Bede Road Bus Shelter
This is the only bus shelter for which Barnard Castle Town Council is currently responsible. A small budgetary figure is made available each year for general maintenance and for 2010-11 a small additional sum has been agreed to provide a seat within the bus shelter. As the shelter is technically located in a resident’s garden, a small sum of money is paid to that resident each year so that the shelter can continue to provide a much-needed facility.
Whilst Barnard Castle Town Council is not directly responsible for the footpaths or seats within Flatts Woods, a small project was undertaken several years ago by the Town Council as a contribution towards the team effort in Flatts Woods.
Up to financial year 2010-11 a small budgetary figure has been allocated each year for possible repairs to the work previously carried out. From April 2011-12 Flatts Wood will fall under the remit of the Floral and Open Spaces Working Group.
This is an ancient mineral spring which is actually located in the Parish of Marwood but is the responsibility of Barnard Castle Town Council. The enclosure also contains a stone enclosure housing a wooden seat and a plaque which reads:
Boundary of the Red Well twenty-two yards square belonging to the Township of Barnard Castle freed by the jury of the Manor Court 1852.
A small budgetary figure is made available each year and this is mainly to cover the cost of an annual clean-up exercise, although, over the years, the drainage of the site has been improved and the walls and shelter are kept in good condition.
The spring is located adjacent to the South West Durham Heritage Corridor and if funding can be obtained, there is the possibility of further improvements, possibly in regard to access and information, at some time in the future.
Photographs of the Red Well Enclosure can be viewed in the photo gallery.
Haymeadow – The Demesnes
The Demesnes was acquired by the Urban District Council in 1949 from Lord Barnard for the unrestricted use of the Town. On the Upper Demesnes is a large field of approximately eighteen acres which the deeds state should be maintained as a meadow. The field has for a number of years been left uncut with no animals grazing.
During December of 2009 a group of local residents, dog walkers and other ‘friends of the Demesnes’ met to discuss the possibility of crating a hay meadow similar to those found in Upper Teesdale. Concern was raised that care had to be taken not to lose plants that already exist; a list of over eighty plants being supplied by one member. Councillor Peat suggested to the Council that it explored the possibility of the provision of a wild flower hay meadow on The Upper Demesnes, an idea partly arising from the generally unkempt nature of the area for most of the year. The project was agreed in principle by the Council so that Councillor Peat could carry out further investigations, mainly to acquire the official owner’s approval of the project.
One result of being left uncut for so long is that the more aggressive grasses dominate the sward. This is particularly true of the first third of the field. To try and correct this, a pasture topper was used in March 2010 to cut the area and then allowed to grow again before being cut for hay during the beginning of July. The next third towards the stream above a diagonal footpath is richer in flowers and has a thick mat of Yorkshire Fog Grasses. To allow the flowers to seed this area is to be cut towards the end of July when the haymaking process should help to spread the flower seeds. The remaining third will be left to act as a control to see what would have happened if we had left nature to look after the field.
Advice was sought from the North Pennines AONB Partnership who said that to establish a flower hay meadow we need to lower the fertility of the soil by taking crops of hay and not applying fertiliser. This may take at least two years to achieve. After which we can consider spreading seed from flower rich pastures collected from the Upper Dales.
As can be seen this is going to be a slow process and we will have to react to what happens each year. The aim is to increase the enjoyment of the many people who walk over the field every day and to provide an ideal site where school children can learn and appreciate our local flora.
Durham County Council has subsequently agreed that the Town Council can manage the site and that Council has also installed a new gate and pedestrian entrance into the hay meadow. As 2010 will be the first year that the meadow will be worked, the full benefit of the wild flowers may not be seen. However, it is hoped that as the native wild flowers quickly multiply and the variety of species builds up, the wild flower hay meadow will be an attraction in the Town for many years to come.