Hepscott Nature Reserve

Tue, Apr 12th 2022 at 5:45 pm - 7:45 pm

Peter Mathisson


A talk was given to Morpeth Rotary by Peter Matheson, a retired P&G microbiologist, who spends most of his time volunteering at Clark’s Bog. Until the 1800s the land was owned by the Howard family, Earls of Carlisle and Viscounts Morpeth, before being sold off. The first person to buy anywas called Clark. It includes part of Park House Farm, a five acre reed bed and a mixed broadleaf woodland as well as a bog. It is 19 acres of land too wet for farmingPart of it, at the end of Coopie’s Lane, once belonged to the family of Rotary member and previous Mayor of Morpeth, Clive Temple. It is used as a wildlife habitat with the aim of increasing biodiversity and providing an education resource for the community. Entry is free but visits need to be booked. 

The site has had an old drift mine, a quarry, a mill with a dam, a small waterfall and was used for sand extraction with a track of railway sleepers across the bog. POWs in WWII tried in vain to drain the land for food production but it was successfully used as a place to test new types of military vehicle for D-Day. 

Since planning permission was given in 2017 for a nature reserve, wood chip paths have been laid following tracks regularly used by deer. They recycle and reuse, have structures made out of old wooden pallets and reeds and have a classroom donated by a company on the industrial estate. Spoil from making the paths has been used to make a badger set, Akzo Nobel gave paint, Appleby’s book shop provided shelvinand material was scavenged from the Carillion bypass site. There arehabitats for frogs, newts, toads and dragonflies, three hides, and the third and biggesponis almostfinished. It has an island and sand bank for sand martins. A hut used for a Vera episode was donated by the film company. There are two elevated insect hotels, 100 bird boxes, and 420 treesgiven by the Woodland Trust. Help has come from many volunteers including young people with the Prince’s Trust and the 4th and 6th Morpeth Scouts.  Otters, badgers and deer came into the site last year. 

More details and short video films are on petesbogblog.com

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