Wildlife charity takes on site freehold for a pound

Cresswell Pond.
Cresswell Pond.

A quid doesn’t buy you that much these days, but a county wildlife charity has managed to scoop a bargain, picking up an area of land for that price.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has taken over the freehold of Cresswell Pond, immediately north of Cresswell Village, which is in the vicinity of one its most popular reserves (Hauxley), from Alcan Farms for the princely sum of £1.

Previously leasehold, Cresswell Pond has been managed as part of the Alcan Farms business since 1973 and is a wildlife haven for otters and breeding birds and its saline lagoon is a nationally-recognised site of specific scientific interest.

In 2011, two avocet chicks hatched their way into the record books on the site, the first born to the UK’s most northerly breeding pair.

The Trust will work with Crown Estates, which has bought the rest of the land linked to Rio Tinto’s mothballed aluminium smelter, on how the land can be best managed to protect wildlife while at the same time, continuing to offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy one of Northumberland’s hidden gems.

Duncan Hutt, head of land management at the Trust said: “We have managed the site alongside Alcan Farms for many years now, so it is wonderful that, when the land was being sold off, the company recognised our involvement and knowledge of the site, not to mention its environmental importance, and handed it over to us.”