Longacre Wood contains a fantastic area of Bluebells. The Wood is a fragment of woodland that was once part of the larger Ravensworth Estate and has managed to survive the adjacent development of national road and rail links.
The Woodland is part of a green wildlife corridor which enables wildlife from the wider countryside to move 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.
The Wood is a mix of different types of woodland. There is a wide strip of woodland which 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
Some parts of the woodland are middle-aged being planted about 30 years ago. The ground here is damper and 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.
The site is accessible from Smithy Lane, Lamesley near post code NE9 6LD although there is no parking at this point.
There is very limited off-road parking along a path into the site off Lamesley Road, Birtley.
Grid Reference: NZ 256 582
Gateshead Council Countryside Team
Waste Services and Ground Maintenance,
Local Environmental Services,
Park Road, Gateshead
0191 433 7412