Repairs to Nature Area dipping platform


You may be aware that some nine years ago a new pond was dug in Jesmond Dene Nature Area, across the river from Pets Corner. The new pond was provided with a dipping platform to allow parties of children to dip for pond creatures. The supporting framework of the platform was made from recycled plastic, which has the advantage of not rotting, but is expensive compared to wood. The decking for the platform was made from wooden planks that we happened to have available at the time.

Last year it became apparent that some of the decking planks had rotted and needed replacing. The volunteer rangers applied some temporary patches to allow the platform to continue to be used, but it was obvious that the decking would have to be replaced. It was decided to use recycled plastic for this, as the plastic framework for the platform has lasted so well. The planking cost £936.68, of which £541 was raised from the proceeds of the Christmas Raffle, with the remaining £395.68 coming from the funds of the Volunteer Rangers.

Sarah, the Ranger, ordered the plastic planking and some of the volunteer rangers spent two or three sessions during December ripping up the old planking and putting down the new stuff. Apart from it being rot-proof the new planking does not need chicken wire to provide a grip as one side of the planks is deliberately roughened and plastic does not become slimy in the wet as wood does. The new decking should last much longer than the wooden planks that it has replaced. I have enclosed some photos of the decking being replaced.

Newcastle Parks Trust – Next Steps – Recruitment of Board of Trustees and Feedback Sessions

Newcastle City Council Cabinet has approved the creation of a new charitable company – “Newcastle Parks Trust” – for parks and allotments.

The advert for the founding Board of Trustees is available…/Chair_and_Board_of_Truste…/171074

Feedback sessions have been arranged at 4 locations around the City to explain what Cabinet decided and what will happen next. The sessions are as follows:

FREE Family-friendly event

Come and join us for the Big Garden Birdwatch in Jesmond Dene on Saturday (27 January 2018) from 10.30am till 2.30pm.

Members of RSPB Newcastle Local Group, Rangers and Volunteers will be in Jesmond Dene helping you to identify garden birds, and adding your sightings to the national survey. You can also build a bird box or bird feeder to take home.
(There will be a charge for the bird box / feeders)


Christmas Raffle 2017

Friends of Jesmond Dene and the Volunteer Rangers are holding a Christmas Raffle to raise funds to replace the decking in the nature area; this will make it safe for children to enjoy pond dipping for years to come.
The attached poster mentions some of the main prizes but other are being added. We will publish a full list nearer the draw.
Tickets are £1 each and may be purchased at the Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene (next to Millfield House Café).
The Raffle will be drawn at 2:30pm on Sunday 17th December 2017 in the Visitor Centre as part of The Christmas Decoration Event being run by the Rangers, the Friends of Jesmond Dene and the Volunteer Rangers.

Add a bit of the Dene to your Christmas Decorations this year!

On Sunday 17 December, come and make your very own wooden reindeer and table centre piece with the Rangers and Volunteer Rangers at Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre, Jesmond Dene (next to Millfield House Café).
Family tickets are £10 and will enable you to make one reindeer and one
table decoration. Maximum 2 adults per child.

Sessions are: 10 – 11am, 11.30 – 12.30pm or 1.30 – 2.30pm

Places are limited; book early to ensure your place:

Phone: 0191 2812082
E-mail: parks&

The Visitor Centre and Gift Shop will also be open.


The Friends of Jesmond Dene needs you!!

We are looking for new members to join our charity to ensure that Jesmond Dene remains the wonderful asset that it is for future generations.

We are particularly looking for volunteers to help the committee with:

  • Book keeping / Treasurer
  • Social media
  • Website maintenance & development
  • Marketing

If you are interested and would like to be part of our amazing charity, please contact the Secretary, Sue Stokel-Walker on 0191 2853447; 07542 386398 or email her at


Open Weekend includes AGM plus talk on Hidden History

Please come along to the Friends’ Annual General Meeting on Sunday (14 May) at 2 p.m. in the Classroom at the Visitor Centre in Jesmond Dene. After the business meeting, Carlton Reid will give a talk on discovering old cycleways, entitled ‘Hidden History’.

This is part of our Open Weekend, with lots of activities and displays on wildlife, history and projects in the Visitor Centre between 10am and 3pm each day.


Update on the Parks Consultation

Hopefully, you will have heard about the Parks Consultation being conducted by Newcastle City Council. The Consultation will continue until 21st April 2017. The Council is seeking views on its proposal to transfer the operation, delivery and maintenance of a large proportion of the city’s parks and allotments to a new Charitable Trust. Jesmond Dene and its linked parks are all included in this proposal.

A number of public engagement drop-in Events have been held across the city. If you missed them, the information provided at these Events is still available online at and you can still complete the Consultation Survey, until 21st April.

The next stage of the Consultation is Workshops. These are being run by Open Lab, a cross-disciplinary research centre at Newcastle University. The website says: We are offering a number of 2 hour workshops, which provide you with opportunities to explore specific aspects of the Council’s proposals for Newcastle’s Parks, and share your ideas. Workshops are for groups of no more than 25 people on a first come, first served basis. To book your place, follow the link at indicating your preferred workshop date and location.

Nature Area Hillside Project

This year, amongst other tasks, the Volunteer Rangers will be developing the hillside area of the Nature Area. The Nature Area project, funded by the Heritage Lottery, was completed in 2013 although regular maintenance is still carried out.

The Hillside Proect will involve tree felling, removing low growing vegetation and then planting with smaller, native and more suitable trees and bulbs.

The trees and vegetation removal will allow more light in the area and along with planting native trees will increase its biodiversity.

This project is funded by the Friends of Jesmond Dene. If you would like to be involved or have any questions, please contact Sarah (Phone: 07966264391 or email

Timber: Some of the felled timber will be processed into logs to sell as firewood but some will be left as lengths or rounds for schools or wood turners. If you are interested in buying any timber, please get in touch. All proceeds go to the Volunteer Rangers and Friends of Jesmond Dene.