DOZENS turned out for the launch of a new £500,000 project in Weardale today hoping to shed light on nature’s unsung heroes.

Cold-blooded and Spineless will see The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership bring invertebrates to the fore through research, education and monitoring.

A £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has made the five-year project possible and the official launch in Harehope Quarry, near Frosterley today was hailed a success.

The event was hosted by partnership chairman Councillor Eddie Tomlinson, and nature lovers of all ages worked until dusk to observe a variety of invertebrates.

Samantha Tranter, Cold-blooded and Spineless officer, said: “These small but perfectly formed creatures are definitely misunderstood. Lots of people squirm at the thought of a beetle, or panic if a moth gets too close, but they shouldn’t.”

She is encouraging people to get involved with the project and help count the range of creatures emerging in the North Pennines in spring.

Ms Tranter added: “It's wonderful to see so many people here today. We've had school pupils here this afternoon too. We want as many people to get involved as possible. We’ll be running identification courses, asking for volunteers to part in surveys and field work and getting into local schools to educate the next generation about why they should never squirm when they see a worm.”

To find out more about the project and how to get involved, contact Ms Tranter on 01388 528801 or