests were abandoned. The records of local birdwatchers show that this coincided with the unseasonably warm weather associated with the double bank holiday weekend at the end of April. This brought huge numbers of people into the Dene and the temperature meant an unusually high number of children, and more importantly dogs, were playing and cooling off in the river. These shy birds were apparently unable to tolerate such high levels of disturbance at a critical time in the breeding period and this led to the abandonment of the nests. This is a real shame as they have done well in recent years. However they can still be seen in the area so hopefully they will be more successful next year. The kingfisher in particular is a specially protected species with populations declining and less than 6,000 pairs in Britain. It is an offence to disturb one at or near its nest. I will be looking into how we can reduce disturbance around the river at critical times during the breeding period. In contrast there have been great successes in the quieter, more secluded, areas of the Dene which are vital for a number of the species that live here. Whilst the young of small birds may be able to hide among the bushes, the larger predatory birds need a more secluded site for the young to use. Once they have left the nest they need time to practice flying and perfect their hunting skills. One area not far from the Visitor Centre, just yards from the hustle and bustle of Pets’ Corner, is kept closed off to the public in order to provide a refuge and both tawny owls and sparrowhawks have relished this private corner of the valley. In early summer three young tawny owls spent their early weeks in the area after leaving their nearby nest and we were able to watch them as they rested in a tree during the day, with a parent keeping watch nearby. It is a fantastic place for them with very little disturbance during the day and a wealth of wood mice, small birds and of course rats for them to practice their hunting on. They were obviously well

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fed as it appears that two of the young owls matured and moved off to set up their own territories. Sparrowhawks have also bred successfully this year and the seclusion of this area where they chose to nest has clearly helped a great deal. The nest produced three fledglings which spent several weeks in this small patch of woodland before moving away to find their own territories. The lack of disturbance gave them the space to feed freely and master the incredible hunting skills they need to survive. It was an absolute joy to watch as the young chased each other through the trees perfecting their technique and very amusing seeing them learn that trying to attack a pigeon twice your size may not be such a good idea. The parents were also seen regularly bringing in food for the young and at times the area was strewn with carcasses. I have captured some of the action on film which will be available to view in the Visitor Centre and on the Friends’ website soon. Highlights include footage of the owl and sparrowhawk families, a jay feeding, fox cubs in daylight and a few more glimpses of otter. Most recently I have also managed to catch a dipper on film. If you have any interesting wildlife sightings please let the Rangers know and check out the website to see the footage of the fantastic array of wildlife that the Dene has. Michael Hancock Assistant Ranger

Stop Press I've just retrieved the footage from one of our remote cameras and for the first time we've seen two otters together. I haven't spoken to the experts yet but I suspect it’s a mother and cub which would mean we have three of these wonderful creatures using the Dene. This footage can be seen on our new Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/user/ouseburnparksranger

Education Report I’ve had a very busy summer so far. During the school summer term many primary classes visited Ouseburn Parks and took part in minibeast hunts, pond dipping, river walks, teddy bears’ picnics, nature trails and visits to Pets’ Corner. West Jesmond Primary School brought 300 Pupils down over four days to help them with their Eco-Week. This was a very full week for myself, the Rangers and Janet Murdock (senior administration officer), but it was a great opportunity to develop some new activities which I will be incorporating into the education programme for the autumn term. In May, 25 teachers attended a training day run in partnership with RSPCA, National Centre for the Teaching of Maths and the Education Business Partnership. The teachers learned about the benefits of outdoor lessons and how to arrange school visits; they took part in a variety of activities in the Dene, covering many topics including maths, literacy, science and history. John Grundy has led some training for volunteers to run guided walks throughout the Parks. We now have a brilliant group who will be leading walks over the coming months, starting in September as part of the Tyne and Wear Heritage Open Day programme. Rebecca Morgan Education and Interpretation Officer

Ouseburn Park’s Manager update 5


By the time you receive this newsletter the landscape works in Ouseburn Parks will be completed. Although there will still be some additional works to implement and the inevitable snags to contend with, I think I can safely say that the major period of disruption is over. This has been the largest single investment in the Parks since Lord Armstrong began laying out Jesmond Dene in the 1800s. If he were alive today I think he would be pleased with the works and happy that the City Council has kept to their agreement under the deed of covenant. The list of improvements is too long to mention here, but I would like to point out some notable features:- The new Visitor Centre is now fully open and provides a base for staff working in the Parks. The building is modern in design but fits into the landscape well. The building is starting to win awards, including one from the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors and one from the Royal Institute for British Architects. The footpath network throughout Jesmond Dene has been vastly improved with new edging and surfacing. This has been complemented with more areas for sitting, where people can relax and take in the peace and tranquillity. You will soon notice interpretation boards situated at notable features throughout the Parks including the Banqueting Hall, St Mary’s Chapel and King John’s Palace, allowing visitors to learn more about them and their history. I would recommend a trip to Heaton Park to take a look at the new entrance off Heaton Road. The old bowling green has been relandscaped and the ancient King John’s Palace is now set in wonderful surroundings with paths, planted areas and seating. Although the building and landscape works are nearing an end, work on the project continues apace and the army of people, who give up their time for free, help to move this forward. Volunteers have been involved in a vast range of projects to make the Parks a better place for you. These include practical tasks, planning and organising events, researching the history of the Parks, leading guided walks, developing the website, attending Friends’ meetings, writing this newsletter, recording wildlife and bee keeping - to mention a few! I cannot over emphasise the importance that we place on the volunteers. The passion and commitment that I have witnessed over the past few years is astounding. The number of people who are coming forward to help is increasing, but there’s always room for more. Without the help of the volunteers this project could not achieve half as much as it is achieving at the moment. Seamus Tollitt Ouseburn Parks’ Manager

Ouseburn Parks’ Events October 2011 to March 2012 (Contact the Rangers for more information, 0191 281 2082 or 07966 264391) Sunday 2 October, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Bulb Planting and Autumn Nature Trail. Education Classroom - Ouseburn 6


Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come and plant some bulbs to take home with you and nurture. You can also take part in our Autumn Nature Trail around the Dene and an Autumn Scavenger Hunt. There will be a £1.50 charge for the bulb planting. Contact the Rangers for more information on 0191 281 2082. Wednesday 5 October, 10.30 - 11.30am and 1 - 2pm, Animal Tails (for under fives). Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene. Join us for a story, activities and a chance to meet some furry friends. A great introduction to our animals in Pets’ Corner. This is a drop in event. Some of the session will be outside in Pets’ Corner. For more information phone 0191 281 2082. Saturday 8 October, 1.30 – 3.30pm, Bulb Planting and Autumn Nature Trail, Paddy Freeman’s Park – Next to the Café. Come and plant some bulbs to take home with you and nurture. You can also take part in our Autumn Nature Trail around the Park and an Autumn Scavenger Hunt. There will be a £1.50 charge for the bulb planting. Contact the Rangers for more information on 0191 281 2082. Sunday 23 October, 1 - 3pm, Fantastic Fungi. Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene. An introduction to the amazing world of mushrooms and toadstools. Join us for walk around the Ouseburn Parks and discover the mysterious world beneath the woodland floor. Booking Essential. Contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082 for more information and access details. Monday 24 October, 1 - 3pm, Philosophy For children: The Ant and the Grasshopper. Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene. Can you think? Of course you can. Develop your creative, critical, caring and group thinking skills through a simple discussion and questioning session. Part of the People's Philosophy Festival of the Newcastle Philosophy Society. This event is for 8 – 12 year olds. Booking essential. For booking and more information phone 0191 281 2082. Tuesday 25 October, 1 - 2pm & 2 - 3pm, (drop in for 1 of 2 sessions) Hibernating Hedgehogs. Education Classroom – Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come and join the Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) to discover more about the world of hibernating hedgehogs and other autumn games. Free for all members. Suggested donation of £2.50 per child for non-members or free if you join membership today. Recommended minimum age 5 years. Phone NWT on 0191 284 6884 for more information. Wednesday 26 October, 11am - 3pm, Furry Fun. Pets’ Corner – Jesmond Dene. Find out about the animals in Pets’ Corner and take part in a special animal trail. At certain times throughout the day there will be an opportunity to meet some of the smaller animals. This is a drop in event. For more information phone 0191 281 2082. Thursday 27 October, 1 - 3pm, Halloween Crafts. Education Classroom – Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come and join the NWT to make a scary pumpkin, nature mask and a tree spirit! Also follow the spooky wildlife trail. Booking essential. Free for all members. Suggested donation of £2.50 per child for non-members or free if join membership today. Recommended minimum age 5 years. Phone NWT on 0191 284 6884 for more information and to book your place. Friday 28 October, 5.30 - 8pm, Halloween Pumpkins and Walk. Education Classroom – Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come along and carve some pumpkin lanterns. We will then go for an evening walk through the Dene to see what we can find. There may be eyes watching us from all sorts of places!! There will be a charge of £3.50 per pumpkin. Recommended minimum age 5 years. Booking essential, call the Rangers to book your place and for more information 0191 281 2082. Sunday 13 November, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Bird Feeders. Education Classroom - Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). It’s the start of the colder weather, when the birds need all the help they can get. Come and make a bird feeder and get some tips on easy ways to feed the birds over the winter. There is a £2 charge to cover the cost of materials. Contact the Rangers for more information on 0191 281 2082. Saturday 19 November, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Bird Feeders. Heaton Park - The Pavilion. It’s the start of the colder weather, when the birds need all the help they can get. Come and make a bird feeder and get some tips on easy ways to feed the birds over the winter. There is a £2 charge to cover the cost of materials. Contact the Rangers for more information on 0191 281 2082. Saturday 26 November, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Past, Present and Future. Jesmond Dene. Explore the wonders of Jesmond Dene in the company of volunteers who are passionate about the Park. The walk will examine the history 7


and the natural history of the Ouseburn valley and the extraordinary changes it has seen. Please meet at the east end of Armstrong Bridge at the noticeboard and entrance gates to Jesmond Dene. Booking essential. To book and for more information phone 0191 281 2082. Sunday 4 December, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Ancient Tree Hunt. Ouseburn Parks. Come along to find out more about the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Hunt and how you can get involved to help us measure the Ancient Trees in your local parks and beyond! The event will start with a short talk and then we will set off on a walk to find and measure some Ancient Trees. Booking Essential. Contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082 for more information and access details. Thursday 15 December, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Christmas Wreaths. Education Classroom - Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come and have a go at making your own Christmas Wreath. All materials will be provided but if you have a pair of secateurs please bring them with you. Places are limited; book early to ensure your place, 0191 281 2082 and for more information. There will be a charge of £5 to cover costs. This is an event for adults, so no under 14s. Saturday 17 December, 1 - 3pm, Christmas Wreaths. Education Classroom - Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Come and have a go at making your own Christmas Wreath. All materials provided but if you have a pair of secateurs please bring them with you. Places are limited; book early to ensure your place, 0191 281 2082 and for more information. There will be a charge of £5 to cover costs. This is an event for adults, so no under 14s. Sunday 18 December, 1 - 3.30 pm, Family Festive Fun, Education Classroom - Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre. A joint event with the Volunteers, Friends of Jesmond Dene and the Rangers. Come and try your hand at making some simple Christmas decorations from natural and recycled materials. There will be music, light refreshments, tombola and raffles. This is a drop in event. For more information contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082. Tuesday 20 December, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Childrens’ Christmas Crafts. Education Classroom - Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). A joint event with NWT and the Rangers. Come along and have fun creating Christmas crafts to take home with you. This is a children's event and there is a suggested donation of £2.50 per child for non-members or free if you join membership today. Recommended minimum age 5 years. Children must be accompanied. Booking essential. For bookings and more information contact NWT 0191 284 6884. Wednesday 21 December, 11am - 3pm, Wild Winter. Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene. Collect a nature trail from the visitor centre and follow the clues through Jesmond Dene to find out what happens to the plants and animals during the cold winter months. This is a drop in event. For more information phone 0191 281 2082. Tuesday 10 January, 10am - 12.30pm, Volunteer Taster Session. Ouseburn Parks - Jesmond Dene/Heaton Park. Are you looking for a new way to keep fit or just spend more time outdoors? Do you fancy volunteering in the Ouseburn Parks? Come along to this taster session to find out more. All equipment will be provided but wear old clothes and sturdy footwear. For meeting place and more information contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082. Saturday 21 January, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Past Present and Future. Jesmond Dene. Explore the wonders of Jesmond Dene in the company of volunteers who are passionate about the Park. The walk will examine the history and natural history of the Ouseburn valley and the extraordinary changes it has seen. Meet at the east end of Armstrong Bridge at the noticeboard and entrance gates to Jesmond Dene. Booking essential. To book and for more information phone 0191 281 2082. Sunday 5 February, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Winter Tree Identification and Folklore. Meet at the Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Learn about some of the myths and legends that surround some of our trees and learn how to identify trees in winter on this walk through some of the Ouseburn Parks. Booking essential. Contact the Rangers to book and for access details 0191 281 2082. Wednesday 15 February, 11am - 3pm, Birds for beginners (Walks at 11am – 12.30pm and 1 – 2.30pm). Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre - Jesmond Dene. Come and join the RSPB on a walk around Ouseburn Parks to discover bird life in the trees, on the ground and around the river. Help us to record what we find and join in a bird craft activity. Please bring binoculars if you have them but there will be some available if not. This event is 8


suitable for all ages, but access is via steps and steep slopes, unsuitable for buggies or wheelchairs. Booking for the bird walk is essential. The craft activity will be running all day and is drop in. Phone 0191 281 2082 for booking and more information. Thursday 16 February,11am – 3pm, Furry Fun, Pets’ Corner. Find out about the animals in Pets’ Corner and take part in a special animal trail. At certain times throughout the day there will be an opportunity to meet some of the smaller animals. This is a drop in event. For more information phone 0191 281 2082. Saturday 25 February, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Ancient Tree Hunt, Ouseburn Parks. Come along to find out more about the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Hunt and how you can get involved to help us measure the Ancient Trees in your local parks and beyond! The event will start with a short talk and then we will set off on a walk to find and measure some Ancient Trees. Booking Essential. Contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082 for more information and access details. Wednesday 5 March, 6.30 - 7.30pm, Talk: Lord Armstrong and his friends. Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre Jesmond Dene. Henrietta Heald, author of “William Armstrong: Magician of the North”, will be giving a talk and presentation about William Armstrong, his connections with Jesmond Dene and his relationships with other influential people of the time. Booking essential. For booking and more information phone 0191 281 2082. Sunday 18 March, 1.30 - 3.30pm, Past Present and Future. Jesmond Dene. Explore the wonders of Jesmond Dene in the company of volunteers who are passionate about the park. The walk will examine the history and the natural history of the Ouseburn valley and the extraordinary changes it has seen. Please meet at the east end of Armstrong Bridge at the noticeboard and entrance gates to Jesmond Dene. Booking is essential. To book and for more information phone 0191 281 2082. Wednesday 21 March, 10am - 12.30pm, Volunteer Taster Session. Ouseburn Parks - Jesmond Dene/Heaton Park. Are you looking for a new way to keep fit or just spend more time outdoors? Do you fancy volunteering in the Ouseburn Parks? Come along to this taster session to find out more. All equipment will be provided but wear old clothes and sturdy footwear. For meeting place and more information contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082. Thursday 22 March, 10.30 - 11.30am and 1 - 2pm, Animal Tails (for under fives). Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene. Join us for a story, activities and a chance to meet some furry friends. A great introduction to our animals in Pets’ Corner. This is a drop in event. Some of the session will be outside in Pets’ Corner. For more information phone 0191 281 2082. Saturday 31 March, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Earth Walk part of Jesmond Community Festival. Meet at the Ouseburn Parks’ Visitor Centre (next to Millfield House Café). Explore your senses on this early spring walk through some of the Ouseburn Parks. You may find a rainbow, watch a leaf slide show or make a smelly cocktail! Children must be accompanied by an adult and come prepared to get a little bit muddy. Suitable for families, recommended minimum age 5 years. Booking essential. Sorry this event is not accessible for buggies or wheelchairs. For more information contact the Rangers on 0191 281 2082.

Mystery Photograph A few months ago I received a photograph from Henrietta Heald (Lord Armstrong’s biographer). of a large house situated in grounds, with woodland in the background. Henrietta came across the picture on a visit to Cragside, the former home of Lord and Lady Armstrong. We wondered if this might be Armstrong’s residence in Jesmond, which was located near Glastonbury Grove but demolished in the 1920s. No photographs had been seen before and the only image was a copy of an undated drawing. The photograph came with no name or date but there was something about it that looked familiar. We poured over old maps and compared them with the photograph and drawing, looking at features such as glass houses and paths. It certainly appeared to be the house, but we weren’t completely certain.

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At a recent talk to the volunteers, Henrietta showed the photograph and postulated that it may be a view of Jesmond Dean, the former home of Armstrong. When I asked the question, ‘How can we prove it for certain?’, shoulders were shrugged. At this point Clive Gerrard, a volunteer, took on the mission to prove this was indeed the house. He dug out old maps and got to work. He looked at shadows to estimate the time of year and direction that the camera faced. He also estimated the size of the house and compared that with maps. A few more photographs came to light which showed modifications to the glass houses over time. This corresponded to plans of the house shown on maps. Clive has finally proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that the photograph was taken in Jesmond and was the home of the Armstrongs. Seamus Tollitt Ouseburn Parks’ Manager

Committee list: Chairman Donald McEwan (0191 265 9271) Treasurer Lilian Lovelock (0191 281 1128) Membership Sec. Kathleen Shillito (0191 281 7189) (47 Salisbury Gardens, NE2 1HP) Newsletter Editor* Anna Newson (0191 284 9737) Sarah Capes (Ranger, Jesmond Dene, 0191 281 2082) ouseburnparks@newcastle.gov.uk Michael Frankis (0191 281 3667) Robert Wooster (0191 281 2178) * Spring Newsletter contributions by 31 January 2012, c/o Rangers, Millfield House, Red Walk, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7BQ or email as above

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Friends of Jesmond Dene Autumn 2011 Newsletter  

News and views from the Friends of Jesmond Dene

Friends of Jesmond Dene Autumn 2011 Newsletter  

News and views from the Friends of Jesmond Dene

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