Pleas for respect as birds return to site

Skylarks are back in abundance at Weetslade Country Park, which is welcome news to Northumberland Wildlife Trust - but a plea has been issued.
Weetslade Country Park skylark paddock - Geoff Dobbins

Newly constructed skylark paddock at Weetslade Country Park. Image by: Geoff Dobbins.

At the start of this year, a team of volunteers from the wildlife charity created four skylark breeding enclosures (covering three hectares) with landscape contractors W L Straughan & Son Ltd installing a new path between the paddocks and improving drainage to prevent flooding.

With the arrival of the skylarks, the area, which includes the four breeding enclosures, has been closed to the public allowing a safe place for the birds to breed and thereby enhance skylark populations in the area.

The Trust is now urging people visiting with or without dogs not to enter the enclosures during the breeding period as they are ground nesting birds and easily disturbed and distressed.

The gates will re-open in August allowing everybody to enjoy the space again.

Skylark populations are declining rapidly and are now a red listed species of concern.

Situated just to the north of Gosforth Park, Weetslade Country Park was developed on the former pit heap of Weetslade Colliery.

The shallow sloping sides of the hill contain areas of grassland, scrub and woodland.  At the foot of the slopes to the west side of the site there are three developing reed beds, home to many common damselflies and dragonflies.  Many birds are present on the site such as grey partridge, meadow pipit and skylark. 

The highest point on the site is 95m above sea level; prominent on the hilltop is the drill head sculpture, a nod to the site’s mining past.

Views to the North Sea and the Cheviot Hills are possible on a clear day with Newcastle spread out to the South.