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Statutory Protection for Precious Green Lung

Council Process Formal Declaration of the Ponderosa as a 'Local Nature Reserve'

Following a request from Cllr Jonathan Elmer, Durham County Council are processing the declaration of the Ponderosa (and all areas bounded in red above) as a Local Nature Reserve. This is a statutory designation made under the National Parks Act, 1949, that will dramatically reduce the possibility of future development on the site, helping ensure Langley Moor, Meadowfield and Brandon are retained as discrete communities. The area to be declared is in Council ownership and will NOT include those areas currently used for sport.

Much of the Ponderosa is covered by a hay meadow with numerous wildflowers, butterflies and birds, but there are numerous improvements that could still be made such as:

  • Improved footpaths providing better access
  • Signs to explain what can be seen on the site
  • Improved foot bridges across Goats Beck
  • Creation of new wild flowers areas
  • Improved woodland management

The declaration will not prevent any current use of the site, but will enable access to new income streams that will cover costs of improvements.

Cllr Elmer would like to form a ‘Friends of the Ponderosa’ group who will have the role of advising on future site enhancements. If you value this site and would like to be on this group, then please email Jonathan (