Environment in association with the Mirror

Funding level: Up to £1,000


The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods (FGVW) Community Group consists of a group of volunteers that protects and enhances the natural beauty of the woods, increases public awareness, supports other local groups, and liaises with all appropriate organisations to achieve objectives. We have monthly action mornings where we invite volunteers to carry out work in the woods such as clearing litter, planting, putting in benches, pruning and path building. Everyone of all ages and abilities is welcome at the action mornings and often local children attend who enjoy planting wildflowers and bulbs.

Gledhow Valley Woods is a ribbon of woodland and grassland running about 1.5 km through a suburban area of north Leeds. The valley is entirely surrounded by housing and the busy Gledhow Valley Road runs through its centre. Recently our woods were threatened by a planning application for 14 houses that would divide one side of the woods in half. FGVW, other local groups and the rest of the local community rallied round and put forward a successful case for rejecting the application at the initial stages and also following an appeal.

Following the rejection an acre of the land was put up for sale. The Group knew how strong feelings were in the community to protect the woods and so they asked the community for help in raising funds to buy the field. Over £30,000 was raised from approx. 440 people in just a few weeks and the field is now owned by FGVW on behalf of the local community.

FGVW would like to apply for a grant to help us protect and improve the natural environment of the community field for the benefit of everyone living in the area as well as for future generations. At our annual FGVW FunDay we asked the community for suggestions as to what to do with the field and these included a wild flower meadow, woodland with picnic areas, or a community orchard. We would like to use the grant to firstly secure the field by building a fence in keeping with the surrounding area, followed by planting a natural hedgerow which will eventually take over from the fence. The hedgerow will be planted during our action mornings with the help of volunteers from the local community. These hedgerows will be important in attracting insects such as butterflies, small mammals and will increase the biodiversity in the area. We also expect the hedgerows to provide learning opportunities across a wide range of subjects and serve as outdoor classrooms as they grow and mature.

By securing the field a local resident will be able to keep a horse on the field to help us naturally maintain the grass and vegetation thus helping to encourage plant diversity. We would also like to use any remaining grant to follow up on some of the ideas suggested by the local community including planting a wildflower meadow. A wide variety of planting will attract insects, butterflies, bees and birds to the woodland and again the local community including school children can help us with the planting. We would also like to look into the feasibility of seats and picnic furniture so the community can enjoy the field they helped to buy and save from becoming a housing estate.

Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods

Location: Leeds

Once the planning application surfaced, FGVW coordinated local groups and residents to fight it. Social media and local events were used to spread the word. I am very proud that my community came together and worked together so effectively to protect their local woods and area for future generations
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