A commemorative tree has been planted to mark the official completion of restoration work at a county park.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has been getting involved with the grass roots after carrying out the opening ceremony for the second phase of Pegswood Country Park.
The tree planting marked the completion of restoration and landscaping work at the 36.5 hectare site by Banks Mining, and the hand-over of its ongoing management to environmental charity Groundwork North East & Cumbria.
Banks Mining has established a £93,000 endowment fund to support the future management of the popular park, while Groundwork, which has a 99-year lease on the site, is now looking at ways in which it can be developed in the future for ever-wider community use.
Over 1.4km of new public footpaths have been added around the site, along with new park benches, while 575 bushes and trees have been planted along one side of the pond.
Nectar-rich grasses have also been sown to encourage and support greater bio-diversity among the insect population in the area.
Phase one of the park, which is located on land to the east of the former Pegswood surface mine, was delivered under Banks’ restoration first principle in 2003, while the mine was still operational.
A range of restoration options for phase two were developed and discussed with local communities and with representatives of the county and parish councils, and it was agreed that the existing landform and water level should be retained, with the lake area being landscaped with extra planting, footpaths, fencing and seeding.
Mr Lavery said: “I was delighted to officially open phase two of the Pegswood Country Park.
“Banks Mining have done what they said they would do and created a well-used local park land on their former opencast coal mine site, and have now handed it over to the excellent environmental charity, Groundwork North East & Cumbria, to maintain and manage.”
“I know Groundwork North East & Cumbria will do a great job in developing the park and will also provide job opportunities to local people,” he added.