First 20 Years – Emley Millennium Green

A legacy for our children and children’s children.


In the late 1990’s the countryside commission financially supported by the national lottery was introducing opportunities for villages such as Emley to develop available plots of land into scenic areas and gardens for the pleasure and enjoyment of local communities. A number of Emley village residents saw the possibilities and potential. Subsequently at a well-attended public meeting with the knowledge that a plot of land might be available for purchase from the Savile Estate.

The idea was fully appreciated and the image of success was seen as a distinct possibility. Further public meetings produced a body of 12 trustees all Emley residents with a varied degree of knowledge in the different aspects necessary to embrace leadership, management, administration, financial expertise and professional landscaping together with a desire to achieve the best outcome for the village.


Emley was one of 265 successful applicants for millennium green funding from the countryside commission. The grants were awarded for the provision of a Parkland with strict criteria, that no recreation facilities or buildings could be incorporated into the design. We were eventually awarded £80000 from the national lottery and other grants to cover the purchase price of the 3 ½ -acre site and the complete renovation from agricultural use into a professionally designed leisure area. The trustees were keen for the area to be a pleasant wildlife and natural parkland facility where the community could appreciate and enjoy the elements of the developed site with its location in such beautiful scenery looking over 100 square miles of the South Yorkshire Pennines.

The plans for the area were successfully accepted through Kirklees planning and a professional undertaking was quickly underway supervised by expertise within the trustees. The oval path which takes walkers around the green is an easy way to follow through the grassed areas and drifts through the trees and shrubs of many native species. Initially more than 1800 trees and shrubs were planted, many by children from Emley school during national tree week 2000 and in the years since, many more have been added.

Access is offered for disabled visitors.


Since the original planting, placing, and erection of the beacon, the trustees have commissioned and built a number of items attractive to the green.

A viewing area was added at the highest point to take advantage of the views towards Holme Moss and the Emley Moor mast, at its centre is the millennium beacon. The beacon which has now been lit 4 times has become the centre piece for events held on the green. it was first illuminated at the official opening of the Green by the then lord Savile (George Halifax Lumley Savile, 3rd Baron of Rufford). Lord Savile attended and led a procession of village people from the church to the Green for the formal celebration and dedication, this coincided with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, it was commemorated on a coat of arms banner suspended from the beacon bearing the Savile coat of arms on one side and details and dates of that lighting and all subsequent lightings on the reverse side.


A small tower to the right-hand approach to the viewing area with four ceramic tiles featuring subjects of village interest namely:

  • Emley millennium green 2000
  • A pewit
  • Emley colliery
  • St Michael’s church.

In 2006 a direction indicator was commissioned, and then installed by local craftsmen. indicating many areas of interest on the stainless-steel surface that would be of interest to locals and school children.

There are a number of information indicators with pictures of wildlife that can be found on the green.

Coal mining played such an important role in the early development of the village, the Trustees had an item of mining machinery donated linking the green with the history of an industry that in the past so many residents had relied on for their livelihood.

Several recycled seats and benches are positioned at various locations in order to picnic and provide relaxing comfort to maximise the outstanding scenic views, some of these seats have been commemorated by families of loved ones.

Specific areas have been planted with daffodils and wild seed which give sustenance to, and provide foods to encourage rare species of butterfly, moths and other insects.

Local school children have been involved in the building of bug hotels, which are pallets with soil and other rubble to encourage wild life.

A number of bird boxes have been installed.

The path around the green and to the entrance has been renewed several times over the years by the trustee

Working parties have helped with the maintenance of the green.


Recently a copse near to the viewing area has been cleared of dense undergrowth, trees thinned out and again wild flower seed planted, this was done with a donation from a local bereaved family who loved and used the Green..The original aim for the Green was for it to be always as natural and environmentally friendly as possible. the trees have grown and developed, and so the trustees have had to increase maintenance of the Green, which is a combination of trustees working parties and professional work undertaken by a local landscaping & maintenance contractor who is also a trustee.

In accordance with the Charity Commission rules and conditions, trustee meetings are held on a regular basis, we have an annual general meeting open to the general public at which the previous years’ work and commitment on the green are discussed together with aims for the future.

Currently we have 17 trustees, who fortunately have a very varied skill level which has enabled the Trustees to continue to raise funds and continually improve the Green

We hold race night meetings twice a year to raise money for the upkeep of the Green. We have been very fortunate in the past to have successfully applied for maintenance grants from Denby Dale environmental trust and also have been fortunate to have Denby Dale Parish Council grant money towards the lighting of the beacon.

We apply for Grants wherever we can, but as a local small charity these are often frustratingly difficult to achieve.

Other groups of fundraisers in the village have from time to time donated money to the Green for which we are very grateful.

It cannot be stressed too much how local businesses have helped the trustees with donations and sponsorship of the race night meetings.


The trustees have also become sponsors of the race nights, being horse owners for the night and providing tombola prises for the raffle, usually a highlight of the evening.

The twenty years since the Green was started has seen it develop by the hard work of all the trustee’s past and present.

We have been very fortunate to have and had chairpersons who had flair, determination, ambition and the capacity to motivate and get things done.

Excellent financial planning, coupled with Grant application particularly in the early years has been a key word in the implementation and development of the Green.

The Green is a registered charity, we are always looking for sponsors, we are not funded either by Kirklees or Central Government, we have to constantly raise money to maintain the green.

The Green is provided for the enjoyment of the villages of Emley and anyone who uses it and enjoys its benefits,

Inevitably some rules have to be applied, as stated previously but these are limited and do not take away from the enjoyment of this open space.

The theme for the green has always been:
“For the benefit of the children, today, tomorrow and the future”.


I need to stress the original work undertaken by the trustees, their foresight, work, and ambition to see the green take off and become what it is today:

“A tranquil atmosphere, in idyllic surroundings, within reach of Emley village centre”

An area of outstanding beauty.

Frank Spivey
Sec to the Trustees of the Green