Wildlife Conservation

People in the Darlington area are being invited to rise to the challenge of enhancing the Nature Conservation potential of a little known hidden woodland and wetland on the west side of Darlington.

The site on a sloping hillside overlooking the Tees valley with views of the Richmond Hills once formed part of the formal gardens of the Elm Ridge mansion. Over the past 125 years it has reverted to a much wilder condition.  It now forms part of the extensive grounds of Elm Ridge Methodist Church. Church members are inviting the wider community to join with them in finding out more about the existing wildlife on the site, exploring ways in which the site can be managed for nature conservation and to enable it’s use for observation, education and enjoyment.

 The Church Council has sought the advice of the Durham Wildlife Trust who have agreed to work with them in the Elm Ridge Nature and Community Partnership.  Initial funding for a Project of £12,600 has been donated by a Charitable Trust at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, “for development of relic woodland and wetland on the premises for ecological and community benefits.

All who would like to find out more or contribute ideas to the project  are invited to a “Nature and Community” event on Sunday 17 March at 2.30pm  in the Hall at Elm Ridge Methodist Church where Jodie Morgan, Conservation Project Officer of the Durham Wildlife Trust, who will be leading the work on the project , will outline her thoughts on a way forward, listen to  ideas and suggestions, and explore ways in which offers of help can best be used. Light refreshments will be available and the event will finish by 4pm.

Rev. John Howard, Chair of the Partnership Project group said:
“We are very appreciative of the generous financial award from the Charitable Trust. Without their assistance, which has enabled us to commission the expertise of the Wildlife Trust, we could not even have contemplated taking on a project of this scale.”

Jodie Morgan, Durham Wildlife Trust conservation project officer said:
 “Community projects like these are very beneficial, as not only do they save greenspaces that are disappearing, improve the beauty of the site and increase biodiversity. They also bring people together for a good cause and help to create a peaceful and safe space to enjoy for generations to come.”

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