Sheep grazing coming to High Hirst Woodmeadow!

As hay meadows disappear from the countryside throughout Britain, it is even more important that we care for those we have and allow them and other precious meadow plants to flourish. We understand that the best way to do this - and indeed the only current practicable way - is to graze the site with sheep.

  • This year the sheep will be on site from the end of October to mid December. There may need to be a temporary stock electric fence protecting the tree planted area of the site while the sheep are on, so please don't touch!
  • From next year it is likely to be a bit earlier in the year, i.e. August and September and for a few weeks in late Spring. Generally, it is unlikely to be more than 3 months a year in total.

Our aim will be to maintain the safety and well being of sheep to as high a standard as possible at the Woodmeadow. We have to do all that we can to prevent them being worried or even killed by a dog attack, so we will:

  • Have signage requesting that dogs are kept on short leads on the site.
  • Replace the old fence, which has largely collapsed, between the site and the neighbouring wood with new fencing to help keep the sheep safe from dogs off lead running onto the Woodmeadow.
  • Politely request that dogs are kept on short leads on the site throughout the year for the benefit of wildlife (i.e. ground nesting birds) and visitors. We also request that all dog poo is picked up.

Future plans

We plan to plant the final 40 fruit trees – heritage damson, pear and apple – this winter. All the fruit trees on the site will be protected from sheep grazing. As the fruit trees develop we hope that you and other local residents will be able to enjoy lots of free organic fruit straight from the tree with any excess being donated to local food banks etc. Other plans for the future include:

  • Provision of some benches.
  • Improving access for those with limited mobility at the top of the site.
  • Creating a pond on the site, which will be fenced in.
  • Installing a couple of interpretation panels to explain the site's biodiversity and importance.
  • Running occasional events, such as a celebration of National Meadows Day in July.

Keeping you posted

  • The High Hirst Woodmeadow Facebook page is best way to keep updated about what's happening at the Woodmeadow and volunteering opportunities as they arise.
  • A new Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Coordinator has been appointed. Part of this role will be overseeing the site and, we hope, establishing a Friends of High Hirst volunteering group. If you are interested in joining the group please let us know!

We are very sorry if any of these plans cause inconvenience to anyone, but hope that there will be wide support for our work in creating a very special mixed meadow, orchard and woodland habitat for everyone, local residents especially, and wildlife to benefit from. If you would like to know more about the new Friends group, or have any questions or feedback for us, please contact: or telephone: 01422 842181.

Thanking you for your support in this work!

Added: Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Photos from Hebden Royd