News September 2021

STS social - open meeting and harvest food share
7pm Thursday 21st October, Hillside, 33 Park Avenue, Haltwhistle NE49 9AU

(Hillside is a single storey building, now home to Haltwhistle's Youth Club, on the left as you approach the middle school)

Come along and hear more about current/ongoing projects and partnerships - verge walks, Community Energy group, plastic recycling with Berry Global, Zero Waste shop plans.

It's been a while since we've had a public meeting and there must be people who are unaware of our existence, please pass an invitation on to any one you know who might like to find out what we're about and possibly get involved...

I'll make a pan of soup - contributions of food to share welcomed, do include a South Tynedale harvested ingredient if possible!

Plastic recycling project
Info stall in Haltwhistle Market square on Sat 9th & 23rd October 10.30am to noon

We've taken over 100kg of HDPE no. 2 plastic to the Berry Global factory in Plenmeller.
There are collection points in Bardon Mill and Halton Le Gate. We hope to establish further collection points and will be promoting the scheme with an info stall in Haltwhistle Market Place on Sat. 9th & 23rd of October between 10am and noon.
Please get in touch if you are able to help on either of these mornings or if you can offer a collection point. Deliveries to the factory are by arrangement and Friday is a preferred day.

We're encouraging groups or communities to collect and will take requests for items from the Plaswood range. We're not expecting a group to collect specifically for their 'want' but will pool our collections and work through the wish list.
Do you belong to a local group or organisation that would like to benefit from this project?
A couple of people have expressed an interest in making bespoke items from the coloured range of Plaswood lumber - any requests???
The Plaswood range of items can be seen here:

Co-op soft plastic recycling
From the Co-op's website: "Great news! You can now recycle soft plastics like crisp packets and bread bags at a Co-op near you. It doesn't matter where you bought them. Just pop your soft plastics into our recycling units and we'll do the rest. It means we can all do our bit for the environment." And the store in Haltwhistle is one of the 1,500 shops participating in this scheme.
I turned up clutching a handful of plastic that passed the 'scrunch test' and deposited it in the designated bin.
Spotting a member of staff I asked where it was sent for recycling and what did it get remanufactured into. A blank look, the manager was called over. 'Oh, we send it all back to the distribution centre in Birtley'. And what do they do with it? Well several phone calls and emails later I'm none the wiser, enquiries continue...

Plastic roads
Cumbria is one of the first local authorities in the country to trial the use of waste plastics in road construction:

Verge Walks
The last in our program of walks this year wasn't strictly a verge walk, we looked at the rather special collection of plants growing alongside the South Tyne in Bardon Mill. Plants that are able to flourish thanks to the polluted water leaking from old lead mines.
Thanks to Lesley and Libby for leading these walks, this last one was attended by a dozen of us, some experienced botanists and others new to wild flower identification, all were made very welcome and included in the evening. We've every intention of continuing the project next year when we'll revisit some roadsides and add a new one or two. A visit to verges around Halton Lea Gate has been requested by new parish council representatives.

Plant life has a free-to-join webinar, 'Communities in action - on the road to success', about their national verge campaign on October 7th between 6.30 and 7.45pm.
Here's what they say about the event: Are you interested in wildlife-friendly road verges? Perhaps you're a wildlife group, a councillor or highways officer, or a contractor but not sure where to start or need some inspiration? Hear from individuals and organisations from around the country who are transforming road verges for wildflowers and the wildlife they support.
Details: Search for: Fall into nature

Community Climate Champions
As part of NCC's Community Climate Champions Pilot Project, Haltwhistle Partnership provided NCC with information about activities going on in the area that were helping address climate change. This has being compiled by NCC into a Community Action Plan for the area however since NCC added their own commentary and statistics it is seen as their plan with our input. This feeling was shared with NCC at the end of the pilot project. It is intended to develop the document further so that it is truly a community action plan for the area. We understand Parish and Town Councils have been asked what they are doing to address climate change and we hope to share this document with them soon and include any further projects that are being developed.

NCC is rolling out its Community Champions project to everyone online at 5pm on 29th September. You can book tickets (free) here

I recently took half a tonne of raw fleeces - that's wool straight off the sheep's back to the British Wool Marketing Board depot just outside Carlisle and received the princely sum of £62.82p which, needless to say, barely covers the cost of getting the wool sacks there and is a fraction of the cost of shearing the sheep! I've successfully used daggings, that's wool I clip off the tails of the ewes and lambs to improve presentation in the sale ring and to guard against fly strike, in my wee bit of garden. I know that wool can be successfully incorporated into high quality compost (see and made into garden felt for use as a weed suppressant ( but the processing involved makes the price of the end product high and so reduces the quantity of wool likely to find a home via these uses. Could the wool, I wondered, not be used in its raw state?
I turned to an old friend of mine, Phil Sumption, who is editor of the Organic Grower, the quarterly magazine of the Organic Growers' Alliance and has many years experience in horticultural research. I told him about my tiny payment from the Wool Marketing Board and asked if the use of raw wool in horticulture had been looked into, this was his response:

That is dire - and all these petroleum based clothes that have to go into landfill - crazy world! I think there might be some mileage in setting up some sort of exchange portal. We tried to get some funding for one to connect farmers and growers for land/skills exchange through Farming the Future but it didn't get funded. I can put it to OGA and also the research idea - maybe through the Agroecology Research Collaboration that I'm part of or Innovative Farmers. One of the best uses for fleeces is for mulching trees and with the rise of agroforestry, I'm sure there's a demand - and with veg growers there's a lot of smaller scale no-dig enterprise who'd be interested. Though I guess geographical location and transport costs could be an issue...

There's a lot of sheep around here, a lot of trees to be planted, and farmers who just aren't bothering to sell their wool. I wonder if STS might look into the possibility of linking tree planting projects with farmers happy to give their wool in support of such initiatives... Something to talk about at the harvest social maybe...
(In the meantime if anyone would like a bag or two of wool daggings or turkey feathers to use as a garden mulch, please get in touch with me)

Meanwhile Haltwhistle Partnership, with help from local people and the Rural Design Centre, is researching the possibility of added value wool products and looking into the feasibility of setting up a mini woollen mill in Haltwhistle to take local fleece and process it into pellets for the garden/hanging baskets etc, fleece for felting, and wool for a variety of uses such as rug making, knitting, weaving etc as well as offering a service to process individual fleeces. Besides adding value to local fleece this would create jobs, offer education and volunteering opportunities and provide a tourist attraction. Anyone with further ideas, information or interest in getting involved should contact Julie Gibbon

Haltwhistle Community Development - Growing Haltwhistle Together
Abigale Cheverst & Ellen Moran have taken the role of community development workers as a job share. It's a Haltwhistle Partnership initiative supported by the Karbon fund (see below). Their first task is to develop a community allotment/growing project at Hillside. They've got lots of great ideas and are arranging a launch with workshops, fun activities and a bit of a consultation to find out what people would like to see the project do on Sunday October 31st. Watch out for further details.


Karbon Homes has generously donated a special fund to benefit community projects in and around Haltwhistle

The Haltwhistle Partnership is administrating the fund, and a Steering Group of local residents has been formed to commission projects and distribute the funding over the next 2 years.
We are looking for projects that fit into the criteria outlined by Karbon Homes below, which resulted from their community consultation in Autumn 2019. We will fund both capital costs and revenue costs.


  • Health and Wellbeing - supporting initiatives that are aimed at promoting physical health, mental health or chronic conditions such as dementia.
  • Environment - supporting initiatives that promote civic pride and community clean-ups.
  • Activities for young people - subsidising the cost of activities for young people to take part in, such as sporting or arts /crafts or cookery classes.
  • Facilities - supporting initiatives that improve the local facilities. The sports centre and swimming pool were regularly discussed as areas of importance as focal points for the community. Initiatives could be based on improving these and also improving the promotion of activities that take place there.
  • Transport - accessing activities both within and external to Haltwhistle was seen as a challenge for all groups. Initiatives could support community. transport schemes or subsidise the cost of travelling further afield for local residents. Particular attention to be paid to projects that benefit Halton Le Gate and the surrounding area.
  • Community Hub/ Enterprise - supporting initiatives that look to create small scale, local enterprise hubs or initiatives.

We welcome ideas from individuals, small groups or existing organisations, however, full applications will need to be made via an organisation. The Steering Group will help individuals or new groups to find a suitable organisation or to form a new one.

If you wish to discuss your ideas before completing the form please contact the Steering Group Chairman, Julie Gibbon via or phone 01434 344383. Julie will put you in contact with the most appropriate Steering Group members to chat through your ideas.

Apple juice

Gilsland village hall, 18th & 19th September
Apple tree in your garden? Glut of apples this year? At Gilsland village hall over the w/e of 18th & 19th September you can use an apple press and pasteuriser for a small one-off charge of £3. (£5 if you want us to do all the work!). You will get about 3/4 litre of juice per kg of apples, so each pressing (40kg) will produce around 25-30 litres (40 wine bottles).
If you want to donate your unwanted apples and/or any spare bottles (with tops) let us know and we may be able to use those too (depending on demand for the press).
Contact via our Facebook page Gilsland Village Hall, email address or ring me direct (Tel 47371) and we can book you a slot over the weekend, or just turn up. Clare Hawkins.


Hexham Farmers' Market, 9th October
Transition Tynedale are pleased to be back with their annual Apple event. Take along apples for pressing or identification. Get stuck in with the child-friendly pressing activities. Sample delicious fresh juice.

Great Big Green Week - 18th - 26th September
The Great Big Green Week is a nationwide celebration of action on climate change, taking place across the UK from 18 - 26 September. The aim is to collectively celebrate all the positive grassroots actions being taken to tackle climate change and protect green spaces and to encourage others to get involved too. Great Big Green Week also calls on politicians to raise their ambition and champion action on climate change, ahead of November's crucial COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Sustainable Brampton are hosting a FREE workshop and lunch event on Sunday 26th September between 11am to 3pm at the community centre as their contribution to the Great Big Green Week.

There's lots of other events happening in Cumbria. For the full list see:

Free trees are available from:
Individual trees for individual residents.
Packs for group projects

It's important to plant the right tree in the right place. The Woodland Trust has lots of advice and information about creating woodlands - that's planting trees and caring for them so they can grow to maturity.

Together for our planet - The National Lottery Community Fund
Grants from £1,000 to £10,000 of National Lottery funding are being offered to support communities across the UK to take action on climate change. Projects should reflect what matters to your community and can be small in scale. They could cover an area like:
  • Food
  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Waste and consumption
  • The natural environment

You do not need to be an expert in any of these areas to apply. The Fund is particularly interested to hear from people starting to think about taking action on climate change in their communities.

In November 2021, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The UK Government's Together for Our Planet initiative has been created to engage people with COP26 and inspire positive climate action. National Lottery funding aims to support this by helping communities to take action on climate change.

The deadline for applications is 18 November 2021.

Together for Our Planet. The National Lottery Community Fund (

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359


Click to emailOpens in a new windowOpens in a new window