The initial phase of the Catch My Drift project will allow the development of detailed plans to improve the land and habitat for people and wildlife on East Chevington nature reserve at Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Thanks to National Lottery players, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the project a £90,000 development grant to develop the plans with the opportunity to apply for a full grant of £415,800 in the future.
The project name is a nod to the reserve’s history as it was once the East Chevington Drift Mine (1882 - 1962) and East Chevington Opencast Coal Site from 1982 - 1994. The 185-hectare site was passed to NWT in 2003 and now contains lakes, ponds, reed beds, woodland, pasture and arable farming that are homes to nationally significant species such as marsh harrier, red squirrels and great crested newts. It is also important to the local communities who use the site as an area for walking and access to the beach and it is estimated (in its current state) 10,000 visitors go onto the site each year.
The Chevington Burn now flows through the site via the south pool, and the north pool is fed by drainage from the surrounding field. A sluice is located at the outfall of each lake to manage water levels. The site also contains a series of drains. The two water bodies are surrounded by a significant area of reed bed. This habitat is identified within the Northumberland Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) as extremely uncommon and East Chevington is named as the only large complex in the county. The reed bed is at risk of being lost as scrub is beginning to develop. Staff and volunteers are unable to gain access and physically cut and remove areas of reed to arrest ecological succession as we are currently unable to effectively lower the water table due to the impractical nature of the current sluice gates.
We are looking to create large areas of wildflower meadow and have received additional funding of £7,774 for a 4.2 hectare meadow from the Ventient Sisters North Steads Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.
The proposed plans from Biotope UK for the East Chevington nature hides can be found below along with JBA Consultings proposed masterplan. We want you to have your say, so get in touch! If you would like any further information on the project, or want to provide your input please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.