New benches and daffodils

As many residents know, the green space by the vet has become quite run down in recent years. To reverse this trend and secure the space for public use in the future we’ve been trying to spruce it up.

Earlier in the year we planted out some small flower beds. Now it’s bulb planting season so we’ve used some of our “It’s Your Neighbourhood” grant to plant some daffodils around the edge of the grass (so as not to interfere with the council grass cutting).

A big thanks to Sue, Wendy, Roger, Margaret, Pat and Mathew, who came out in the cold rain!


It may not look much now, but hopefully we’ll get a nice display in the spring.


Many of you will also have noticed the run-down old concrete bench, crumbling and full of earwigs. We applied to the council to replace the bench and this was funded by the councillors’ Members Initiative Fund. We now have two new wooden benches which are much more attractive than the original.


We were also able to get a plaque on one of the benches to commemorate Harry Sampson, who sadly died earlier this year. Harry was a great character of Gilesgate and good friend of the group, often lending us tools for our projects. He will be missed and we hope he would approve of the new benches.


There will be more updates on this patch of green space in the future, stay tuned!

Flower Beds: Update

Earlier this year our group planted out some new flower beds on the North side of Gilesgate. We hope to improve this neglected side of Gilesgate and tie it in with the recent improvements to the Duckpond.

Here are some recent pictures showing the progress over the last four months:


As ever, if people want to help with weeding the beds or give them a drink if/when the weather improves, then please lend a hand whenever you have time. Also, if anyone has any lawn edging shears to help keep the grass as bay then that would be really helpful; just get in touch at .

New Flower Beds

The Friends group is not about just picking up litter and maintaining the environment; we also hope to improve our area. To this end we recently won a £500 RHS “it’s your neighbourhood” grant. The first phase of this grant has been used to install new flower beds on the northern side of Gilesgate; to smarten the place up and tie it in with the much improved Duck Pond.

Two of the four new beds have been planted out. In front of #93 we have a bed containing snowdrops and white roses, with more bulbs to be planted in the autumn.


By the post box we have a blue and pink theme: lavender and heather for the bees, with the lupins and dahlias to provide some height in the summer.


There are two more to be planted out on the land by the vet; this will happen as part of a more general tidying up of that green space… stay tuned.

The beds are a Friends of Gilesgate initiative; the council have supported us by digging them out but it is up to us to maintain them, so if you see a weed pull it out!

Spring Clean

Thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday, young and old, to help with the first spring clean of the bank this year. We collected several bags of rubbish and left the area much tidier!

Friends of Gilesgate volunteers smartening up the Duck Pond


The crocuses have come back better than ever 
The haul

The area is looking good in the spring sunshine and we can keep it that way with just a little effort every now and again. If you know anyone who would be interested in joining our volunteers please share and let them know!

Bank Holiday Activities

Thank you to everyone who turned out at the weekend to lend a hand. We managed to get plenty done and, despite it being a bank holiday weekend, the weather was glorious.

As usual there was an abundance of litter to pick up, although less than last time, so maybe we’re making some progress.


We also gave the war memorial a bit of a clean to remove any algae and dirt from the winter,


The pavements on the north side of Gilesgate had become overgrown by about a foot with grass so we edged the grass back to its original extent and uncovered a lovely old stone kerb,


and finally just as an update, the grass seed is coming up on the patch we restored in front of #97.


Fencing restoration

A big thank you to everyone who turned up at the weekend to help restore the bit of green in front of 97 Gilesgate, especially to Gwendolynn, Peter, Paul and Tony who got the posts back in.


The rubble was removed from the ground, the fencing was reinstated and repainted, the soil dug over and the grass reseeded.


DSC_9567 copyDSC_9569 copy20150418_144850 20150418_144906

Some residents clearly didn’t mind the rubble and mud… now rehoused in a nearby pond.

DSC_9583 copy

Spring(ish) Clean

Thank you to everyone who braved the appalling weather yesterday to help us pick up litter, especially Richard’s daughter who got stuck in for the whole litter pick and looked like she needed defrosting afterwards!

We only covered a small area, from the Gilesgate roundabout to the former DLI pub, but we picked up a surprising amount of litter.


I know that litter picks sometimes feel a bit futile but I think we made a big difference to the area; it only takes one crisp packet (and there were many) to ruin a daffodil display. Also we made a big difference to what had become a magnet for litter between the DLI and the petrol station, some of which has been there for years and was an absolute eyesore.


Although the weather gods were against us, we didn’t go completely unrewarded. Deep in the layers of rubbish we found a very wet and faded £5 note, which once we have the bank account set up (and the note dries out) will be the first deposit in our Friends of Historic Gilesgate fund for improvements.


Soon after we finished so did the rain, making way for a beautiful spring evening in a litter-free Gilesgate.





Thanks once again to everyone who could come. We plan on doing litter picks like this regularly to keep on top of the problem so if you couldn’t make it this time then stay tuned for the next date.

Duck Pond Spring Clean

After several years of decline, the Duck Pond has been spruced up for spring thanks to the efforts of the local council. Here are some before and after shots of the ongoing work. We hope to build on these efforts and really make Gilesgate stand out as a beautiful historic area of Durham City.

The noticeboard has been replaced. Look out for updates about our activities, events at St Giles’ Church and other Gilesgate news,

old message board Gilesgate (5)

The white fencing is white again,


and spring is on the way with the new planters,

DSCF0382DSCF0296 DSCF0386


Hopefully this is just the beginning for the restoration of historic Gilesgate.