27 April 2020

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'Far below him she could see the river sparkling in the sunlight as it meandered and flowed making its way to the sea and the great city of Newcastle.'  An extract taken from 'The Wish' - one of 6 beautifully illustrated short stories written for the Land of Oak & Iron.
Welcome to the Land of Oak & Iron Newsletter

Another week passes by and thankfully the weather here is still fine - allowing us to enjoy time outdoors in the garden or to use our exercise time for local walks, runs or bike rides in the sunshine.

Nature is continuing to thrive this spring and with less noise pollution it's easier to hear and appreciate the birds singing.  Some of the work our volunteers have undertaken over the past few years has helped to create and protect wildlife habitats, creating bird, bat and even dormouse boxes - read on to hear more on their work to encourage the elusive dormouse to settle in the area.

There are also some lovely local tales, written especially for the Land of Oak & Iron, they relate to two of our heritage sites - Derwentcote Steel Furnace and Chopwell Wood.  The short stories are free to download for families and children to enjoy, including 'The Wish'; 
Tales from the Land of Oak & Iron 

Tales from the Land of Oak & Iron are locally written stories relating to two heritage sites; Derwentcote Steel Furnace and Chopwell Wood.

These wonderful stories were written to help engage Key Stage 1 children who may find some of the topic difficult to relate to and helps to introduce new themes such as; natural heritage, industrial heritage and the different job roles workers and children had locally.

The stories were commissioned by Land of Oak & Iron and written by Pat Renton and illustrated by Graham Blake.  Special thanks to Greenside Primary School and St Joseph's Catholic Primary School.

The 6 stories are free to download from the Land of Oak & Iron website - the stories can be used for home schooling and can also be enjoyed by families and children to read together.

'As it grew dark he heard the birds settling for the night, and far below him the rustling of the night creatures as they foraged through the forest, the deer, badgers and foxes.'  The Horrid Boy.
County Durham's Elusive Dormouse

A connection between opera and dormice is not one that readily springs to mind, but in 2014 a connection was made when opera company D'Oyley Carte generously gave Durham Wildlife Trust a grant of £3000 to train volunteers, not only to put up dormice boxes and tubes, but to also monitor these for signs of occupancy as well as understanding the ecology and habitats of dormice.

In Victorian times dormice in County Durham were fairly common along the Derwent Valley.  Indeed when people were intimately connected to the land in their everyday work, coppicing, walling, hand sowing and harvesting, dormice were regularly recorded.  Changing land use, as well as loss of this intimate connection with the land, has resulted in very few recent records of dormice.

Discover more about the search for the elusive dormouse in the Land of Oak & Iron.

And to finish - some more photographs from our collection to remind us of the beautiful Land of Oak & Iron and some of the special activities we have shared together as a community, we look forward to taking more photographs soon.

If you have any photographs that you would like to share, please tag us on our social media pages @LandofOakandIron
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