Funding shores up park

Richard Pow (left) from the Forestry Commission, and Graham Mitcheson, Northumberland County Council Coastal Officer, on the sand dunes in Druridge Bay with woodland in the background, allocated a �100,000 FC grant.
Richard Pow (left) from the Forestry Commission, and Graham Mitcheson, Northumberland County Council Coastal Officer, on the sand dunes in Druridge Bay with woodland in the background, allocated a �100,000 FC grant.

ACCESS to a scenic north Northumberland beauty spot is set for a boost following the award of a £115,000 grant from the Forestry Commission.

The footpath network at Druridge Bay Country Park is to be improved and extended, with new multi-use routes also created for bikers and horse riders.

The grant will additionally support the planting of three hectares of new native woodland, along with work to open up views from paths by carrying out limited felling work, clearing wind-blown timber, new signage and better drainage to ensure trails don’t become boggy.

Colin Grayson, Forestry Commission grants and regulations manager, said: “What has been achieved at Druridge Bay since open cast mining ended has been quite amazing. Once it was a powerhouse of industry, but now it has been transformed into a stunningly beautiful place. This grant will significantly upgrade access within the park with six paths improved or created.”

Trees cover one quarter of the 130-hectare country park, which is managed by Northumberland County Council.

Deep coal mining began in the area in the 19th century, replaced by open cast operations in the latter part of the 20th century, which ceased in the 1980s. Reclamation of the landscape has proceeded apace ever since and now visitors and wildlife flock to the country park.

Mike Jeffrey, the county council’s countryside access manager, said: “Druridge Bay Country Park is a fantastic recreational resource for walkers riders and cyclists. The improvements that this grant will bring over the next few years will extend and improve the opportunities for all users to enjoy the park and its woodlands.”

Tree planting and access improvement works have started and will be phased over the course of the next three years.