Friends of Saltwell Park

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Friends of Saltwell Park - Latest News

The Buzzing Garden –

a Swedish garden for Saltwell Park

In December 2018 the project to bring “a little bit of West Sweden to the North East of England” was launched.  The idea was born when the National Garden Scheme (NGS) developed links with garden enthusiasts in West Sweden to help set up a Swedish version of the charity.  That culminated in NGS Publicity Officer for the North East, Susie White, designing  ‘A Classic English Garden’ for Jonsered Manor in Gothenburg to publicise the scheme.  It was hugely successful with tens of thousands of people visiting in its first year. As a result an international garden exchange was established and a new Swedish-inspired public garden was designed.

With the Garden’s focus on plants for pollinators, it is entitled “The National Garden Scheme Buzzing Garden”  and it is sited on a key site in Saltwell Park, Gateshead. Having identified the site, the next job was to attract sponsorship to pay for construction and maintenance.   The NGS North East team worked alongside the Hon Consul for Sweden, Caroline Theobald CBE and Gateshead businesswoman Helen Cadzow to secure a range of support including financial contributions, skills, materials and equipment. By May 2019 the team was ready to press “go” and work began on site on May 20th.


The National Garden Scheme Buzzing Garden
Photocall pre works 20.05.19

The construction of garden has been overseen by the Northumberland/Tyne and Wear County Team and paid for without any financial input from the Council or the NGS. Gateshead Council welcomed the scheme and it has been fully supported the Friends of Saltwell Park.

Sponsors include Tarmac which supplied stone products, plant and equipment, and volunteers, Plant/seed suppliers Pictorial Meadows (Sheffield), SealEco supplied the pond liner,  Johnsons of Whixley helped with plants, Buildbase supplied timber, Speedy Hire (plant/equipment) , Gardena (irrigation system) Helen McCardle Care and Husqvarna made cash donations. 

From Sweden Region Vastra Gotaland /Tradgardseren also made a significant cash donation and supplied Swedish Heritage plants shipped by Swedish

Orient Line.  Manufacturer FaluRodfarg supplied authentic paint for the woodwork.

Other supporters include Buildbase and HireBase, A Little Plant Company, Brewin Dolphin and Hadrian Health Care.  Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue filled up the pond. Wates (construction) supplied skilled volunteers at the finishing stage. 

Volunteers were welcomed to help provide labour and in June the project took on an even wider international aspect when guests of a local church, 12 young people from eight different countries, did some, very much welcomed, heavy digging on flower beds.

The National Garden Scheme Buzzing Garden

Marking out the design

Progress on the site has been watched with interest by many users and visitors to the park and the project has attracted local press coverage and a keen social media following.

There was a celebration of the creation of The Buzzing Garden on August 18th when George Plumptre (CEO) and Penny Snell (Vice President) from the NGS,  local dignitaries, sponsors, supporters, colleagues and guests from Sweden, saw the finished garden for the first time.

The Garden is now maturing nicely and work is underway to attract funding for its maintenance, focusing on how best it can be used for the benefit of the community – as a site for training in horticulture and for health and wellbeing.  And of course as a way of learning about and looking after our much needed pollinators. 

For more information about The National Garden Scheme Buzzing Garden at Saltwell Park please visit:

National Garden Scheme website

Saltwell Park Footage 1944

Fields in Trust
UK’s Best Park 2019: last chance to vote
You nominated 364 parks and green spaces across the
country for this year’s UK’s Best Park award and voting
is now open to find the winner! Over 23,000 votes have
already been cast but if you haven’t had your say yet,
time is running out to make your choice – voting closes
at noon on Monday 19th August.

The most loved park in each of the Home Nations will then
be shortlisted with the overall winner of UK’s Best Park 2019
announced next month.

Vote Now by going to:

23 walkers a toddler in a push chair and 3 dogs turned
out in the sunshine for a Health Walk around Saltwell Park
on Tuesday 16th July.  Not all of them made it onto this
photograph sadly!  If you would like to join in with the weekly
Health Walks in the Park we meet at the North door of the
Towers every Tuesday, setting off at 11am.  All welcome!

Saltwell Park Awarded Another Green Flag!
Great to receive The Green Flag Award and
Green Heritage Site Award on behalf of all who work
so incredibly hard to look after Saltwell Park.
The award ceremony was held in Liverpool on 16th
July 2019..
Michael Turner
Chair Friends of Saltwell Park

Activities for Love Parks Week 2019 in Saltwell Park.
Click here to find out what is happening.

Love Parks Week 2019 Competition
Win one of five £100 wilko vouchers
 To celebrate #LoveParks Week 2019 we're asking you
to tell us why you love your local park.
Simply share why you love your local park on social media,
with the tags:
@KeepBritainTidy @LoveWilko #LoveParks #LoveParksComp
(you can also include a photo or video with your entry).

Mayor visits a SPUG Tidy Up
Gateshead Mayor, Cllr Jill Green, visited one of the monthly
Saltwell Park User Group's Tidy Up this morning.
Nearly 30 volunteers were doing various tasks with
Friends of Saltwell Park, Church of the Latterday Saints,
Tyneside Beekeepers and Gateshead Council's Jeanie Lea
(Parks and Outdoor Space Co-ordinator).
The Dene was swept, the stream cleared near the Pool
of Reflection and Saltwell Park's Honey Bee Garden was
If you would like to take part in a future Tidy Up then please
contact us.  These events happen on the first Wednesday
of every month 10.30am - 12 noon.  All welcome.


The Friends of Saltwell Park ‘Talking Statues’ project was
delivered through the Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum
(TWHF) with the help of Open Lab at Newcastle University.
There is an exciting opportunity to meet all involved and
discover more through talks and workshops at
‘Heritage Trails’ - The TWHF Conference 2019.
Please visit home page for joining details.

Twenty-Two Walkers, Three Dogs and One Baby……
…… came to the 200th Friends of Saltwell Park Health Walk
on Tuesday 29th January 2019. The grim weather forecast did not
stop our intrepid walkers although our oldest member, who at
91 has already clocked up an impressive 68 walks, was
unfortunately unable to attend.

Personalised badges showing the number of walks each
participant had completed were handed out to mark the
occasion. Apart from the leaders (who you would expect
to top the attendance list!) one regular has achieved 153
walks and several others are close behind.  Some walkers
have been involved from the beginning, many have joined
us since and several have become Health Walk leaders.
Many lasting friendships have been made.

Home-made biscuits and chocolate brownies kept everyone
smiling as we walked around the two-mile route.  Afterwards
some popped into the Towers cafe for lunch. Why not join us?
We meet every Tuesday for an 11am start outside the Towers.
Everyone is very welcome.

Tyneside Bee Keepers are the "Bees Needs"
Work in Saltwell Park by the Tyneside Bee Keepers Association
has earned them an award.  This award is given to
Green Flag Awarded sites making positive changes for pollinators.
Well done to all who made it happen!
For more information about the award please click here

The People Have Spoken - and we have done it again!
Saltwell Park is, once again, in the People's Choice 
Top 10 Parks.
Thank you to all who voted.  For more information please


Saltwell Harriers Sponsors the Friends

We are delighted to announce that Saltwell Harriers, widely

regarded as one of the North East’s best running clubs, has

agreed to become a sponsor of the Friends of Saltwell Park.

Founded 128 years ago, the Harriers have a strong running

tradition, entering races in the Pennines, Lake District and

Scottish Borders. In recent years the club has seen

considerable growth in numbers and now boasts more than

200 members. Their runners can’t be missed at local events

such as this year’s Blaydon Race, where over 100 took part. 

The club also runs a Spring Series of races at six different 

park runs in the region, including the one at Saltwell Park.

Our photo shows  a group of Harriers preparing for one of

their frequent runs in the Park. Saltwell Harriers often start

races with their battle cry of ‘Hoops’.

Mutual Benefits

The sponsorship will bring benefits to both parties. Saltwell

Harriers will be mentioned on the front cover of the Spring

2019 Newsletter as our sponsor and have a quarter-page

advertisement inside the magazine. The club is also able to

use the Friends’ logo on their documents and feature on

the ‘Project’ page of our website. A designated club member

will be invited on to the FoSP Committee, which will help the

Harriers influence activities in the Park. Friends are also

entitled to use Saltwell Harriers’ logo in their literature where

appropriate and the sponsorship money will greatly benefit

our work in the Park.

Running for Everyone

Saltwell Harriers is a very inclusive club, tailoring training

sessions to ensure all abilities are catered for.  Members

meet for training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Gateshead

Leisure Centre, 6.45 pm for a 7 pm start. On Tuesdays

there are five different training groups which not only cover 

ability but are also tailored to help members achieve their

personal ambitions, which could be anything from improving

their technique to running fast enough to get a personal best 

in a race.

Saltwell Harriers held a Family Day in the Park as part of

their 125 year anniversary celebrations in 2015  -  a great way

of thanking families for supporting members with their running.

For more information on the club please go to

If you have any other surprising photos from the Park
please send them to us by clicking here.

  • For dog-fouling, littering, graffiti, motorbikes etc. in the Park 
Phone: 0191 4775000 (24 hr number)
  • For low level criminal offences ... broken glass, vandalism
(anything that’s not happening right now) 
Phone: 101
  • If you feel threatened or harassed or see a fire or an accident
 Phone: 999

OUR VISION 2017 TO 2022

Saltwell Park, thriving at the heart of the community,

safe and secure as “the People’s Park” for future


For a copy of our draft "Summary Document"

please contact us.