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Hoppings 1914

This photo card from the Jack & Geoff Phillips Photographic Collection dates from 1914 when the Annual Hoppings was held at Green Pool Field, Jesmond Dene. The reason for it not being on the Town Moor was it was World War 1 and the moor was being used by the military.

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I really do think the town moor is a massive waste of space. It has the potential to be one of the UK’s best inner city green spaces but all we do is graze cattle on it and have the odd fair. Imagine something like Singapore’s ‘Garden by the bay’ with huge conservatories and vertical gardens. There’s also potential to create a woodland with all the wildlife that could bring, with animal underpasses for safe passage across the roads. We could have all of this as well as plenty of space for events like the Hoppings.
I know this is the land of fantasy right now but it seems like we could really do something spectacular and unique.
 

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I really do think the town moor is a massive waste of space. It has the potential to be one of the UK’s best inner city green spaces but all we do is graze cattle on it and have the odd fair
Thanks for not calling the beasts cows. There is another aspect which is that the land is badly contaminated by heavy metals - particularly lead - through centuries of fallout from coal smoke. We know this from the accredited test results on allotments on and around the moor. So it's not fit for food production. Fine for football, the Hoppings and woodland. The Freemen don't have much in the way of forestry skills and couldn't establish woodland even if they wanted to - their attempts to plant trees usually fail. Though they are pretty good at clearing them.
 

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Unusually the grass growth has slowed and, on Castle Leazes, the cattle have grazed it almost flat. They're not hungry yet but, in a week to ten days, they will be. Strange times - I've not seen this before. No doubt the freemen will have a good hay store. There's no orchids in the park this year but the carp are certainly spawning ...
 

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Nuns Moor, this morning. The top - southern - border has been strimmed clean, presumably to make way for a wooden fence to retain the cattle. They've had a grazing mix sown and that yellow cast shows it was expecting a good dose of nitrate fertiliser. This fenced off patch of vegetation is a mystery ...
 

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Warning to Newcastle Town Moor bottle diggers leaving behind 'horrendous' six-foot-deep holes and broken glass

Chronicle Live website article from 25/09/20

EXTRACT

Warning to Town Moor bottle diggers leaving behind 'horrendous' six-foot-deep holes and broken glass

Massive pits are being dug by bottle diggers coming to the moor 'in the dead of night' which officials fear pose a major safety risk for walkers, dogs and the moor’s cows

David Wilson, chair of the Freemen’s stewards committee, said that the scale of the damage caused was “fairly massive”.

Town Moor superintendent Kevin Batey confirmed that there had been bottle digging incidents reported on September 11, 12, and 17 – with a section of Nuns Moor Central a particular target because it was excluded from a professional dig some years ago to protect trees.


Full article on Warning over 'horrendous' six-foot-deep holes on Town Moor

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Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of trees are set to be planted on Newcastle Town Moor, after a 'great stride' in green plans.
ChronicleLIVE, 24th September 2020

Hundreds of trees are set to be planted on Newcastle’s beloved Town Moor. Calls were made earlier this year for the Freemen of Newcastle to allow planting on the 1,000 acres of open land at the heart of the city, as part of plans to combat climate change and make Newcastle carbon neutral by 2030. It has now been confirmed that plans are in the works to allow hundreds, possibly even thousands, of trees to grow at various locations around the moor.

The Freemen manage the Town Moor alongside the City Council and exercise a historic right to graze cattle on the huge patch of common land next to the City Centre, which is also used to host major events like the Hoppings. David Wilson, chair of the Freemen’s stewards committee confirmed that "many hundreds" of trees could be planted at up to five locations around the Town Moor over the next couple of years.

One confirmed area for planting is on Nuns Moor, where a scheme is planned in conjunction with military charity Walking With The Wounded.Mr Wilson said that project was at a “poignant” site opposite Fenham Barracks on Barrack Road.

Read More - Hundreds of trees set to be planted on Newcastle's Town Moor
 

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Bottle diggers appear to have put in the groundworks too!

Just throw a tree in there.

This is great news, and such a no brainer. A town forest over a town moor is much more exciting.
 

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Here's a picture of a bottle digging hole on Nuns Moor about five years ago. (The man didn't want to be pictured - note his primitive spade). This plot is heavily contaminated by heavy metals and PCBs and if the digger had been in an industrial setting then he would've needed a full body suit. Of course they don't tell you that but it may partially explain their aberrant behaviour. Lead-poisoned mayhem.
 

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The tree planting announcement will be a distraction for something else going on - perhaps the start of grazing the former allotment site at Nuns Moor. Whrn the post- medieval freemen started grazing the moor the land was in good heart, but it's not now. Centuries of settled air pollution have made it critically unfit to produce food, mostly due to lead contamination (All the grazed sections are beside busy roads).. The Freemen illegally felled the trees on the allotments ('the council never told us you needed a license') and were told to replace them by 270 (?) new plantings by Forest England. (A prison sentence would have been appropriate). These are probably what's going in and we can just hope that they employ a good contractor.
 
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