What's of Interest This Month.............

Warmer temperatures means the ground, which may have frozen over the winter months, grows softer and more yielding to plants. We may well experience some increased rainfall, which helps to water any seeds taking root in the ground or similarly, any bulbs planted in Autumn/Winter.

For some Spring interest, why not have a look under the Cherry tree in the Claremont Quad?


Amongst other things you will find Eranthis hyemalis or Winter Aconite’s, which are small tuberous perennials with palmately or pinnately lobed basal leaves and cup-shaped flowers held above a collar of deeply lobed stem leaves. They tend to grow in a humus-rich, moderately fertile soil that doesn’t dry out. They will tolerate most soil types but does best in alkaline soils.
Recommended planting places are flower borders and beds, ground cover, under-planting of Roses and shrubs or in a cottage & Informal garden setting.

In addition, for welcome assurance that the brighter days of spring are on their way, look no further than Snowdrops (Galanthus). They are surprisingly varied in height, flower size, shape and even colouring. Given a moist soil they will multiply into drifts and provide plenty of plants to share with fellow gardeners.
Snowdrop bulbs are very prone to drying out, so if sourcing bulbs from a nursery or garden centre is the only option, buy them as soon as they are available and plant immediately!
Grounds Maintenance

The Grounds Team is responsible for a number of the external elements of the Campus including the maintenance of the campus landscape, which incorporates all grassed and shrub areas, paths, hedges and trees.

Quadrangle Lawn

We are also responsible for the maintenance of the extensive portfolio of outdoor sports grounds for all major team sports, which comprise of:

  • 27 grass pitches (Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Lacrosse, Cricket)

  • Sand dressed artificial pitch (Hockey, Lacrosse)

  • 3G rubber crumb pitch (Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, American Football)

  • Water Sports Centre at Newburn (the home of the Boat and Canoe clubs)

The grounds at Cochrane Park, Longbenton and Heaton provide excellent venues for training and matches all year round.

Our Sports Ground at Cochrane Park was the dedicated football training venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games

External Cleaning

The Grounds team also consists of a dedicated clean team who are responsible for keeping the university campus clean and tidy. The team consists of three members of staff who empty waste bins, pick litter, clean graffiti and chewing gum and also have access to a mechanical road sweeper

Snow and Ice Clearance

In the winter months we are also resonsible for the snow clearing and gritting operation............Keep and eye on this page for tips on how to try and avoid slips this winter!

Arboriculture and Woodland Management

Tree Walk and talk picture

In 2010 the Grounds Maintenance team invested in Woodplan, a tree management database, and embarked upon a structured programme of tree inspections.

Each major tree, or in some circumstances tree group, now has an individual entry on the database, recording such information as species, dimensions, condition and works required, together with hazard rating. The system has been used to help prioritise remedial work to the tree stock.

The university is rightly proud of its tree collection and over the past 2 years the grounds team have advertised a ‘Tree Walk and Talk.’

This involves the Grounds Manager conducting regular tree walks for interested staff, students and members of the public, pointing out the notable tree species and the management techniques employed.

Green Waste Recycling

The majority of the University’s green waste is composted at a site in Longbenton to produce mulch, which is subsequently returned to the borders.
The green waste that is not recycled is due to large areas of grass being cut with machinery that does not collect the clippings.
Hire of heavy duty shredder once per year allows us to incorporate the woody waste and green waste into one compost heap.


For general enquiries please contact:

Ian Walker - Grounds Manager, on Ext 86278 or

Tom Vasey - Assistant Grounds Manager, on Ext 87964 or

To report a grounds defect ring our Helpdesk & Admin Team on Ext 87171.