This video was made when I went with our daughter G to the local nature reserve.
Havannah/Three Hills Nature Reserve is sited on the former Hazlerigg Colliery. Its name comes from the Havannah drift mine and the three slag heaps that used to dominate the site.
Much of the landscape you can see today can be related to the site’s industrial past, such as coal storage, a railway and grazing for pit ponies. Many of the wet areas are the result of subsidence associated with mining activity. Havannah has one of the few areas of lowland heath found within the Newcastle area .
The Havannah drift mine was owned and operated by the National Coal Board. It opened in 1950 and was worked until 1977. At the height of its production it employed 870 people above and below ground. Following its closure it was left derelict until a Derelict Land Grant from the Department of Environment was given to help create a green open space for public use. In June 1994, Havannah and the Three Hills Plantation and picnic site were handed to Newcastle City Council following the reclamation. Later work included the creation of a bridleway, car park, footpaths, secure gates, fencing, new wetland sites and woodland management schemes. The site was to be used for informal recreation such as walking, nature study, dog walking and horse riding. Wildlife The site has around 40 hectares of varied habitat including woodlands, meadows, scrub, grazed fields, marsh and several ponds. It contains several significant populations of plants and animals that are of local, regional and national importance. These include great crested newts and the dingy skipper butterfly as well as a colony of red squirrels. This led to the site being designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. In 1998 Havannah was also designated a Local Nature Reserve.
What makes Havannah/Three Hills special is its very high biodiversity (variety of life.) This is due to the variety of habitats and the presence of some fairly unusual post-industrial environmental conditions.
( info taken from http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/environment-and-waste/parks-and-countryside/our-countryside-sites/havannah-nature-reserve )
Due to the amount of rain we have all experienced lately to whole area was scattered with thick mud, puddles and around the pond the edges of the water had covered the area where there is normally a footpath.
Unusually for our visits, but not so unusual for nature at this time of year, there was very little wildlife to be seen. All we saw, in the hour and a half walking round was 2 coots, one blackbird, and one horse ( complete with rider ). We did see evidence of recent activity of rabbits. In an area amongst the trees, theres a patch where theres always rabbit holes, but this time, a few of them had been recently disturbed or dug but no sign of the rabbits. The holes looked too small for badgers.
Even after viewing the footage from my GoPro camera ( see the below video ), which I submerged in the water, there was nothing swimming around, not even insects.
I look forward to the spring when all the wildlife starts coming to life and returning so I can get some nice footage of it.
All in all, dispite the cold weather, it was still a fun time and nice to get out and have some fresh air. G was loving being able to stand in the water and mud in her new wellies. She took loads of photos on her phone which was nice to see, as I’ve wanted her to get into photography like me, for years. She took so many, she totally ran the battery out on her phone.
Let me know what you think of the video. Its the first real test of my GoPro in water so this was just experimenting.
This weekend, we had a visit to the lovely city of Durham. It was arranged as a surprise by my better half. We stayed at a lovely hotel, which I will try and do a review for on another post. On Saturday we went to Durham Cathedral. This building is beautiful. I managed to persuade D to climb the 325 steps to the top of the main tower. It reaches a height of 218ft ( 66.45m ) which as you can imagine, gives you a great view of the surrounding area. It was, erm, slightly breezy up there.
I have posted a video below of our weekend. I hope you find the time to watch it, and share it if you like it. Please do leave a comment, either on YouTube or on my blog. The video is about 20 minutes long, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.