Celebrating a Successful Year at Gosforth Nature Reserve

As a New Year dawns, we say thank you to the members, volunteers and funders who have helped protect the North East’s longest-running nature reserve in 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we all need nature. And that access to open spaces, wildlife and the wider outdoors is vital during tough times.

This year, the hard work and commitment of NHSN volunteer rangers kept the gates of Gosforth Nature Reserve (GNR) open for you, providing a much-needed retreat for local people of all backgrounds.

Working around the clock, an amazing 40 volunteer rangers contributed throughout the summer by welcoming visitors, sharing sightings, recording wildlife, and providing more opportunities for you to enjoy and learn about the natural world. We cannot thank them enough.

In 2020, the passion of volunteers led the reserve from strength to strength. Thanks to them and vital support from National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) visitors can now experience wildlife through the reserve’s new Beck Hide, unveiled this week. Moreover, more people are now able to discover urban wildlife through Visitor Passes, and all receive a friendly welcome courtesy of a new welcome area.

Volunteers do an incredible job at GNR and we are grateful for the support they have received from funders this year. Our heartfelt thanks go to the William Leach Charity for supplying volunteer uniforms and for ensuring that volunteers can continue their work to inspire and engage, no matter the weather.

On behalf of all Volunteer Rangers, I cannot thank the William Leech Charity enough for their support this summer. Our new uniforms keep us warm and dry, helping us welcome local people even in the worst of weather. They also ensure volunteers are recognisable, reassuring visitors that there is always someone around to answer their questions and help when needed.

Dina Schwartz, NHSN Volunteer Ranger

The support provided by players of the National Lottery has worked wonders at GNR this season. Thanks to NLHF, the new welcome area keeps volunteers warm and dry and upgraded security means that volunteers can protect the reserve and its wildlife for years to come. The new Beck Hide and boardwalks also provide a much-improved visitor experience to all who visit, helping inspire wonder in the natural world at a time when nature needs us, just as much as we need it.

Official opening with NHSN member, James, and daughter, Iona
Naming the new hide with NHSN Volunteer Rangers, Chung Chung and Ted

Support from Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out Fund also proved vital this year. Thanks to generous funding, volunteers will be able to continue vital conservation work at GNR – improving habitats to boost resident wildlife. Thanks to Northumbrian Water, a small, socially distanced team of volunteers were also able to build new boardwalks, improving access at the reserve and making it easier for visitors to experience nature on site and protect local wildlife.

Our Branch Out programme is making a positive difference and helping local projects reconnect habitats for the benefit of communities and wildlife. 

We’re immensely proud of our initiative and delighted to have recently expanded it. The two new strands of additional funding should really help reverse declines in biodiversity loss and provide renewed effort to help tackle invasive non-native species across our region.

This will all help build resilience, which is essential for supporting a healthy natural environment and for us to supply clear, great-tasting drinking water.

Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager, Northumbrian Water

As we head into 2021, your reserve is in the best possible position to inspire wonder over the years ahead. A growing team of volunteers will protect wildlife and provide new and improved opportunities for you going forward. Important improvements to infrastructure also mean that you’ll enjoy the best possible experience every time you visit.

On behalf of all at NHSN, we cannot thank volunteers enough for their tireless work during 2020. Furthermore, we also wish to thank you, the NHSN members and local people, who visit the reserve regularly to study, observe and enjoy wildlife. By empowering volunteers to protect wildlife, you’ll keep the reserve safe for many years to come.

The important work undertaken in 2020 would not have been possible without NHSN’s committed members, volunteers and funders. It is thanks to you all that the reserve remained open during the lockdown, providing opportunities for local people to enjoy nature during a highly difficult time. Your passion for the reserve is infectious and is helping attract more support, ensuring Gosforth Nature Reserve will be protected and accessible for years to come. For that, I cannot thank you enough.

Clare Freeman, NHSN Director

Experience your reserve this festive season

Thanks to volunteers, the reserve remains open for you to enjoy right through the winter. Whether you are looking for a post-dinner walk on Christmas Day or a refreshing stroll to mark the New Year, the reserve is the perfect place to explore.

If you are new to NHSN or have never visited before, you can now purchase a visitor pass online to experience the reserve this winter.