Despite not being able to work with volunteers for much of the winter, seasonal work has continued such as wildflower bed maintenance and sowing to allow vernalisation in the cold, ready for good displays hopefully in spring/summer. Autumn/Winter is also the time for newt pond maintenance while the amphibians are hibernating out of the ponds and hedge-laying was also undertaken along the Kirklees Light Railway.
Maintenance has also been done on the extensive network of public rights of way in the parish, such as path clearance, stile/step repairs and the project has worked in collaboration with Walkers are Welcome in development of some excellent new walks:
Preparations for the new growing season have also continued apace at the community allotment in Churchfield, whilst maintenance has also continued at the wider Churchfield site, Cliffe and East Hill Woods, where possible.
Tree-planting is very important October-March to combat climate change and encourage biodiversity, so 3000 trees have been planted at Park Gate in Skelmanthorpe by ourselves and site owner’s Kirklees, to kickstart the sustainable development there for the well-being of local people and wildlife.
On a smaller scale, an orchard has been planted at Skelmanthorpe, both projects supported by the Parish Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group, which is also funding environmental improvements in local schools as of April, in the hope that they will achieve the internationally recognised Eco-Schools award.
Other positive future developments are the establishment of a newly constituted Friends of the Dearne Group, which will expand its monitoring of the river for wildlife and be involved in specific improvements, as The Dearne rises and runs through the parish. This is being made possible by partnership working with The River Stewardship Company/Riverlution and securing funding from Yorkshire Water’s Biodiversity Fund, thus extending upstream the work of the Dearne Valley Green Heart Nature Improvement Area.
Talking of funding, Denby Dale Parish Environment Trust have funding up to £1000 available to local groups: http://ddpet.co.uk/projects/grants/, so please apply if you have a project in mind that can start up as spring bursts into life.