Wildlife centre build gets underway with first bale

Christine Hall (Northumberland Wildlife Trust Hauxley Volunteer), Mike Pratt (Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive), Henry Amos (architect, Bright Blue Studio) and Chris Mullin (Northumberland Wildlife Trust president and chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund's North East Committee). Picture by Anna Williams
Christine Hall (Northumberland Wildlife Trust Hauxley Volunteer), Mike Pratt (Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive), Henry Amos (architect, Bright Blue Studio) and Chris Mullin (Northumberland Wildlife Trust president and chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund's North East Committee). Picture by Anna Williams

The first straw bale has been put in place to kick-start the construction of Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s new Wildlife Discovery Centre.

Author, journalist and former North-East MP Chris Mullin, who is president of Northumberland Wildlife Trust as well as chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s North East Committee, was delighted to be given the task of manoeuvring the bale into position, which is no mean feat, on the wildlife charity’s Hauxley reserve at Druridge Bay.

The bale was placed on a wooden base plate and held in place by a row of wooden spikes made from hazel trees grown on the reserve.

The base plate rests on a gabion baskets filled with stone from Howick Quarry, which in turn sit on top of a foundation trench.

Once the bale was in place, Chris said: “This is going to be a brilliant facility. I can’t wait to see it up and running.”

Earlier this year, the Trust received a grant of £417,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Dynamic Druridge project.

A large part of this is being spent on the new building, which is being constructed from the landscape and has the potential to be the greenest building in the North East, using locally-grown and traditional building materials.

During the building process, the entire reserve is classed as a construction site, so will be closed to all visitors until spring next year to comply with the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive.

Staff and volunteers from the Trust will not only be working on the new centre, but also across the whole reserve – installing new footpaths to create a circular walk, creating new viewing screens and carrying out vital maintenance work on the existing hides.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/HauxleyNatureReserve to follow the build’s progress.