Funding opens lake shore to the public

A SECTION of Ponteland Park will be opened up to the public following a major grant award.

Access to Oxbow Lake is currently very difficult because of the steep slope.

But that will change as the Friends of Ponteland Park (FOPP) group was successful in its application to the Big Lottery Fund for almost £10,000.

The money will enable steps and a boardwalk to be built down the approach on the east side of the sheltered lake in order to access a new dipping platform.

As well as pond-dipping, people of all ages will be able to observe the wide variety of bird and aquatic wildlife in the area.

There will also be some planting as well as the installation of seats, nest boxes and bat boxes.

FOPP Chairman Margaret Stainsby said: “This is fantastic news because this section of the park has been cut off to people and now they can enjoy what it has to offer.

“It’s an ideal location for pond-dipping and there are some magnificent views down the lake.

“Once everything is in place, hopefully we will be able to take school parties down there to teach them about wildlife in the water and give them the opportunity to put in their nets.

“We will also do some planting around the edge of the lake to make it a prettier place to visit and more wildlife friendly. It would be great if we could tempt the otters from the nearby river into the area.”

Support for the application came from Northumberland Wildlife Trust and EcoNorth, which will carry out the works. The expected completion date is next spring.

Since its formation in November 2005, FOPP has undertaken a number of projects to make the park even more of a haven for people and wildlife.

Recently, its members and volunteers on the day did some extra planting in the Field of Hope section near the Memorial Hall car park.

More than 1,000 daffodil bulbs were planted in drifts between the trees to give the area a more natural look, adding to the 4,500 from last year.

The Chairman thanked all those who turned up to dig holes and plant the bulbs.