VOLUNTEERS have come together to help give rare flowers a chance to grow by removing thick gorse from a beauty spot.

Workers removed the unwanted plants in a "scrub bashing" exercise at the Littlewood Local Nature Reserve at Cassop, in east Durham.

Durham County Council countryside development officer Maria Murphy said: “We were removing unwanted and invasive plants from an area which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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“There are really rare plants on the site, which forms part of the magnesian limestone grassland – a unique area that stretches from Sunderland to North Yorkshire.

“It is the only place in the world where certain plants flower. Gorse is quite bushy and spreads very quickly and favours the ground conditions of these flowers.”

Miss Murphy said Durham volunteer countryside rangers had removed gorse from most of the site’s bankside.

She added: “It is an ongoing process and we are always looking for new volunteers.”

Anyone who is interested in doing voluntary work should contact 0191-372 9100 or visit www.durham.gov.uk/countryside.