• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

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Tree Planting And Regeneration Work Underway At Popular County Durham Wildlife Reserve

Kate Culverhouse and Louise Harrison of the Banks Group at the Oakenshaw Wildlife ReserveKate Culverhouse and Louise Harrison of the Banks Group at the Oakenshaw Wildlife Reserve

A forestry regeneration project involving planting hundreds of trees, improving waterways and carrying out essential clearance work at a popular County Durham wildlife reserve is underway.

After operating the Hundred Acre surface mine near Willington in the 1990s, Banks Mining created the Oakenshaw Wildlife Reserve, a well-loved community park which includes water features, wooded areas and a network of footpaths, and which seeks to support the local area by promoting a range of varied wildlife habitats and biodiversity.

Like many areas of the North East, Storm Arwen caused damage within the Reserve, particularly to the forestry areas within the 38-hectare site.

With the support of specialist contractors Tilhill Forestry, Banks Mining has since invested in enhancing the Park for its visitors by planting a further 1,300 native broadleaf trees and Scots Pine trees while also maintaining and redesigning other areas of the forestry to encourage more light to reach the ground.

This supports flora and fauna, increases air flow through the woodland and reduces the chances of diseases coming into the area.

Further work has focussed on increasing and improving drainage to help support the Reserve over the winter period when high levels of rain occur and enhancements to the Pond pontoons and board walks, as well as the tracks have also been carried out to improve access for people enjoying the Reserve.

More than 41,000 trees were planted as part of the original creation of the Oakenshaw Wildlife Reserve, with Scots Pine, Sitka Spruce, Larch, Sessile Oak, Common Alder, White Birch, Rowan Holly, Hawthorn and Hazel included in the mix of species that was used.

Louise Harrison, contracts manager at the Banks Group, says: “The Oakenshaw Wildlife Reserve has been a very well-used community resource for almost three decades and is a prime example of a quality restoration that can result from surface mining and quarrying projects.

“Banks Mining is proud to continue to support projects from our mining legacy and of the wide range of invaluable community assets that have been created along the way.

“The work we’ve recently undertaken will ensure Oakenshaw continues to be a fantastic place for the many thousands of people that use it every year, as well as for the wildlife that make their homes in its valuable habitats.

“Oakenshaw is a wonderful place to walk, play or just spend time, and we hope our continued support for it will help to ensure it stays in the best possible condition for visitors and residents for many years to come.”