Progress continues at High Hirst Woodmeadow

Hebden Royd Town Council's High Hirst Woodmeadow project launched earlier this year despite the many wider challenges that Covid-19 has bought about.

The land between High Hirst allotments at Dodnaze and Sandy Gate leased from Calderdale Council, is to be made into a woodmeadow which will include woodland, a community orchard, a wildflower meadow and hedging, to help combat biodiversity loss and to reduce flood risk in the area.

To date, the access to the site has been completed as well as the first half of a heritage orchard planted by local experts Mark Simmonds of Fruit Culture and Beth Morgan of Rooting and Fruiting. The second half of the orchard is anticipated to be planted later this year. Forus Tree have also planted a willow coppice which help to slow the flow of water channels, helping to reduce flood risk.

On Saturday 1 May, a team of 20 volunteers, limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, helped with hedge planting on the High Hirst Woodmeadow site. A total of over 900 varieties of hedging were planted, coordinated by Treesponsibility, including crab apple, rowan, rosehip and blackthorn.

Cllr Nikki Harvey attended and said: 'It's absolutely brilliant to see so many volunteers coming together to do something special to help improve the local environment. By doing so they have created a new habitat for nature as well as taking a small step to reduce flood risk.

"Hedges can offer one way of getting flood mitigation benefits while having minimal encroachment on grassland. Calderdale is way below the national average for hedgerows and we are especially grateful to Treesponsibility for their expertise and supporting Hebden Royd Town Council with creating the hedgerow."

The hedges planted will have multiple benefits as:

  • The roots of hedging open compacted soil and facilitate water absorption into the ground during heavy rainfall
  • They work as a physical barrier to the movement of sediments, keeping the soil on the hillsides and out of the sewers
  • Hedgerows provide wildlife corridors for bird and insect life

Cllr Harvey continues: "We envisage there will be many opportunities more for community involvement as the site develops. The heritage orchard will be 'fair access', in that Hebden Royd residents will be able to pick from a delicious selection of rare variety apples, damsons and pears for their own use. Anything left over will be donated to local good causes."

Added: Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Photos from Hebden Royd