Bluebells in Longacre Wood
Longacre Wood is a fragment of woodland that was once part of the Ravensworth Estate and has managed to survive the development of national road and rail links over the centuries. It is a link in a green corridor of other similar sites bringing wildlife from the wider countryside into the urban area. On one side you can see the Tyne Marshalling Yards and main north/south railway line and on the other the route of the A1, perhaps the busiest stretch of road in the north east.
This wide strip of land was the line of the old A1. The trees here are the youngest on the site. The plants that you will spot along the way are common ones that live in open areas: vetches, wild parsnip and common centaury. This type of habitat is also very good for butterflies in summer, look out for meadow brown and common blue.
Middle aged woodland
This part of the woodland was planted about 30 years ago. The ground here is damper than that of the young woodland. Along the open edges you will find spectacular stands of common spotted and northern marsh orchids. The birds seen here include willow warbler, blackcap and whitethroat.
You will immediately be struck by the difference that one step makes as you progress through into the mature woodland of, oak, birch, ash and others. In the summer, ferns grow under the mature trees and in the spring, you will find drifts of bluebells ramsons and wood anemone. Bird life includes garden warbler, treecreeper, and chiffchaff.
The large drifts of bluebells are a fragile habitat in the mature woodland and require careful management of the trees to maintain it. Coppicing the hazel and removing a number of mature sycamore trees in future years will help to improve the bluebell population for future visitors to enjoy.
Grid Reference: NZ 256 582
Gateshead Council Countryside Team
Waste Services and Ground Maintenance,
Local Environmental Services,
Park Road, Gateshead
Phone: 0191 433 7413 or 0191 433 7441
Thornley Woodlands Visitor Centre
Monday - Friday 10am - 2pm
Saturday and Sunday 1pm - 4pm
Phone: 01207 545 212
Volunteer Countryside Ranger Coordinator
Phone: 0191 433 3524