Local Nature Reserves are sited on Council owned land and are declared by the Council in partnership with Natural England.
They are managed with 'the conservation of nature and the provision of opportunities for study, research or enjoyment of nature as the priority concern'.
The Council manages the Local Nature Reserves to protect and enhance their biodiversity whilst encouraging their use for informal recreation and education. We also have responsibility for identifying potential new sites as Local Nature Reserves and making new declarations.
There are currently seven Local Nature Reserves in the Borough:
Harton Downhill Local Nature Reserve is known locally as Blackberry Hills and is situated by the Coast Road in the Horsley Hill area of South Shields.
In 2003/04, children from Downhill Infant School and Cheviot Junior School explored the site with the Countryside Officer. This provided inspiration for art workshops with local artist Jim Roberts.
Using the children's designs Jim created 12 metal posts which have been placed out on the reserve to guide the grass cutters around them, leaving a little more of the vegetation on site uncut, which will mean more wild flowers and more wildlife.
Marsden Old Quarry Local Nature Reserve is situated just opposite Lizard Lane Caravan Park. This site has received considerable grant funding from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund to carry out a series of improvements, which have included:
Removing all graffiti from the cliff faces
Improving access points
Installing new signs and interpretation boards
Managing problem plant species such as Japanese Knotweed
Creating new areas of precious magnesian limestone grassland and surfacing muddy paths
Recent public events on the site have included a Family Fun Day, quiz and treasure hunt, practical management tasks and a wild flower walk.
Tilesheds Local Nature Reserve is situated off Tileshed Lane between Boldon and Cleadon. Close to the reserve Countryside Volunteers South Tyneside (CVST) have created an 'edible landscape' by planting out old and unusual varieties of fruit trees for both human and animal visitors to eat and enjoy.
Whitburn Point Local Nature Reserve is situated in the Whitburn Coastal Park just east of the Shearwater Estate.
The reserve was declared in 2003 and is managed by the National Trust. The Whitburn Observatory is situated on the Local Nature Reserve and is used by Durham Bird Club and other interested members of the community for watching sea birds and mammals.
We are planning to improve and expand our resource of Local Nature Reserves and the first step is to produce management plans for the existing reserves. Over the next 12 months, draft plans will be written for the following sites, and consulted on:
Cleadon Hills Local Nature Reserve
Harton Downhill Local Nature Reserve
Marsden Old Quarry Local Nature Reserve
Primrose Local Nature Reserve
Station Burn Local Nature Reserve
Tilesheds Local Nature Reserve
Whitburn Point Local Nature Reserve
The management plans will set out what is already known about each site including its history, ecology and infrastructure, leading on to what we would like to achieve on the site and how. Drafts of each plan will be sent out for consultation and this is your opportunity to get involved.
We will be inviting comments and suggestions for each site in turn and would welcome input from site users to help us plan how to get the most out of each site both for people and wildlife.
Some aspects of the management plans will be aspirational, meaning that we may not yet have the resources to implement everything we would like to do, but the plans will be used as a tool to help us gain the support and resources needed to manage them more effectively.