The Orston Millennium Green was created as part of a national project to mark the new Millennium. It includes a mown area for sport & recreation alongside “natural” areas for enjoyment of nature and wildlife.
The Green can be reached by a gate on the left-hand side of the road when leaving the village along Smite Lane, just after crossing the Smite road bridge.
The Millennium Green now forms a permanent area of green space for the benefit of the local community. The footbridge over the River Smite, built as part of the Millennium Green development, has linked 2 existing footpaths, creating a circular walk from the village that passes through the Green. Click here for sketch map of the walk
The Green provides an ideal location for village events which bring people together and also help fund maintenance of the Green.
Recent events include
Our most recent event – Saturday 12th July 2014 Camp Out
This provided another opportunity to camp out on the Green. The weather was perfect. Things kicked off around 4pm with a rounder’s competition, followed by time for picnics/BBQs. There was then some music provided by local musicians Level 7, followed by an Open Mike session. Unlike last year, this was a DIY event, with everyone bringing their own food, drinks, chairs etc. There was a large gas BBQ available (courtesy of the Durham Ox). Toilet facilities were by courtesy of the Parish Council.
July 2012 Orston’s own Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on the Smite
July 2013 Orston Family Festival – our most ambitious event to date – Duck Race, Dog Show, storytelling & Games, plus an evening of live music rounded off with a village camp-out on the Green
What’s going on at the Green this year
The Willow Arch has undergone extensive refurbishment, with ground being cleared on either side to encourage growth. Cuttings are being used to gradually extend the arch.
A new Victoria Plum Tree has been planted to increase the variety of fruit trees.
The trustees will be starting a programme of planting wildflowers and bulbs in the woodland area close to the Smite, assisted by valuable advice from members of the Orston Garden Club. This planting is designed to bring more colour and variety of habitat. Work will start with some ground clearance on Wednesday 16th July and Thursday 24th July. We are also investigating the possibilities for creation of a wildflower meadow next year.
How can you get involved?
• Please contact any of the trustees if you are interested in helping with the wildflower planting schemes.
• We are actively seeking a replacement for the large log that was a popular play feature for many children. If you are having any trees felled, please contact one of the trustees if you think you may have something suitable. (Link to trustees here)
Further information about the Green
The land for the Millennium Green was donated by a former resident, Barry Gibson. Money was raised from local and central government agencies as well as the residents of Orston to finance the planting of trees and the building of paths. Money was also raised to build a new footbridge over the Smite. The names of donors were engraved on the spindles of the bridge but these have become very difficult to decipher as the bridge has weathered. However, a list can be found here
The Green now contains a memorial stone dedicated to Barry Gibson. Photo of the naming of the footbridge as the Gibson Bridge and the unveiling of the stone below:
The Green is divided into a number of habitats, a mown utility area for sport and recreation, a flower meadow, deciduous woodlands planted with native species and a wilderness area where the pond once was. There are a number of fruit trees and villagers are welcome to pick fruit in season.
Other points of interest are the Major Oak clone and the willow tunnel.
The River Smite which runs along the eastern edge of the green is a rich habitat in itself with many varieties of fish including a number of large pike.
Management of the Green
The Millennium Green and the Gibson Bridge belong to the people of Orston and are administered by the Orston Millennium Green Trust, which is a registered charity (1076070). The trustees are all local Orston residents. The trust fundraises for and runs the green, within the bounds of its trust deed, for the benefit of the local community. Contact details for the current trustees can be found here. Please contact any of the trustees if you have any comments, views or suggestions regarding the Green, or are interested in becoming a trustee.
The Trustees meet at least twice a year to conduct the administration and business of the Trust, in accordance with the Trust Deed. The Annual General Meeting (AGM), open to any Orston residents, is normally held in January. A copy of the Chairman’s report presented at the January 2014 meeting is available here, along with recent Minutes here.
Maintenance of the area is carried out by Trustees and other volunteers, bringing in specialist help when necessary. A local farmer, Will Gunn, does invaluable work mowing the grass and ensuring the Green is able to host events.
Restrictions on use
The Millennium Green has minimal rules governing its use. However, experience and health and safety considerations have led to a number of restrictions being introduced.
The following are not permitted on the Millennium Green, the Gibson Bridge or the Smite abutting the Green:
The use of motorised vehicles, swimming, hunting or shooting, fishing after dark, the setting of fires, camping, destruction of vegetation, disturbing of wildlife, drinking of alcohol after dark, or any activity thought undesirable by a Trustee at that time.
Parents should be aware that the Green is unsupervised and that there is open access to the river, which can be deep in places. There are warning notices on the banks.
Q: Why is camping not allowed on the Green?
A: As toilets are not available on site, it is considered a potential health hazard to allow camping. The only exception to this is for village events organised by the trustees.
Q: Can we use the Millennium Green for a private event such as a wedding?
A: The Green is a community space without facilities. The Trustees feel that private events would restrict access to other users and so such events are not permitted.