IF you go down to the woods in Pegswood, there could be plenty of surprises in store.
Groundwork North East has embarked on a project to encourage more people to explore their local woodland, and take an active part in managing it.
The Pegswood Woods project has been running for about six months, with volunteers involved in maintenance work, planting and monitoring squirrel feeders.
Children from Pegswood First School have also been helping out, about 80 villagers attended a Christmas event and Brownie and Beaver groups enjoyed Hallowe’en activities.
Now Groundwork is keen to step up the work, with plans for a Friends group, health walks and a conservation programme.
And it is holding an open day on Saturday for people to find out more.
Project Manager Laura Waugh said: “We want to get more people into the woods and walking around them. We want to do that with volunteers from the local area, who will be managing the woods for wildlife and habitats, as well as public access.
“The open day is to get people interested in the project and encourage them to find out more about it.”
The initiative is based on a similar scheme in Ashington Community Woods, which has been running successfully for about four years.
The Forestry Commission has awarded a three-year grant to support the Pegswood project and the new Friends’ group will be responsible for securing further funds to introduce more initiatives.
“We have just found out that we’ve been successful with the grant application. That is encouraging for people who want to get involved, because it means there is a great opportunity to get stuck in and make a difference,” said Ms Waugh.
“The Friends will be able to apply for funds to run other projects, such as education or health work.”
Health walks will begin in the woods in April and will run every Friday morning.
For more information about any of the woodland plans, or to get involved, call into the Groundwork base at Pegswood Union Depot on Saturday, from 1pm.