In the heart of Newcastle, close to the borders of North Tyneside and Northumberland, there is a well loved nature reserve called Gosforth Park, which has been managed and cared for by the members of ‘The Natural History Society of Northumbria‘ since the 1930’s. This peaceful wildlife area contains 60 hectares of reed bed, open water, and mixed woodland and is important for its uncommon flora and fauna.
The reserve is part of an important wildlife corridor which stretches from the Tyne and the Ouseburn, through to Jesmond Dene and on to Gosforth Park. Nearby there is also Killingworth Lake, Wheetslade CP and within a short drive the Rising Sun CP and Big Waters.
Over recent years, the site has benefited from some major restoration work which has seen the construction of a flagship new 2-storey bird watching hide close to the waters edge and a wondrous new feeding station which can be found close to the visitors entrance.
There is also one more hide, which can be enjoyed as visitors travel around the freshwater and explore the woodland. This is located towards to the left of the reserve.
To the right
At Gosforth Park
By Mike Potts
in December 2015
Gosforth Park has become legendary for impressive and regular views of Bitterns. This uncommon and usually very secretive bird is rarely seen, which makes every experience that much more rewarding. Other species to watch out for include Common Tern, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Jack Snipe and Treecreeper. There is an area of wetland, adjacent to the reserve which at times has attracted Bean and White-fronted Geese. Little Egret has also been recorded on the rare occasion.
Wildfowl present can include Gadwall, Goldeneye, Goosander, Mallard, Pochard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Scaup, Shoveler and Wigeon. Little Grebes also love the reserve and can be very entertaining in the spring/summer months.
In 2014 a Ferruginous Duck came to stay, much to the delight of the local birdwatchers. Another major highlight during the year involved a short stay from a rare Little Bittern, which brought ‘twitchers’ from far and wide. In March 2017 a Ferruginous was discovered again, which is thought to be the same wild bird which has been enjoying the facilities at WWT Washington .
To the left
A Ferruginous Duck
at Gosforth Park
By Jonathan Farooqi
in February 2014
The reserve is supported by a team of volunteers and an unpaid warden, whom lives adjacent to the main entrance. Access to Gosforth Park nature reserve is strictly on a ‘members only’ basis only, however there is often at least one open day every year. Non-members can also purchase Day Passes from the NHSN office. All the birding hides on the site are locked, and members can obtain keys for a small deposit. The NHSN office is in the Great North Museum in the centre of Newcastle. For more information please visit www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk
Gosforth Park also boasts a local population of Roe Deer and remains a stronghold for Red Squirrels and Badgers.