Installing bird boxes on the Birkby Bradley Greenway
On 1st December Jeff Keenlyside presented a vision of the nature park project to an open meeting of Huddersfield Civic Society. A report of the session by David Wyles, chair of HCS follows
The Plan for a Three Valleys Nature Park
David Wyles, Chair of Huddersfield Civic Society) reports on an HCS open meeting, held on line on 1st December 2020.
“Jeff Keenlyside, of Greenstreams, presented ambitious proposals to create a nature park covering the enormous assets of the rivers Colne, Holme and Calder areas in Kirklees.
“Combining the shared vision of Greenstreams, River Holme Connections, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and others, Jeff outlined ideas for taking the 3 Valleys Nature Park project forward and how it will benefit the whole community.
“The project proposes many improvements to the valley environments and their inter-connecting links. Its realisation would offer enormous benefits for the health and wellbeing of residents, the economy and the environment.”
He outlined how the network of paths and tracks provide more opportunities for walking and cycling, both for recreation and commuting. The restoration of waterside sites offers the potential for improving wildlife habitats and ecological diversity and the management of water. Taken together with tree planting these measures all support climate change resilience.
The potential for improving sites to enhance these opportunities was illustrated by various projects, including gravel extraction sites at Ravensthorpe; local destinations such as Snow Island, off Kings Mill Lane, Huddersfield; and exemplar projects from the region such as the RSPB St. Aiden’s Nature Park in Leeds.
Equally challenging was the need to ensure adequate maintenance of paths and environments, illustrated by poor surfacing and encroachment of vegetation along many river and canal side paths. Of equal concern was the continuing problem of fly-tipping and plastic waste contamination of the river systems.
Moves to re-establish habitats through improvement of water quality and structural improvements, such as salmon ladders at weirs, are symbolic of what could be achieved through combined efforts.
In conclusion, Jeff paid tribute to the many hours of voluntary work that had helped create marked improvements along sections of the river corridors. In order to move the project forward, a development plan for the Colne Valley section of the park now needs resources to progress it.
He said: “The plan now required a strategic vision to raise public awareness, secure contributions from the public, private and voluntary sectors, to establish agreement with landowners and develop pilot projects. We aim to establish robust agreements regarding future maintenance and management.
“This is an essential next step to mobilise public involvement and raise funding”.