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18th March 2011
The Volunteer Rangers are developing a Nature Area and Outdoor Classroom, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The dipping platform for the new pond is complete and we have finished this by covering the wooden decking with chicken wire to ensure a non-slip surface. We now have two ponds in the area which can be used for the popular ‘pond dipping’ events held by the Rangers.

As you can see the wooden shelter has also been erected. This will serve as an outdoor classroom and will offer some protection to visiting groups from wind and rain. In due course the inside of the shelter will be painted with a mural depicting wildlife and flora which can be used for educational purposes as well as being artistically pleasing.

We will continue with the laying out and construction of wheelchair and buggy friendly paths which includes edging, laying weed suppressing fabric, hardcore and aggregate. We estimate that we will need to move 40 – 60 tonnes of material around the area. All done by volunteer manpower and wheelbarrows. This will mark the end of the 'building site / heavy construction phase'. After this we will then be able to get into the final part of making the Nature Area a more functional and pleasant area for wildlife and suitable for visits by the public and by schools. We will also be installing further bird boxes, and continuing to plant up the area with new shrubs, saplings, and wildflower seeds.

20th January 2009
In February 2008 the Jesmond Dene Volunteer Rangers with support from the Friends of Jesmond Dene and Newcastle City Council applied for HLF lottery funding to expand and develop an existing small Nature Area in Jesmond Dene. The aim is to create a resource to inspire visitors of all ages to understand and care about wildlife and the environment. The project was approved in July 2008, planning permission received October 2008 and formal permission to proceed was granted by the HLF in November 2008.

Link to http://www.jesmonddenenaturearea.org.uk/

18th February 2008
Following the success of ‘The Old Mill’ Project. The Volunteer Rangers are now working on the ‘Jesmond Dene Nature Area’ Project.

We are in the process of making an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of £50,000. With this money we want to construct an enclosed outdoor classroom to be a new resource and inspiration to visitors of all ages. The Nature Area will be out of bounds to the general public (but pre-booked sessions with the Rangers will give access to educational groups) this is vital to keep the area as undisturbed as possible for wildlife.

Creating an outdoor classroom will include hard landscaping such as the excavation of a pond and construction of a ‘dipping platform’. As the pond becomes settled we hope to attract creatures such as newts.

Paths suitable for wheelchairs will guide access through the area and link outdoor classroom areas. We plan to build a wooden shelter for protection from rain and to store educational equipment e.g. nets and bowls for ‘dipping’. A small number of solar panels on the roof will provide an energy source for web-cams and video link back to the Visitor Centre (a pilot test worked very well and shows this is feasible).

The Nature Area will be fitted with bird, bat and bee boxes to promote knowledge of life cycles and the importance of protecting habitats and environments to sustain a thriving wildlife population. We will provide information on the Nature Area to all visitors via interpretation boards, off site information via CD's, a web site with live-cam displays, display screens in the Visitor Centre.

Creating a wildlife area is a long term project and the long term benefits include a study resource that will provide inspiration for years to come.

19th January 2007
Restoration of the steps as part of the Old Mill Project see : http://www.jesmonddeneoldmill.org.uk/mill/steps.html

10th October 2006
Pets Corner:- improvements to security.
There has been a review of the security at Pets Corner, because of recent incidents. This means that it will only be open to the public when a member of staff can be present. From Monday, October 9th 2006 the new opening times will be as follows:

Saturday to Thursday 10am to 3.45pm
Friday 10 am to 12 noon.

Whilst it is no longer possible for members of the public to feed the animals - because of a legal requirement to reduce the risk of spreading disease. Families can still feed the birds with the specially prepared bird food available for 50p. (Please note the food dispenser only accepts 50p pieces).

5th October 2006
One of our volunteer rangers, Yvonne Shannon was interviewed this morning by presenter Paul Wappat on BBC Radio Newcastle at approximately 11.20 am. The topic was The Old Mill Project and provided an excellent opportunity to let members of the public know what has been happening at the site in Jesmond Dene. Yvonne said everyone involved at the studio was brilliant - especially Paul, who made the experience an interesting and enjoyable one.

14th September 2006
This is our 'News' page, where you can find out all about the most up to date happenings to do with The Old Mill and Jesmond Dene. The following link takes you through to an article covered by 'The Journal' on the 14th September 2006; the day of the official opening. article