Town Council announces High Hirst Wood Meadow Project

Hebden Royd Town Council Climate Emergency Committee are happy to publicise their new project, High Hirst Wood Meadow.

The Town Council leases some of the land between High Hirst allotments and Sandy Gate and until now this land has been left open for cattle to graze. In response to the climate emergency the Town Council has decided to take more positive and practical action to utilise the land for the benefit of the community and the natural world.

Little known in the UK, wood meadows are mixtures of woodland and meadow that combine the biodiversity of both habitats and are exceptionally rich in life.

Councillor Nikki Harvey, Chair of the Climate Emergency Committee said: "We decided to create High Hirst Wood Meadow as we were inspired by the fantastic national examples being created from previously farmed / grazed land to help combat devastating biodiversity loss in the UK – in particular Three Hagges Woodmeadow near York.

Wood meadows can be any size, and can be created in gardens, urban areas, parks, farmland, and community woods. Orchards, mini-meadows, hedges and woodland can be turned into types of wood meadow by planting pollinator-friendly shrubs and wildflowers beneath native trees and ensuring lots of habitat edges.

Following the successful planting of trees on the High Hirst site in 2014 by Treesponsibility, work will begin this winter on the following:

  • A small community orchard of low height fruit trees will be planted
  • Hedgerows will be planted around the perimeter to encourage birds, insects and other wildlife into the area and ensure privacy for neighbouring properties
  • A small willow coppice will be created in the currently boggy and wet land towards the top of the field for natural flood management. This should help alleviate any future flood risk and will provide willow for leaky dams too
  • The area already planted to trees will be opened-up to give easier access
  • A wildflower meadow will be created in part of the field
  • We will explore allocation of an area for vegetable and soft fruit growing in agreement with interested local partners

Cllr Harvey continues: "Planning consent for a community orchard at the site has already been obtained and the fruit from the orchard will be 'fair access', so it is hoped that in time there will be a selection of delicious heritage fruit for the community to sample.

There will also be opportunities for community involvement as the site develops including fruit tree grafting, pruning and hedge laying. In the meantime, suggestions for further developing and utilising this land are very welcome, as are any questions you may have at this stage."

Queries can be sent via email, with the subject title High Hirst Wood Meadow, to

Added: Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Photos from Hebden Royd