The next phase of a community-led project to enhance habitats and improve community access in the upper reaches of Newcastle’s Ouseburn is underway, after receiving funding from Northumbrian Water.

Woolsington Parish Council, which is leading the Parish Ponds project, has received £3,300 from the water company’s bluespaces scheme, which delivers investment in publicly accessible areas around water. 


In partnership with the landowner (Taylor Wimpey & Persimmon Homes), the Parish Council is producing a five-year plan with the objective of ultimately creating a nature reserve at the Ponds site. To date, the Project has also been supported, by Newcastle City Council, the Environment Agency, Tyne Rivers Trust, as well as Northumbrian Water.     


The first phase of the Project, including biodiversity improvements and community engagement, has already led to the return of water bird species to the Ponds, including swans, mallards, grey heron, and Canada goose. 


Supported by bluespaces funding, which sees Northumbrian Water investing above and beyond regulatory requirements in publicly accessible areas around water, the next phase of the Project has just begun.  


This will see the creation of a new woodland walk, allowing more opportunities for visitors to engage and view nature. The new pathway will also enable people to enjoy the surroundings without encroaching on the waterside, thereby causing less disturbance to wildlife, especially in the bird breeding season.  


The initial task of creating a meandering pathway through approximately 400m of woodland, together with a small clearing with log seating, has now been completed by Haywood Contracting, a local specialist environmental contractor.


Additionally, Northumbrian Water’s funding will support habitat management and further community activities and volunteering. This phase is expected to take 12 months to complete. 


Stephen Thompson, Water Environment Coordinator at Northumbrian Water, said: “bluespaces is all about enhancing spaces around water, making sure these areas are available and enjoyable for people, as well as helping them to become better equipped for nature to thrive.  


“The Parish Ponds project is a great example of a community working to protect a place it loves from the pressures of modern life, and we are proud to be working with Woolsington Parish Council and the other partners as they move into the next phase of their vision for the area.” 


Councillor George Pattison, Chair of Woolsington Parish Council, said: “Woolsington Parish Council is delighted to receive funding from Northumbrian Water to support its ambitions for habitat and site improvements at the Parish Ponds.  


“The entire Ponds area is a much valued, popular, community asset with varied habitats and varied biodiversity. It is accessible on foot from all areas of the Parish and as such is vital for its recreational value. We face many challenges but given the area’s importance to both nature and the community its conservation and enhancement are a priority for the Parish Council.”  


People can find out more about the bluespaces scheme, including how to apply for funding, at -