Nature reserve has been taken over to protect nationally important grasslands

Cross Gill
Cross Gill

A WILDLIFE organisation has taken over the management of one of the region’s most important grasslands.

Durham Wildlife Trust acquired Durham Coast’s Cross Gill, an area full of species rich magnesian limestone, which lies south of the existing Blackhall Nature Reserve and north of the Crimdon Dene Caravan Park.

Cross Gill now forms part of the Durham Coast National Nature Reserve.

Mark Richardson, trust reserves manager, said: “This is a crucially important area and we are delighted to have taken over its management.

“Grasslands like this are rare nationally and it is vital that we protect them wherever possible.”

The grasslands support a wide range of rare plant species and sigtings of the rare northern brown argus butterfly have been recorded.

Durham Wildlife Trust’s initial management of the grassland will involve clearing the area and restoring it before installing fencing and a water supply to make it sustainable.

This is being funded by Natural England, the Government’s environmental advisor, who have provided a grant for the plans. The initial work will lay the foundations for the future running of the patch. The Cross Gill grasslands is accessible from Durham Coast’s footpath which runs between Hartlepool and Sunderland.