New Educational Resources uploaded!

The CVCG are delighted to announce that following an extensive review and with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund within our Flowers in the Vale project, new educational resources are now available to download. The resource has primarily been created with the purpose of encouraging more schools to bring children to the Reserve and benefit from all that it has to offer.

A total of 18 Activity sheets are available, to assist childrens’ outdoor engagement with the natural environment in Early Learning, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. The activities can be applied in many educational outdoor environments, not just at Clara Vale.

All of the educational material can be accessed from under the ‘Visiting the Reserve’ tab and going to ‘Educational Visit Resources’.

Here are links to the individual resource elements:

If you would like to get in touch about arranging and educational visit please use the contact form on the Planning Your Visit page.

Picnic Day Round-up

We thought you might like to see a gallery of photos from our wonderful Family Picnic Day, held in July, along with some of the feedback received and even some poetry too!

Photos – just click on any to enlarge and scroll through them….

Feedback – Here are some of the wonderful comments we received about the Nature Reserve in our Visitors’ Book on the day:

‘It feels like such a magical place…’

‘… one of the best things about living in Clara Vale.’

‘We liked the moths, the pond life and the scything.’

‘A lovely, tranquil place…’

‘Really enjoyed the moths, guided flower walk and lovely atmosphere!’

‘What a wonderful family-friendly day.’

Thanks to everyone who contributed, we loved receiving your feedback!

And finally… here are some reflections on the picnic day in the nature reserve by Hannah aged 7:

Sun, fun enjoyable days are beautiful

And green and wet and gleaming,

Clear pond ripples in the lovely atmosphere,

Being able to have an enjoyable chat, meet up with friends,

Music plays from my favourite films,

While the nature obviously absorbs interest thanks to strange plants and

magnificent moths and beauty

Admiring pond weed

Nettles tower over the transparent stream

Bunting hangs over the wooden bridge

Tiger moths on display are a real hit!

Stoats may be shy but when no humans explore, stoats are sure to roam the

clearing, birch trees stand straight and tall.

Thanks again to everyone who came along and made all the efforts of the Conservation Group worthwhile.



A Great Family Picnic Success!

The sun shone, the wind was gentle and most importantly, adults and children came along with their picnics!  As more people arrived, the Reserve took on a fete-like atmosphere and all of the activities we put on were of interest to visitors.

The art area was very popular with the children, as was kitemaking and facepainting. We had baby newts in water trays and a huge haul of moths, over 60 species, trapped the night before and released after viewing and cataloging them.  The flower walk was well received too as were the scything demonstrations.  There was an interesting collection of fossils, stone age tools and clay pipes all found locally.  And under a canopy, there was interactive storytelling to a very young audience.

More details and pictures will be put up soon.   A big thank you to everyone who came along for the Family Picnic, you made our efforts worthwhile!


Family Picnic – tomorrow!

The weather is looking promising for the weekend and the Conservation Group are looking forward to welcoming you to our fun family event on Sunday 17th!

What’s on?
11:00 – Moths! See what we caught the previous night, before we release them.
11:30 & 2:00 – Hand scythe demonstrations – how we cut crops by hand before machinery.
1:30 – Guided Flower Walk around the Reserve.
2:30 – Children’s storytime (2 stories)

Guided bird watching in the hides
Pond dipping
Kite making
Painting and drawing area

Organised by the volunteers of the village Conservation Group, this event is part of our Flowers in the Vale project, an initiative to encourage more local people to appreciate, enjoy and engage with our fantastic local nature resource.

Come and support us this Sunday, 11 till 3 !

Flowers in the Vale Family Picnic Day – more info

Details are being finalised for our Family Picnic to be held in the Reserve on 17th July 11am – 3pm. The aim of this event is to encourage local people to come and discover more about the wonderful resource right on their doorstep and actively engage in it.

The volunteers of the Conservation Group have put together a programme of fun events for all the family to choose from and take part in. Just bring a picnic and something to sit on, relax, enjoy and take part in anything that interests you.

Below is a list of planned activities. Some will be on a timed basis and more may be added prior to the Picnic.

  • Guided flower identification and walks
  • Pond dipping
  • Painting and drawing area (to be confirmed)
  • Kite making (£2 discretionary materials contribution)
  • Facepainting
  • Hand Scythe Demonstrations
  • Guided bird watching in the hides
  • Storytime (for under 8’s)
As with any outdoor event, please note all activities are weather-dependent!

Groundworks update

Following on from the fencing work undertaken in January, Conservation Group members have been clearing the newly designated meadow area of scrub, shrubs and low level tree growth.  This is why you will see piles of cut branches, twigs and bramble around the Reserve.


There is quite alot of this debris around the site at the moment; some of this will be left or moved to create ground habitats, some will be reserved for charcoal-making at a later date, and some will be safely burnt off.  Over the next few weeks we will be strimming down the top layer of the new meadow area to give meadow-loving plants a chance to get established without quicker growing plants competing for light and nutrients.

If you are interested in joining in, come along to our next meeting (14th March in the Clara Vale Village Hall at 7pm) or keep an eye on our Upcoming Events section of the website and come along on a task day (which is usually a couple of hours). No special skills required!

We Want Your Feedback !

We are interested to hear your views about how you use the Nature Reserve to help us shape its future and here is your the opportunity to tell us. Just complete the survey by clicking the link below, it will take just a couple of minutes. You don’t have to give any personal details.

We are running the Survey until the end of March 2016 and will report back soon after on feedback received.

Clara Vale Nature Reserve User Survey



New Fencing and Gates

Contractors have just about finished the new perimeter and paddock field fencing in the Reserve, the infrastructure element of the Flowers in the Vale project.  New, wider access gates have also been installed, along with a stock pen.

Whilst the galvanised gates may look bright against the wood while new, they will weather and dull down over time.  Compacted ground where machinery has been working will also recover as we enter the Spring and Summer.


Work Gets Under Way…

Visitors to the Reserve today may have been slightly surprised to hear the cracking of timber and seeing a group of people busy sawing some of the smaller trees.

The purpose of this is to clear the fence line around the Reserve, to allow access for machinery which will be used to put in new fencing as part of the Flowers in the Vale project.  Most likely this will happen in late February/early March.

Fence line clearing - Clara Vale Nature Reserve

About half the fence line was cleared today and we have another session coming up on Sunday 7th February. If you’d like to join in, just turn up at the Reserve entrance at 10am. Allow a couple of hours, tools provided. Someone may even bring a flask of coffee!

Heritage Lottery Fund Success!

The Clara Vale Conservation Group are delighted to announce that a grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery fund for an exciting project within the Nature Reserve:

This project is led by Gateshead Council with full support from Clara Vale Conservation Group. Through fun community events and volunteer opportunities we seek to enthuse the village and wider community to become involved in restoring part of the nature reserve to a traditional hay meadow, gaining grassland management skills that will help sustain its future, while learning about the importance of this threatened habitat to flora and fauna.

People will have opportunities to participate in a range of volunteer activities including: scrub clearance, seed and green hay collection and distribution, hay cutting and collecting, flora and fauna surveys as well as having fun while learning at a meadow picnic event.

Infrastructure will be put in to allow traditional after grazing of the meadow areas by rare conservation breeds, while still allowing public access, including wheel chairs and buggies.

Information on how to get involved in the project, plus an education pack and guide to the reserve will be digitally produced and made available on this website.