Outdoor area continues to grow

EFFORTS to restore a wildlife area near two Ponteland schools are continuing to flourish.

Ponteland High and Middle Schools have been successful in their funding bids and pathways, fencing and nest boxes have been installed at the mini nature reserve off Callerton Lane, which includes a pond.

Plans are also progressing for a dipping platform and an information board.

Pond clearing works and more planting will continue in September when the great-crested newts leave the area to find a place to hibernate over the winter.

Business Manager at Ponteland High School Gordon Baldwin said: “We are pleased with the development of the reserve and hopefully we will have a grand opening soon after the start of next term.

“There are a wide variety of pond life, plants and birds in this area and these will be identified on the information board. The dipping platform will allow pupils to see further into the pond.

“To enhance the community spirit aspect of the project, we are looking to get groups such as the Friends of Ponteland Park more involved.”

The area had become overgrown and started attracting litter so staff and pupils began to clean and tidy it up two years ago.

Keen nature watcher Hannah Patterson, a Ponteland Middle School pupil at the time, spotted a great-crested newt and their presence was later confirmed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

Since then, the organisation has worked with the schools to make it a designated reserve.

The students’ work was recognised at last month’s LOVE Northumberland Awards when they were runner-up in the ‘Best young people’s project’ category.