Dates for the public Christmas Wreaths sessions announced

We are taking bookings for the public Christmas Wreaths sessions in Jesmond Dene from Monday 1 October at 9.30am.   Please call in or phone  the Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre  on 0191 2812082.

The sessions are on:

Sat 8 December                   10am -12.30pm

Tues 11 December              6.30 – 9pm

Wed 12 December               10am – 12.30pm

The cost is £12.50 per person (includes refreshments)

Come along and make 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, 2812082 and for more information. This is an event for adults, so sorry, no under 16s.

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

Cancelled Event

Sorry but the planned Nature Area Open Day on Thursday has been cancelled due to lack of water in the ponds. The one planned for Tuesday 14th August will definitely go ahead. See you then…

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.

Our AGM on Sunday 13th May

Open Weekend coming up next weekend, including our Annual General Meeting at 2pm on Sunday 13, May 2018
in the Classroom at the Visitors’ Centre, Jesmond Dene
1 Welcome and apologies for absence
2 Matters Arising (from meeting on 14 May, 2017)
3 Treasurer’s report
4 Chairman’s annual update
5 Election of officers and committee members
6 Approval of Position Statement
7 Any Other Business
8 John Grundy, our Patron, will provide an informative talk about philanthropy in the northeast
Please join us.

John Grundy becomes patron, and other news

Broadcaster John Grundy has become a patron of the Friends of Jesmond Dene. Read about this and more in the Spring 2018 Newsletter:

Meanwhile, here’s a video of an otter fishing in the Ouseburn, as mentioned in the newsletter:

Incident in Coleman’s Field

Did anyone see someone cutting down two Apple Trees near the path in Coleman’s Field sometime between Tuesday 27th February and Sunday 4th March? Large apple trees were planted using a grant from the Tree Council and with help from Heaton Manor School Community Crew at the end of November 2016. Please let us know if you saw anything suspicious. Thanks

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)