Bumper lottery grant for nature reserves

Hauxley building design by Brightblue Studio.
Hauxley building design by Brightblue Studio.

A bumper £417,400 lottery grant will create a Dynamic Druridge for nature lovers and wildlife.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has received the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build an innovative Wildlife Discovery Centre at Hauxley Reserve, as well as restore habitats at sites along Druridge Bay.

The Druridge Bay coastline, which stretches from Amble to Lynemouth Bay, is known for its beautiful beaches and rolling dunes, while inland there are wetland nature reserves and landscapes that have changed little since Anglo Saxon times. The area is renowned for its birdlife and is home to other species, such as otters, red squirrels and great crested newts.

The discovery centre will be built within the landscape as an eco-build, with the potential to be the greenest building in the North East, using locally grown and traditional building materials. It will enable the wildlife charity to host a programme of recreational, educational and volunteering activities designed to re-connect people with nature and the wider landscape.

Designed by North Shields based architects Brightblue Studio, the centre will be a unique coastal wildlife-watching hub and will replace the building destroyed in an arson attack in 2010. It is scheduled to open in summer 2016.

In addition, the project will restore, recreate and reconnect habitats across the trust’s five nature reserves along the Bay — Hauxley, Cressell Pond and Foreshore, Druridge Pools, East Chevington and Linton Lane.

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East Ivor Crowther said: “We’re delighted to support the trust’s plans to build a robust and sustainable future for the Druridge Bay area, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

“The new visitor centre and fantastic opportunities to get involved will go a long way in equipping the local community with the skills and passion they need in their roles as custodians of our wonderful natural heritage.”

Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Mike Pratt said: “This wonderful funding will see a large part of our ambitious plan to improve everyone’s experience of wildlife and nature on Druridge Bay finally being realised. As well as the Wildlife Discovery Centre and other improvements at Hauxley, habitats and access will be enhanced at all our coastal reserves along the Bay.

“We all hope this funding marks the first of several steps toward realising a vision of making Druridge Bay one of the best places in the North of England to see wildlife. It will help us bring together local communities, visitors and, of course, the wildlife of the Bay.”

You can follow the build’s progress at www.facebook.com/HauxleyNatureReserve