July 26, 2008

Bid to Transform Riverbank Stretch

A DRIVE has been launched to raise pounds 1.5m to transform a mile-long stretch of riverbank only two miles from Durham city centre.

The 168 acres at Low Burnhall, Croxdale, was bought earlier this year by the Woodland Trust.

It will become a mix of habitats, including a substantial area of new native woodland, for the benefit of wildlife and for people.

Funding is expected to come from a wide range of sources, including grants, but a local fundraising appeal aims to raise pounds 50,000.

People are being urged to contribute ideas for the future of Low Burnhall.

Sara Lyons, trust regional development officer, said: "We have a golden opportunity to create more new wildlife habitats and open up access for local people. This is a really special site. There is existing ancient woodland on a steep slope above the River Wear which is a very precious wildlife habitat.

"Low Burnhall is a chance to bring native woodland to the doorstep of Durham for future generations to enjoy."

Plans include planting 80,000 trees and creating a wildflower meadow next to the A167. Public access will be opened up alongside the river.

Low Burn Hall Farm adjoins the conservation area covering the city of Durham and Shincliffe.

The move comes after the Forestry Commission pledged pounds 500,000 to back the trust's plans to plant a 200-acre extension to its existing Elemore Wood at Easington Lane, near Houghton-le- Spring.

The new planting of 100,000 trees and shrubs will be called White Hill Woods and means there will be continuous woodland cover for two and a half miles between Easington Lane and Littletown in County Durham.

We have a golden opportunity to create new wildlife habitats and open up access for local people

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.