Wildlife in Weetslade

Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) is starting Spring early this year by hosting events in and around Northumberland to encourage people to go outdoors and become involved in wildlife-related activities. A recent event – a Weetslade guided walk – was held at Weetslade Country Park, Great Lime Road, Dudley on Thursday 14 March.
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The walk itself – described on the trust’s website as “a relaxing and informative walk around the park” – was led by Community Events Coordinator Francis who said, “The trust has been running these events for several years and they are now more popular than ever”. She went on to say, “These events also help people to understand the work that NWT does in Northumberland and how it is benefitting wildlife conservation in the area”.

The group of participants – who had booked a place on the walk via the trust’s website for a nominal fee of £3 – was met by Francis at the arranged time of 11 am on what was a wet Thursday morning. Francis led the group around the park pointing out the grasslands, woodlands, and various viewpoints whilst providing a supporting and informative narrative.

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Early into the walk, Francis stopped to draw the group’s attention to a large mound covered in emerging daffodils and explained, “The mound has been created by NWT volunteers and then planted with 6,000 wild daffodils by local schoolchildren”. When asked why the daffodils were not fully flowering at this time of year Francis explained, “The daffodils are wild and native to the UK, so they are more aligned with our climate than the imported varieties we are familiar with”. Francis also added, “Wild daffodil petals appear paler in colour than the garden variety and usually form in smaller clumps”.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteers constructing a new walkway at Weetslade country parkNorthumberland Wildlife Trust volunteers constructing a new walkway at Weetslade country park
Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteers constructing a new walkway at Weetslade country park

The wet weather did not seem to dampen the spirits of the walkers or the wildlife. Towards the end of the walk – which in total lasted just over an hour – the group had been treated to the sight and sounds of some rarely seen birds and had been briefed on the various flora and fauna on show along the way. An agitated-looking stoat also made an appearance.

Francis paused at one point and said, “It’s amazing how here in the middle of North Tyneside we can hear the song of a Skylark, look up, and see Skylarks and Lapwings flying overhead in the same view”. Yellow Hammer, Meadow Pipit, and Great Tit also made an appearance during the walk – much to the delight of the eager ornithologists in the group.

At the end of the walk, Francis gave a brief overview of other outdoor activities NWT has organised across the Spring. These included events at Northumberlandia, Hauxley Wildlife Centre, and West Chevington.

Full details – including fees and terms and conditions – of all upcoming events can be found on the Northumberland Wildlife Trust website.

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