Sunday, 22 November 2020

New book celebrates North Tyneside's award-winning green spaces


18 November 2020 - 12:58pm

Award-winning green spaces in North Tyneside are the inspiration behind a new book of poetry and photographs.

North Tyneside Council has commissioned local creatives to express their love of the borough’s natural landscapes in a new book entitled ‘Green Spaces: parks, poetry and hidden nature in North Tyneside’.

Compiled and edited by North Shields artist Peter Dixon and Whitley Bay writer and poet Dr Keith Armstrong, the new book is a joint effort by North Tyneside Council and Northern Voices Community Projects.

It comes after eight of North Tyneside’s parks were again confirmed as winners of the coveted Green Flag Award for 2020.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “We are extremely proud of our award-winning green spaces in North Tyneside and this wonderful collection of creative writing captures the special meaning that they hold for local people.

“Our natural landscapes have always been important and very well-loved, but the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted their true importance as places where people can go for exercise and recreation and to enjoy some peace and quiet.

“Like other residents, the authors have lived through lockdown and persevered with their task. They have produced a book of immense importance that will have deep resonance for the people of North Tyneside who have sought sanctuary and solace in the green spaces of the borough.”

The poetry in the book draws its inspiration from green spaces across the borough, including Killingworth Lakeside, Northumberland Park, the Rising Sun Country Park and Chirton Dene Park.

The submissions were selected by Dr Keith Armstrong for the publication.

He said: “It has been very inspiring to have been commissioned by North Tyneside Council to bring together our compilation of creative writing and images celebrating the parks and hidden nature across the borough. In these difficult times we hope that our book lifts local people’s spirits and helps put their love of local greenery into their own words as a way of bringing some sunlight into all our lives. Northern Voices Community Projects is happy to have had the opportunity again to work with the Council and we trust that more joint projects will follow over the following years. This book makes us all optimistic about our future and has been a joy to work on.”

Peter Dixon, of Northern Community Voices, said: “We all have our favourite park; a place to walk with a loved one, explore with our children, have picnics or use for exercise or contemplation. Green Spaces is a reflection of North Tyneside's wealth of parks. For a compact borough the selection of habitats is amazing - from secluded ancient woodlands to the tops of repurposed pit heaps, formal gardens to bowling greens, streams and lakes to pathways following old waggonways. Spending time in all of these places I was struck by the sheer number of people who use them; dogwalkers, young mum's with buggies and toddlers, joggers, couples, families, birdwatchers..and the occasional poet or photographer. Despite the trials and restrictions of Covid-19 I had enormous fun exploring each of these parks and wild spaces. The book should make good Christmas reading - a chance to contemplate walks in the coming year!

The book is priced at £9 and will be available to buy from St Mary’s Lighthouse and via the Northern Voices Community Projects website.