Woodland charity to safeguard ancient site close to old hospital

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The Woodland Trust is to protect a 50-hectare former parkland near an old hospital in Northumberland to allow nature to thrive into the future.

The UK’s largest woodland conservation charity will plant new trees at the South Park site, near Prudhoe, and give more protection for the existing ancient woodland.

The historic site used to be a pleasure park as part of Prudhoe Hall before becoming a hospital, which at its peak had over 1,000 staff and 1,500 patients. The site closed in 2005 but with a few buildings remaining as part of the existing hospital.

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The site has a strong industrial heritage with horse drawn railways still evident in the woods and open meadow.

South Park site, near PrudhoeSouth Park site, near Prudhoe
South Park site, near Prudhoe

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Kevin Fairclough, site manager at the Woodland Trust said: “This is an exciting opportunity, a perfect piece of land to protect and enhance nature.“Some of the planting we will do is around mature woods – these new trees will provide a buffer or protection, making the site more resilient to the likes of climate change.“The area is a great mix of existing old woodland, paths and watercourses along with open meadows and fields which we plan to enhance for the local community.“We very much want to bring local people into our plans as they will be able to enjoy the site, or even get involved in volunteering, for generations to come.”Public consultation starts Friday, October 14, at St Mary Magdalene Parish Hall, 3 Front Street, Prudhoe, between 12pm and 8pm for anyone who would like to attend.