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.

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.


Motorists parking on Benton Bank: if you litter, you harm wildlife and could be fined

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of litter dropped from cars parked on Benton Bank and underneath the Cradlewell bypass on Benton Bridge. Volunteers are spending a great deal of time cleaning up after these inconsiderate motorists. (There’s also a litter problem in the Dene itself, of course.)

Looking on the bright side, Newcastle City Council may soon get new powers to fine litter-lout car passengers. The central government has released a new Litter Strategy for England, which includes plans to fine drivers for litter thrown from their vehicles by passengers. Similar to rules in London, motorists could soon receive penalty notices when litter is dropped from their cars – even if it was discarded by passengers.

The plans have been drawn up by environment department Defra, the Department for Transport and communities department DCLG.

Transport minister John Hayes said: “Litter is a major and costly problem to deal with. It makes our roads look messy, can threaten wildlife and even increase the risk of flooding by blocking drains.

The government has launched a consultation on the proposed enforcement measures. It said guidance will be issued to councils to accompany any new enforcement powers.

This guidance for councils will also update England’s “binfrastructure” through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.

There will also be an attempt to create a “green generation” by educating children to lead the fight against litter.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust at the Park

Northumberland Wildlife Trust at the Park, Pet’s Corner, Jesmond Dene, Wed 19th April, 10:00am – 3:30pm

Drop by to find out more about the work we do at NWT to protect our region’s wildlife – and have a go at some fun seasonal games and activities.

Free event but donations are welcome to cover the cost of materials. Dress appropriately for the outdoors. All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

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.

Future of Newcastle’s Parks, Jesmond Dene, 11th March

Because of forthcoming budget cuts Newcastle City Council is currently running a consultation exercise regarding the future of Newcastle’s parks, and one of the events will be held at the Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre. The Newcastle Parks Engagement programme started on 13th February runs through until 21st April and visits Jesmond Dene on 11th March.

Parks are a critical part of the city’s green infrastructure, and an important attraction when it comes to appealing to new visitors, new residents, businesses and students, says the programme.

But, there’s likely to be less money to fund them in the years ahead.

“Over the past seven years, our parks budget has reduced by over 90 percent,” says a statement from the council, “meaning that finding new ways of financing and running the city’s parks is essential.”

The council stresses it want to keep parks in public ownership, and that they should remain free to use.

“We have been working with the National Trust, benefitting from their experience of preserving our national heritage and parks, to help us work out a way forward,” says the council. “In particular, we have been researching the possibility of transferring the operation, delivery and maintenance of a large proportion of the city’s parks, and potentially allotments, to a new Charitable Trust.”

The council says this is a “work in progress”, and the engagement programme aims to hear YOUR views.

You can started by visiting, and completing a short online survey. This will direct you to a more in-depth discussion at: The ‘Explore’ section of this website is due to go live on Monday, 13th March. This part of the engagement programme is being delivered in association with Newcastle University’s Open Lab.

11th March, 11am to 3pm, Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre

Jesmond appears on jacket printed with street grids from New York, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin and Sydney

Showers Pass of Portland, Oregon, has produced a waterproof cycling jacket that features retroreflective street grids of eleven cities. Because of the complexity of the patterns each Atlas jacket is unique, but will still feature streets from Portland, New York, Washington DC, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin, Sydney and Taipei.

London is also featured, as is Newcastle upon Tyne. Why Newcastle? Showers Pass president Kyle Ranson was born and raised in Jesmond, and used to play in Jesmond Dene.

“This was one of those fun projects that I got into way more than time really permitted. The entire staff thought I had gone nuts. It literally took weeks to patch together all the cities to look like one map.”

He added: “We wanted a jacket that supports an active outdoor lifestyle, stands up to bad weather, and offers a stylish way to stay visible to traffic at night.”

The street grid pattern on the jacket is printed with retro-reflective ink. The ink is a dull grey in normal light, but a bright silver when hit by car headlights.

And here’s the map of Newcastle – and Jesmond Dene – that’s featured on the jacket:

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.

National Nest-Box Week event, 20th Feb

Come and join the parks staff and volunteers on this bird themed day as part of National Nest Box week. You will make a wooden bird nest box, a wooden bird feeder and several other feeders, all to take home with you.

Monday 20th February
Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre – Jesmond Dene

Family activity sessions: 10 – 11am or 11.30 – 12.30pm. Family activity session ticket: £10

Walks at 9.30 – 11am or 11.30 – 12.30pm Walks are free-of-charge, but please book.

Please bring binoculars for the walk if you have them, but some will be available if not.

All children must be accompanied.
Bookings essential for family activity sessions and bird walks.

Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre
Phone: 0191 2812082
E-mail: parks&