Introducing Jason The New VRO For The Northern Reserves!


The new volunteer reserves officer for the north has been apointed to Jason Hall.

‘I have a degree in Environmental Management which I obtained last month. Whilst on the course I got valuable ecological and land management skills but decided that after university I needed to develop these skills and gain on the job experience to help me gain headway into a job in nature conservation!

I became a VRO in late april, so I have only been here for a few months but within that time i have learned more about grassland and woodland management, plant ID, and have lead woodland managment tasks for a four week period. I will aid Steve Purvis to oversee the management of the gateshead sites, support and encourage local people and volunteers to deliver practical projects  that will promote the biodiversity and cultural value of the sites in Gateshead.’

Bog Training Day Upper Teesdale

A day out for volunteers in Upper Teesdale to learn about bog habitats. The peat was 3m thick where we stood, 3000 yrs old so the equivalent growth of 1mm = 1yr. This accumulates because of the very slow rate at which plant material decomposes in areas that are waterlogged. Blanket bog is “ombrotrophic”, that is, the water and mineral supply comes entirely from atmospheric sources (rainwater, mist, cloud-cover). The water chemistry is nutrient-poor and acidic and the habitat is dominated by acid-loving plant communities, especially Sphagnum mosses, which the volunteers helped to plant today. 

New Northern Reserves Volunteer Task Day

It’s nearly time for New Year’s Resolutions…fancy something new? New locations, new friends, new practical skills and a new physique! It would be great for you to come and join us on the new Wednesday Task Day around the Durham Wildlife Reserves in Gateshead. Lend a hand to Northern Reserves Officer, Steve Purvis, to help manage the 10 sites across Gateshead for the benefits of wildlife and local communities.

The first Wednesday Task of the New Year will be at Milkwellburn Wood, Blackhall Mill, on Wednesday 6th January, where we will be opening up the woodland canopy by removing non-native species for woodland regeneration. Your new ‘green gym’ is waiting for you…


Hello to our Newest V.R.Os!

Please give a warm welcome and congratulations to Ruth Smith and Nicola Woodward, our new Eastern and Northern Team VRO’s. Nicola and Ruth will be starting their one year training programme on Tuesday the 21st of July. Ruth is already a well established member of our Eastern Volunteer Task Force, and will be working alongside Keith Atkinson, Alex Midson, and Liz Shaw on the Eastern Tasks. Nicola has volunteered with the Durham Wildlife Trust in the past will be working with Steve Purvis and the Gateshead Volunteers on the Northeren Reserves. She will also be spending one task day a week out with the Eastern Team!

Well done ladies, we all look forward to working alongside you!

Introducing Steve Purvis!

Do dreams come true…


…well they have for me, Durham Wildlife Trust’s new Northern Reserves Officer, Steve Purvis!
I have a Countryside management and Arboriculture background and first began volunteering and working on nature reserves in Gateshead and Durham in 2008. I have been living in the Derwent Valley for over 12 years, so when the opportunity was offered to work on local sites which I enjoy, it was a dream come true.

The role over the next two years is to oversee the management of the sites, support and encourage local people, and volunteers from the wider area, to deliver practical projects and events that will promote the biodiversity and cultural value of the sites in Gateshead.

The sites are Lamesley Pastures, Cross Lane Meadows, Chopwell Meadows, Westfield Pastures (near Ryton) Addison Woodlands and Hedgefield Quarry, Barlow Burn (owned by SITA), Shibdon Meadow and DWT’s existing sites of Milkwellburn Wood, High Wood and Shibdon Pond.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Durham Wildlife Trust and working on these sites, contact the Trust on 0191 584 3112 or if you would like to discuss anything at all, please feel free to contact me at any time.

I hope to see you soon!


(0191) 584 3112

Durham Wildlife Trust
Rainton Meadows,
Chilton Moor,
Tyne & Wear