A partnership project has breathed new life into a local north east park.
The Wear Rivers Trust and Environment Agency have worked together to make improvements to Memorial Park near Stanley.
In the 1950s, Stanley Burn, which flows through South Moor Memorial Park, was diverted into a culvert to make way for a communal paddling pool, which was used for around 15 years and then buried and forgotten.
This new project has now removed the paddling pool and returned the river to its natural channel, creating new high quality habitat for fish and invertebrates while also slowing the flow of the watercourse and increasing flood storage.
Nearby residents of Stanley are also enjoying improved year-round access with a new 300m footpath and two new footbridges.
And work is planned in early 2018 to further improve the instream habitat for fish and to naturalise the bankside habitat.
Steve Hudson of Wear Rivers Trust said: “It’s great to be involved in a project which offers so many benefits to the local community.
“By working alongside multiple partners through the Greening the Twizell Partnership, we have managed to improve instream habitat, reduce flood risk and provide new all ability access routes for everyone to enjoy this previously difficult to reach woodland park area.”
The project has cost more than £90,000 and is made up of funding from the Environment Agency, Stanley Town Council, Durham County Council and Stanley Area Action Partnership. It’s one part of a four-part project in the area which has also included wetland and pond creation and natural flood management measures.
Karen Fisher, Biodiversity Technical Officer with the Environment Agency in the North East, added: “The project has been delivered with Wear Rivers Trust and is an excellent example of partnership working that has delivered multiple benefits.
“This includes habitat creation, lengthening the watercourse, new bridges and a seating area, creating a green area for the local community to use.”