Proposals to preserve the Bluebell Wood

AMBITIOUS plans to open up access to a green area on the outskirts of Morpeth have been unveiled by a community organisation.

The Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) is seeking to conserve and preserve the Bluebell Woods over the next few years with an investment of £120,000.

The woods stretch from Morpeth to Pegswood.

The plans include improvements to overgrown and waterlogged footpaths, new amenities such as seats and benches, illustrative signage and interpretation panels.

Alongside the proposal is a woodland management and conservation programme drawn up by retired Newcastle University professor and Morpeth resident Alan Davison.

Funding has already been secured for the first phase of work with a £40,000 grant from Natural England and a further contribution of £20,000 from GMDT, a community-based organisation working in partnership to deliver a programme of economic and social benefits in and around Morpeth.

GMDT environment director, Rod Mathieson, said: “This is such a tremendously exciting project.

“The Bluebell Woods are an absolute gem both ecologically and historically, but access to the public has become difficult and perhaps uninviting because paths have become overgrown, waterlogged and in some cases, inaccessible.

“What we want to do is to encourage far greater use of what is such a wonderful amenity on the doorstep of Morpeth, by people of all ages and interests.

“There is so much that people don’t know about the woods – the wonderful walks, the industrial past and the part they have played in the social and recreational life of the town for hundreds of years.”

A feasibility study and mapping of the woodland, including its flora and fauna, and the first phase of improvements are scheduled to be completed by next spring.