Concerns raised over environmental work at Bishop Middleham nature reserve (From The Advertiser Series)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Concerns raised over environmental work at Bishop Middleham nature reserve
A WILDLIFE charity has reassured the public that work being carried out in a County Durham nature reserve is in the site’s best interests.
Durham Wildlife Trust made the assurance to The Northern Echo after a dog walker raised concerns over a fence that was put up at Bishop Middleham Quarry, near Sedgefield, yesterday (Monday, September 23).
Dawn Davies, of Ferryhill, said she was shocked and upset when she discovered the barbed wire-topped fence during one of her daily walks at the quarry with her ten-year-old son, Jake, and Golden Retriever, Max.
She was also angry to discover a tractor had been on to the designated site of special scientific interest and feels Durham Wildlife Trust, which has managed the reserve since the 1970s, should have told the public of its intentions.
“As we were walking down the steps to the nature walk we were confronted with this fence,” she said.
“It is an eyesore and I can’t understand why it has to be so close to the path.
“This is a beautiful area with protected wildlife, flowers and orchids. A lot of people are going to be very upset about this.”
Bishop Middleham Quarry is considered one of country’s most important disused quarry habitats for wildlife and is rich in limestone flora, orchids, birds and butterflies.
Jim Cokill, director of Durham Wildlife Trust, said the charity had to seek permission from Natural England for any works carried out on the site to ensure no wildlife is damaged.
Permission has recently been granted for the renewal of the fence line on the boundary with neighbouring agricultural land, as well as installing a fence and kissing gates across the site to allow grazing.
Mr Cokill said the aim was to manage and preserve important grassland of botanical interest.
“This management can be done by annually cutting and raking up the arisings, but a far more sustainable way is to use grazing animals,” he said.
“The intention is to use Exmoor ponies to graze Bishop Middleham for a period each year and by doing so the wildlife on site will be allowed to thrive for many years to come.”
Mr Cokill said the charity was proud to allow free access to its nature reserves, adding: “They don’t have to be members. All the Trust asks in return is that people keep to the footpaths and keep dogs on leads.”
Comments are closed on this article.