The Coast Project has had an excellent response from two schools in the catchment area of Hendon, Grangetown and Ryhope who are keen to help with the project’s conservation and educational aims. St Paul’s CE Primary in Ryhope are currently working on a long-term project involving the restoration of a locally extinct butterfly, while Valley Road Academy in Hendon are working on promoting awareness of our existing rarities with an art project.
Miss A. Wadge and her Year 4 class from St Paul’s are attempting to bring back to the area one of our iconic butterfly’s, the Northern Brown Argus, known locally as the Durham Argus butterfly. This butterfly was once found on the Ryhope cliff tops, but sadly, it has not been recorded for some time now. Year 4 have successfully been growing Rock Rose plants from seeds; Rock Rose is the food plant of the Durham Argus Caterpillar.
The Coast Ranger will also be taking cuttings from existing plants and Year 4 will take care of them until they are ready to be planted out. The children have already planted out some Rock Rose on the cliff tops above Ryhope Village Dene, they also planted Wild Thyme, which is another favourite food plant of the Durham Argus Butterfly. We have received great support with this project, as the plants were kindly donated by our friends from the National Trust, and the residents closest to Ryhope Village Dene have allowed watering cans to be filled to keep the newly planted Rock Rose hydrated. This project will hopefully be rolled out along the whole of the North-east coastline, with support from the Butterfly Conservation.
Mrs L. Curl and her Friday Feeling Group from Valley Road Primary School have been helping the Coast Ranger with the design of a new seat, which will replace an old damaged one.
The group met the Coast Ranger and the renowned local artist Colin Wilbourn and his colleague Nigel onsite above Hendon Promenade, where the old seat is. Colin has many of his art sculptures around the City of Sunderland, some which can be seen in the North Dock area. We held a workshop on the promenade with the artists and children to come up with a design for the new seats. The children made sea creature sculptures from clay, which will be superimposed onto the finished seats.
Friday 8th November was the official launch of the two new chairs at the top of Hendon Promenade.
The Coast Project had commissioned the chairs to replace the old, damaged [but well-loved] seat that had stood on the cliff top for years. Local artist Colin Wilbourn designed and built the seats with input from the children of Valley Road School. Colin has used materials that have meaning to the location, so the seats are made from steel piling, which are still used for sea defence at Hendon Beach. The Valley Road children created the sea life designs carefully etched into the front of the seats by Colin. On the back of the seats, the Coast Project’s ‘Purple Sandpiper’ logo is represented, as well as the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) site designations.
Councillor Michael Mordey agreed to come out and cut the ribbon alongside the children. Despite the weather being cold, wet and windy, the launch went ahead with enthusiasm, especially from the proud children.
Thank you to David Allan for the photographs (link to his page below), to Colin Wilbourn for the artwork now gifted to Hendon, and to the Valley Road children for making a positive mark on the site for decades to come.