I've always liked a wander by fields and hedgerow, having roamed around Billy Mill district in my childhood.
In the Autumn of 1999, I decided to take advantage of a walk organised by ‘Age Takes Centre Stage’. A series of events in North Tyneside for those aged 50+ now in the fourth year of operation. A walk in a Country Park seemed my sort of thing so I duly went along to the meeting place – The Rising Sun Country Park.
What a delightful experience it proved to be! Led by the local authority ecologist, we explored just a corner of this amazing natural resource. We were shown many varieties of fungi (mushrooms). Without our ecologist guide, I would certainly have missed most of the incredible range. Then there were the enthralling stories and folklore to enchant us all. Enough for me to go and explore the written word in the ensuing weeks.
That afternoon opened a whole new world for me. That was autumn and I don’t live on the Park’s doorstep. However, I’ve always liked a wander by fields and hedgerow, having roamed around Billy Mill district (farms, mill, fields now under concrete) in my childhood. Here was a world I thought no longer open to me. It’s quiet and birds still sing. There are horses, cows and wildflowers. I’ve been back to enjoy a ‘wander walk’ in midwinter, spring and summer when the orchids bloom.
How lucky we are to have this haven of countryside at the centre of our metropolitan borough.
Editor’s Note – the following information is taken from a leaflet on the Park provided by North Tyneside Council:
‘The Rising Sun aims to be a source of education, inspiration and enjoyment for the 21st century. The 400 acre site was designated a Country Park in 1986. The Rising Sun Pit opened in 1906 and closed in 1969. The woodlands and grasslands of today were planted on the derelict land that mining left behind. The hill was once a spoil heap, a pond has formed due to subsidence and a network of footpaths once wagonways.’