The area was a dark and dismal green area planted by housing developers and left as a nature area. Unfortunately, the trees and shrubs were not ideal for encouraging wildlife or indeed to make it a pleasant place to walk. The residents decided to set up a community group to deal with the problem.
The Friends of Red House Ramble was created and within five years, with support from North Tyneside Council and more than 200 household members, have taken a dark, unloved and neglected space and turned it into a beautiful, welcoming natural area, suitable for people and wildlife alike.
Gone are the large ash and sycamore tress that are not good habitat for small birds, replaced by more welcoming hawthorn, field maple and hazel. Gone are the snowberries with their inedible white berries, replaced by plants such as elderflower, wild cherry, rowan and roses, that provide berries and other delights for birds and small mammals (also the humans with their homemade elderflower cordial and blackberry jelly.
The group works closely with local schools and youth organisations growing wildflowers, with the aim of encouraging them to start their own wildlife gardens. We also got our name and logo challenging a local school to come up with ideas.
Part of he Ramble contains an orchard wit pear, apple, plums and damson, some donated by members who ask for them for Christmas and birthday presents and in one case, an apple tree planted by a member in memory of her dog who she used to walk on the Ramble.
The Friends of Red House Ramble are committed to biodiversity and shaping the environment. Apple planting has been considered from a wildlife perspective, with the young members creating habitats for bees, butterflies, small birds and mammals. Also, the paths throughout the site have been created from chippings and logs from the large trees that were removed.
“The Ramble is a place to gather, work, socialise, walk and enjoy the tranquillity. We appreciate and the opportunity to meet others whilst helping to maintain a green environment for all”.”
The work on the Ramble has also helped people get active, with members referring to the woodchip path maintenance as a ‘Rural Gym’. Surprisingly, these ae some of the more popular days, with members lining up to ferry wheelbarrows up and down the paths (so far 100s of tons of woodchip).
The group has benefitted from hedge saplings from the Woodland Trust, a grant of £1,500 from the Community Foundation, funding from Northumbrian Water and seeds from Kew Gardens. We are also eternally grateful for the support we have received from North Tyneside Council, the local councillor, committee members and not forgetting the 1,000s of hours put in by volunteers.