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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Urban meadow to be nature reserve
An urban meadow overlooking Gateshead's MetroCentre has been granted local nature reserve status by English Nature.

Cross Lane Meadows was transformed from a degraded horse pasture to grassland after receiving government funding.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provided funds from its Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS).

The site now attracts a variety of wildlife, including kestrels and owls.

Peter Shield, community wildlife officer at Gateshead Council, said: "Gaining local nature reserve status is the culmination of more than seven years' work at Cross Lane Meadows.

"The site is a haven for nesting songbirds and ground-nesting birds such as the skylark, and attracts kestrels and tawny owls."

The site is one of seven reserves included in the council's Next to Nature project and is now being used as a donor site, with seeds harvested to help create further areas of wildflower rich grassland elsewhere in the borough.





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