2012 FOVALD Annual Report

Friends of the Valley and Little Dene Annual Report

2012 Committee Annual Report

The Queen’s Jubilee Year (!) and one of the wettest years on record! Plus we held an event as part of Jesfest – again a first for us. So how did it all pan out?

Community events on The Valley

15 Jan 2012 – Maintenance Day

A bit earlier than usual. As well as loads of cans, bottles and refuse blown into the Dene, the big job was the removal of a very large and unsafe branch from the ash tree in the north west corner of the Valley. Thanks to Luke & Frank!

March/April 2012– Bulb display

Certainly better than the previous year!

People starting to comment on the daffodil display, plus the snowdrops & bluebells in the “wood” behind the garage.

6 May 2012 – Little Dene stream sampling – part of the Jesmond Festival

This was a repeat of an event we held in 2002 with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust. This time we borrowed equipment from Jesmond Dene Rangers and managed the event ourselves, with a small financial contribution from Jesfest.

More families turned up than we expected but we coped –  24 children plus adults.

The range of invertebrates found in the stream was similar to the previous occasion – therefore, good news! The event was a success – thanks to all who helped.

3 June 2012 Queen’s Jubilee – Big Picnic

Our main event of the year!

Despite the weather being cool and windy, between 150-250 people congregated in groups all over the Valley, in what was a really good turn-out of residents. Big range in the quality of the picnics, with Rectory Road residents winning accolades for top notch grub!

Other Items

  • Unwanted Bluebells. It was suggested to High West Jesmond residents that any unwanted bluebell bulbs could be replanted in the wood behind the garage. April-May 2013 will give an indication of how many residents took up the offer!
  • Daffodil planting. 200-300 daffodils were planted under the chestnut trees on the Newlands Road frontage in December. It may be 2014 before these are seen at their best.
  • Magnolia  planting. Two magnolias have been transplanted in the last year – both appear to have taken. So try & spot the flowers in spring!

One consequence of the very wet 2012 has been the transfer of more dog walking from the Little Moor (pond land!) to the Valley. This has extended social networks and resulted in more people enjoying the Valley’s environment.

The natural environment seems to be developing each year as the newer shrubs, trees & indigenous plants continue to thrive. Bird nesting activity in 2012 appeared to be up to usual levels. The field maples autumn display in 2012 was quite spectacular!

Committee of Friends of the Valley and Little Dene
December 2012

2011 FOVALD Annual Report

Friends of the Valley and the Little Dene Annual Report

2011 Committee Annual Report

The Valley continues to be well used. 2011 has seen it all (!) – sledging; snowmen making; sunbathing; young people chatting; individuals relaxing; students chilling out before & after exams; football, cricket & rugby games; frisby throwing; plus BBQs – large & small.

Of course, the daily users are the dog walkers and I think that we can reasonably confidently report that the great majority now use the bins!

The trees and shrubs continue to thrive. The surrounds to the Valley are really thickening up in places, which gives the smaller birds a safer nesting environment – blackbirds, thrushes, wrens and dunnocks have all been regularly spotted.

The sparrow hawks were nesting again this year, bats have been spotted and woodpeckers have been seen and heard in the Little Dene. There are several shrubs on the Valley that attract butterflies – perhaps in 2012 we can record the different types.

Community events on The Valley

In chronological order, the “events” were as follows:

30 Jan 2011: The Valley and the Little Dene – annual clean up.

The amount of rubbish collected each year seems to be diminishing. Not only is there less rubbish left on the valley but the volume blown down the backlanes and into the Little Dene appears to be waning. However, we still filled a dozen or more large black bags! Thanks to all those who took part.

Feb – March – April 2011: Spring Bulb Display

Perhaps a little disappointing considering the number of bulbs planted and the communal effort that was involved. However, bulbs get stronger and multiply – and we can add more to continually improve the display.

19 March 2011: Jesmond Festival Parade

Several Committee members acted as voluntary traffic stewards.

Late Spring 2011: Shrub & Tree Planting

Six variegated and plain hollies were donated by residents as well as a magnolia and a maple. The hollies and maple found convenient spots in the Little Dene where they should complement last year’s “whip” planting scheme.

The magnolia found a sheltered location on the Valley. We should start to see the distinctive flowers in 2012 or 2013.

11 June 2011: Community & Family Fun Day!

What a day! One of the wettest days of 2011 failed to dampen the enthusiasm of all those who participated – stallholders, games organizers, musicians and, of course, all those residents and families who turned out and supported the event.

Despite the weather everybody seemed to enjoy it. The bonus was that income exceeded expenditure. A big thank you to all!

September 2011: A request to map all trees & shrubs

We received a request from Newcastle University’s Landscape Department to consider mapping and evaluating all the planting on the Valley & the Little Dene as a student project.

23 October 2011: Bulb Planting

Another 600+ “larger” bulbs were planted in easily visible locations that should complement those planted last year. Despite relatively short notice, the promotional flyer enticed quite a few residents and families to bring bulbs along and join in.

Prospects for 2012

For discussion. Initial priorities may be:

• Annual maintenance day/clean up – mid January
• Ownership of the south side of the Little Dene
• Jesmond Community Festival – April/May. We have been asked whether we could organize an event as part of the Festival.

Committee of Friends of the Valley and Little Dene
December 2011

Blue House roundabout plan ‘over the top’

Petition against plans started

The following article was published on the BBC News Tyne & Wear website.


A Newcastle Cycling Campaign member made a composite of a map and the council plan to show the scale of the proposals – Newcastle City Council/Google

A petition against plans to build a large road junction on land protected by an act of parliament has been signed by hundreds of people.

The Blue House roundabout, on the outskirts of Newcastle, is congested and unsafe, the city council has said.

The authority proposes moving it and expanding it on to the Town Moor.

Sarah Edgar, who started the petition, said the scheme was “environmentally damaging, very expensive and is completely over the top in its scale“.

The 1988 Newcastle Upon Tyne Town Moor Act prevents development on the moor without permission of the city’s Freemen.

They have been approached for comment.

Campaigners are unhappy with plans to build the roundabout on sections of Little Moor (shown here) and Dukes Moor

The Labour-run council said the current roundabout was congested, did not work well for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists and had one of the worse safety records in the city.

The authority said it had a responsibility to ensure the junction becomes safer and does not “constrain growth” in housing and employment.

The plans are at an early consultation stage, it said.

The Blue House roundabout, on the edge of Gosforth in Newcastle, is unsafe and congested and has to be changed the council says – Newcastle City Council

Hundreds of people had commented online and the response had been “overwhelmingly negative”, Mrs Edgar said.

Residents have called it “completely out of proportion” and a “monumental and misguided waste of money”.

Newcastle City Council has been accused of misleading residents by picturing mature trees in plans showing how the roundabout would look – Newcastle City Council

The consultation period – due to end on 21 August – was a “very short window for response” when many were away on holiday, Mrs Edgar said.

“This is an irreversible decision that cuts into our great city’s precious green space.”

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Greg Stone said the plans were “more radical and have a far bigger ‘footprint’ than many had envisaged”.

“We share local anxiety that this has a disproportionate impact on the Town Moor – a unique jewel in our city’s crown,” he said.

We would welcome clarity as to whether the Freemen support this proposal.”

The above article was published on the BBC News Tyne & Wear website.

Newcastle City Council announces plans to build on Town Moor

Shock plans announced to expand Blue House Roundabout and build on green open space of Town Moor

Residents in High West Jesmond, Gosforth and other parts of Jesmond have received official notification of plans by Newcastle City Council to expand the Blue House Roundabout which will involve building on part of the Town Moor and major work to Jesmond Dene Road and Haddricks Mill junctions.

The letter from Graham Grant, Head of Transport Investment at Newcastle City Council also announced a public engagement period between 25 July – 21 August 2016.

Consultation during school holiday period

The letter refers to a short public engagement period which coincides with the summer school holidays when a number of people may be away.

There are a series of drop-in sessions scheduled at local venues and we urge you to attend these, ask questions and make your voice heard!

You can download the full letter from Graham Grant here.

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association will be seeking the views of affected residents in order that we can represent local concerns. More to follow.