The Friends of Fairy Dell are pleased to be able to announce that they have been successful with a £38,000 bid to Community Spaces, a Big Lottery funded and Groundwork UK administered grant. The grant will be used to improve footpaths, provide additional eating and signage and to plant additional wildflowers with the help of four local primary schools.
Following success from various other grants over a number of years, the Friends' group, with support from Middlesbrough Council, have worked hard to improve the natural resources of the Dell. However, there are certain projects which do require finance, skills and experience that we do not have. It is therefore a great step forward for us and for Fairy Dell, to be awarded this grant. Sustain Landscapes have been commissioned to work on the footpaths around part of the lake which are prone to flooding. They have begun by rebuilding the steps from Fairy Dell Park to the Dell, which will enhance access, as the old steps were in a poor condition. A new path, which will include the existing Timberland Trail path, will enable easier access to the Dell and in many ways emphasise that the two areas are very much complementary to each other.
A dolomite surface will be laid on the existing natural surface path from northern end of the lake to the two bridges below Tollesby Bridge and Tollesby Lane. We call this area of the Dell 'The Wild End', an apt description to an area much neglected and difficult to walk along, especially in bad weather. This path will link to a new footpath from Newham Grange Country Farm and provide a link for visitors to the Dell, the lake and the Park. Within this funding, several new seats will be carved by Steve Iredale from an oak tree that was blown down in last winter's gales.
The provision of better, surfaced footpaths, additional seating and wildflower planting will allow the many current users of the Dell to enjoy their visit even more. It will hopefully also encourage families and less mobile people who use the site to explore areas of the site that were previously difficult to access, particularly in the Winter months when unsurfaced paths are very muddy and difficult to use. The "Friends" will also be involved in the work as they will be putting in new finger post signage to direct people around the site and will be involved with The Wildflower Ark and four local schools in the planting of wildflower areas around the site to increase biodiversity and provide additional interest for walkers. The 'Friends' undertake practical tasks, every week, to maintain the Dell in its best condition and this will include care of the new paths.
Extensive community consultation was carried out by the 'Friends', which resulted in requests for improved access, the provision of additional seating and improving biodiversity. Community Spaces was identified by one of our supporting organisations, Groundwork North East, as being a grant fund that would potentially provide funding for these items and a bid was submitted by the Friends' for funding to do the work. Groundwork North East provided assistance to the group through the public consultation and application process and is providing professional landscape design services during the site construction phase. Both the Environment Agency and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust were also consulted because part of the route of the new footpath runs close to Marton West Beck. It is essential that there is no impact on the water course and wildlife habitats, both during and after the work.
This year the Fairy Dell Festival will take place on Sunday 10th October, from 12 noon until 4pm and will also be the 'launch' event for the work completed within the grant funding. We hope many families will join us at the free event in Fairy Dell Park, off Gunnergate Lane. There will be dog agility demonstrations; Greyhounds Galore will be organising doggie competitions, so bring along your own dog (on a lead, please) to compete. Various craft demonstrations; lots of activities for children and numerous displays will also take place. It is an event for all the family to enjoy.
The 'Friends' group are always grateful for the encouragement and advice that is received from the various partners, many of whom will also be at the Festival and thank the 250 families who make up 'The Friends of Fairy Dell' for their continued support.
Do come and join us on October 10th.
Community Spaces grants can be awarded to community groups to do such things as improve nature reserves, community gardens and parks and projects that will improve a local community's access to green space. Small and medium grants are available for projects of up to £50,000 and for more information go to www.community-