Birds’ nest filming in Jesmond Dene?

Bird-watchers in Jesmond Dene may get a chance of a closer view if plans are approved to install tree-top video cameras.

A volunteer ranger taking part in last weekend’s World Water Day event in Jesmond Dene told JesmondLocal that the plan is to attach several mini video cameras into the nests made for wild birds, allowing enthusiasts and experts to monitor their behaviour in real time.

The World Water Day event was organised by the rangers in association with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Save the World Project, and focused on environment protection. The event included a book stall, tombola and workshop demonstration of jewellery and gift bags made from old newspapers and magazines. “You may not know that old magazines can be used to make your own jewellery,” said Debbie Reed, the event’s ‘tutor’ for jewellery and bag-making, “and making something by yourself is always satisfying.” The families who came along were also treated to a ranger-led tour of the Ouseburn river and an opportunity to go pond-dipping.

Olwyn Hocking, from Save the World Project, said the purpose of the event was to raise environmental consciousness by teaching people how to reuse papers and other materials – and said she was always amazed by children’s creativity.

Elsewhere in the Dene, after a year’s absence, the animals have now returned to Pets Corner. Sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hens and ducks are now in residence, with birds arriving at the aviary soon.

The opening hours for Pets Corner are 10am-4pm Mondays to Thursdays and at weekends, and  from 10am to midday on Fridays.


According to Seamus Tollitt, Ouseburn Parks manager, all building works in the Dene have now been completed, including the Millfield House refurbishment and the new visitor centre.

The Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre is now open to the public and forms a base for park staff including the park manager, rangers, education and interpretation officer and an information officer. The interpretation space within the visitor centre has also been completed. This includes information panels that guide people through the parks, information about the history of the parks, places of interest, wildlife and opportunities to get involved. A visual screen shows a loop of Edwardian images of the parks and an archive film from 1951 showing aspects of Jesmond Dene.

The open area between Armstrong Bridge and Pets Corner is now open to the public following a period of closure. A footpath now links the new entrance on Benton Bank to a new footbridge spanning the Ouseburn below Armstrong Bridge.

The project includes a number of new staff, including two park keepers who have joined the five already in post. According to Tollitt, their aim will be to improve maintenance throughout the parks with a view to gaining Green Flag status for Jesmond Dene and Armstrong Park. The posts are funded for three years.The education and interpretation officer post is funded for three years, to work with school groups and older groups to provide an education resource. The information office post is funded for five years, to provide information to park users and perform admin duties.

Landscape works are ongoing and scheduled for completion by the end of July. Work on the play area will be completed in time for the Easter holidays. Work has been underway for some months to improve the path network throughout Jesmond Dene to link with the other parks. Much of the stone edging has been installed and paths re-levelled. The paths will be finished with a fibredec surface, which is a smooth gravel sprayed over a resin underlayer.

And works will soon begin on a new pathway that will link the Banqueting Hall to St Mary’s Chapel. New estate railings will be installed on the boundary between Reid Park Road and the grounds of the chapel. Interpretation boards are being developed for points of interest throughout the Dene and finger posts will provide directional information to allow park users to locate key areas and features.

Some new park furniture is being installed in Jesmond Dene and will include cast iron bins, contemporary benches at Pets Corner and Coleman’s Field, traditional park and rustic benches.