Litter in Jesmond Dene

The Friends of Jesmond Dene and the Volunteer Rangers actively work to improve the Dene, assisting the Council Rangers with practical works and events and funding projects to enhance the Dene. We are very aware of the impact that the Council’s austerity measures have had on the City’s parks in recent years in terms of vastly reduced maintenance and cleansing.  

We share your frustration regarding litter being thoughtlessly dropped in the Dene by a minority of park users.  We would ask that everyone takes responsibility for their own litter. Please put it into one of the large bins throughout the Dene or, if the bins are full, take it home with you to put in your own domestic bins.  

If any of you would like to get involved in an organised litter pick in a particular area of the Dene, please email Sarah or Mike, the Park Rangers.

Thank you, The Friends of Jesmond Dene Committee

AGM minutes from 18th May 2018

The Friends of Jesmond Dene
Registered Charity No. 702260

Minutes of AGM
13 May 2018
2:00 pm
Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene

Yvonne Shannon, a member and volunteer, called the meeting to order by welcoming everyone present. She outlined the running order and handed over to the Chairman.

Apologies: Maggie Dowman, John Blakemore; there were 25 in attendance.

Previous Minutes (14 May 2017) Matters arising:
• Two of the four apple trees planted last November by Volunteers and children from Heaton Manor were vandalised; however, one of the Volunteers has attempted to graft onto them in the hope that they will survive and fruit in due course.
• A correction to the minutes – the Plant Stall on Armstrong Bridge is the 3rd Saturday of each month.

Treasurer’s report
Copies of the Accounts and the Independent Examiner’s Report were made available.

• Lynda is stepping down as Treasurer; she thanked Geoffrey Carter (the Friends’ independent examiner) for his help and support over the past four years. She also wished her successor the best of luck; the transition will be made easier by Lynda’s handover.
• The accounts are straightforward with healthy balances in both accounts.
• A query from the floor re the ‘sundries’ item being the largest expenditure; Lynda reported that this comprised three training sessions for the committee as well as a donation to the Jesmond Festival.
• There had been a 30% increase in sales from the Plant Stall and sales through the shop – mainly of logs; Keith reported that the additional log store had helped with log sales.

Chairman’s report
Volunteers: The Chairman thanked all the Volunteers – Friends and Volunteer Rangers – for their hard work over the past year – including the Plant Stall, the Christmas raffle, guided walks, planting trees from the Rotary Club and work to digitise the archive (now over 1000 documents).
Picnic Field: The Friends have purchased 3 metal picnic tables for the picnic field; it is hoped that these will be installed for the summer.
Photo Competition: The Friends continue to support an annual photo competition together with local photographer, Neil Atkinson.
Parks Trust: The Friends have been involved in all discussions and consultation regarding the new Parks Trust and will continue to do so.
Position Statement: The Friends, through the committee, produced a ‘position statement’ following a survey of the dene. It outlines what we do, what we expect from the new Parks Trust and how we might work with them in the future.
Newsletters: A small subgroup of the Friends works hard to produce our bi annual newsletters; the next one will be the autumn one; many thanks to all those who contribute and edit.

Recruitment: The Committee undertook to recruit some new members earlier in the year and are pleased with the result – potentially three new members.
Patron: The Friends have been without a Patron for many years; however, we are now delighted to have John Grundy as our new Patron and look forward to working with him in the future.

Election of Officers As previously mentioned, Lynda Fean, the current Treasurer is standing down after 4 years on the committee. The Chairman thanked her for all of her hard work.
The Chairman asked if there were any nominations from the floor for the officer posts; there were none. Luckily, two of the existing officers agreed to put themselves forward to serve for another year and a new member agreed to be the Treasurer. The following were proposed, seconded and duly elected:

The Officers are: Chairman Clive Gerrard
Treasurer Jacki Holmes
Secretary Sue Stokel-Walker

Committee members: John Blakemore, Robert Brandt, Geoffrey Carter
Sarah Capes is the co-opted representative from Newcastle City Council.
Keith Pringle remains Honorary Membership Secretary.
Geoffrey Carter remains our Independent examiner for the annual accounts.

The Position Statement
The Chairman asked the membership present to approve the Position Statement put forward by the Committee; it was approved by show of hands and will be used in future discussions with the Parks Trust.

Any Other Business
Fallen Trees
Robert questioned the policy on leaving fallen / felled trees in the dene. The Chairman stated that his understanding of the council’s policy was to leave deadwood in situ provided that it was safe to do so and not in an inappropriate /unsafe place. Sarah agreed that that was the position; however, due to staff shortages and cuts to budgets, the park staff are unable to adhere to this policy. This means that there are a number of tree trunks currently in less than desirable locations.
Dawn stressed the importance of deadwood for wildlife habitat and encouraged us to not clear away all fallen trees; Sue assured her that the object was to clear the fallen timber to another / nearby location to decay – not to removed completely in all cases.
A member pointed out a dangerous tree in Paddy Freeman’s; Sarah will discuss that with him after the meeting.

The AGM ended at this point; Clive introduced John Grundy, our Patron, who proceeded to provide a very entertaining and informative talk giving examples of philanthropy in the northeast through the ages. Yvonne thanked John for his talk and everyone for attending the AGM.

Date and time
The date of the next AGM will be Sunday, 12 May, 2019 at 2:00 pm in the Classroom of the Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene.

Your views are sought on £2m street improvements in Jesmond and Ouseburn

A local group have been working with an urban design consultancy to turn ideas about improving the experience of getting around in Jesmond into a firm set of proposals. And now it’s up to you to have your say. Newcastle City Council has opened a public consultation exercise which will run from 16th October through to 30th November.

The ideas include new pedestrian crossings; protected cycleways; the decluttering of footways; and improving public spaces.

The project is motivated by people who want children to be able to walk, scoot or ride their bikes to school, be able to play out in the streets where they live and grow up breathing cleaner air. All of this requires a reduction in the amount of motor traffic on residential streets.

Detailed plans for the proposals can be found online at

Or, you can visit the display in Jesmond Library or phone 0191 277 7681 for more information.

There are proposals for Jesmond as well as Heaton and Ouseburn.

The money to make these street improvements has NOT come from council tax, it’s from a national Cycle City Ambition Fund. This funding has enabled Newcastle City Council to work more intensely in suburbs close to the city centre at ways to connect the investment they have already made and add local improvements to increase the pace of change in these neighbourhoods.

The council identified three project areas: Arthur’s Hill/Fenham, Jesmond and Ouseburn/Heaton areas. There will be approximately £1 million capital to spend in each project area by 2018.

Each project has a three-stage development process, which draws on the local and technical knowledge of a wide variety of stakeholders – elected members, grassroots community groups, cycling organisations, local businesses and service providers, as well as the council’s engineers, planners, urban designers and the CAF Programme Board. The stages are:

  • Stage 1: The reference group – Development of local community group to work on the project (completed)
  • Stage 2: Needs analysis – A series of community engagement processes to capture the needs and issues people experience in their neighbourhoods (completed)
  • Stage 3: Turning the needs into proposals – Co-design with the community to develop concept design options within the scope of the project.

NEW: Walk, run or cycle over Armstrong Bridge on Google Street View

Barriers on Armstrong Bridge mean the Google Street View camera car has to come to a grinding halt. This means there’s no way of taking a virtual journey across the bridge on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Until now, that is.

The webmaster for has linked together a number of 360-degree “sphere” photos and, by clicking forwards or backwards in the usual Street View manner, you can now access Armstrong Bridge from the comfort of your connectivity package, spinning your point-of-view to your heart’s content.

In the fullness of time these spheres will become a seamless part of Google Street View.

Jesmond Dene Photography Competition 2017

Friends of Jesmond Dene with Neil Atkinson Photography and Digitalab JESMOND DENE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 2017 Competition Information and Rules

1. Duration: 10am 1st October 2017 – 10pm 31st October 2017.

2. Judge: Neil Atkinson, professional photographer, tutor and writer.

3. Entrance: free of charge with online registration.

4. Categories: 16 or under, 17 or older.

5. Prizes in each category: 1st Prize: A photography workshop with Neil Atkinson (value £95) plus a framed print of the winning image from Digitalab (value £75); 2nd Prize £30; 3rd Prize £15

6. No cash alternative is available and the Judge’s decision is final

7. 16 or under – Adult Supervision: A parent or guardian must be responsible for the registration of a 16 or under participant and any email address and/or telephone number provided must be those of the adult and not the 16 or under participant

8. Submission of images: Online via our Facebook page or post/deliver to: Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre (Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre, Red Walk, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7BQ).

9. Copyright: The photographer retains copyright to his/her image but grants Friends of Jesmond Dene, Neil Atkinson Photography and Digitalab permission to use the image for any publicity purpose, with printed credit, at any time.

10. Any submission must be the work of the named participant.

11. Status: Only submissions by amateur photographers are permitted. The competition is not open to professional or semi-professional photographers or members of their immediate families.

12. Photo Walk on Launch Date: 10am 1st October 2017 – meet at Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre (Red Walk, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7BQ). All Under-16 participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

13. All participants and accompanying adults accept full responsibility for their own personal safety whilst taking part in this competition.

14. Communications and Enquiries: Via Facebook page.

15. Condition of Entry: By entering this competition, all participants and their parents/guardians, are deemed to accept the above rules.

Jesmond Dene glows green as part of new OS mapping to get people outdoors

A Government initiative to make it easier for people to locate and access greenspaces has launched today with the release of a new database and interactive digital map identifying accessible recreational and leisure greenspace in Great Britain. And, naturally, Jesmond Dene is one of the “green lungs” that can be zoomed into on the new map.

Delivered by Ordnance Survey, the free map contains data from OS and other sources, and can be used immediately, for free, through the popular leisure mapping app and online service, OS Maps. This comprehensive map of Great Britain’s greenspaces is also available as an open dataset, called OS Open Greenspace, for communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.

OS CEO, Nigel Clifford, says: “Geospatial data can transform Governments, businesses and communities for the better. We see that through our work in Great Britain and internationally, and we’re excited to be one of those at the forefront leading this and making contributions of consequence and benefit. I’m particularly proud of this product as it delivers valuable information to the public, via OS Maps, enabling people and families across Great Britain to discover the greenspaces near them. In addition to this, we’re also releasing OS Open Greenspace, providing a freely available dataset for anyone to access. I am excited to see how people experiment and work with the data and look forward to seeing new products and services to help encourage an active Great Britain.”

Since the Greenspace map was reaffirmed as a commitment in 2015, OS has worked in collaboration with a large number of Non-Government Organisations and Government partners to compile the OS Open Greenspace dataset and digital map. Accurately depicted within the dataset is the location and extent of recreational and leisure features and, for larger sites, their access points. Example features included in the data is every public park in Great Britain, every play space, playing field, golf course, public garden, bowling green, allotment and more.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Greenspaces are a vital part of our landscape and this new database and online map will make it easier for people across the country to access greenspaces and lead healthier lives.

“With the completion of this mapping project, we have delivered on an important commitment and shown yet again how innovation can improve everyday lives.”

OS has also produced OS MasterMap (OSMM) Greenspace, a public-sector version of the greenspace map made available through the Public-Sector Mapping Agreement and One Scotland Mapping Agreement. Aimed at giving the public-sector accurate and up-to-date geospatial data to improve planning, analysis and decision making, OSMM Greenspace contains the location of all publicly accessible and non-accessible greenspaces. It is hoped the dataset will prove instrumental in helping the public sector create and manage health and wellbeing strategies, active travel plans and various environmental initiatives that include air quality, biodiversity, housing regeneration and flood resilience.