The Friends of Ilkley Moor are celebrating their fifth anniversary. Since their inception they have published four Events and Learning Programmes with the help of the programmes the Friends Project Officer Tracy Gray has oraganised over eighty events including Bat and Bird spotting, wild flower and fungi walks, Archaeology and Geology discovery walks and many more all on Ilkley Moor led by experts in their field. Tracy has also led over 50 volunteer working mornings.
The friends have encouraged over 1,000 people to be involved in discovering the Geology,Archaeology and beauty of the Flora and the Fauna of Ilkley Moor
Said Owen Wells Chair of the Friends”We have organised working parties when the Friends and members of the public have helped to clear bracken, chopped down intrusive Rhododendrons and cleared brambles. Our volunteers have helped in clearing some of the Equisitales (Horsetails) gradually infilling the Upper Tarn . We are exploring ways in which the water level might be raised to prevent this Tarn from gradually being completely filled in.
We have enrolled nearly 500 members (a prize is waiting for our 500th) and we have raised £180,000. That is fairly impressive for a small local voluntary organisation.
Our first major project was the surfacing of the path to the Swastika Stone. The path along the wall from Spicey Gill had already been surfaced, but where that path left the wall to go up onto the Moor it was not surfaced at all and, although it is now difficult to remember, much of it was extremely boggy and unpleasant to walk (especially in winter). We paid for the hard core etc, and the work was undertaken by the Countryside Service assisted by volunteers. One of the most cheering sights, as we were finishing off the path, was to see an elderly couple coming up the path, one using a walking frame, who told us that this was the first time they had been able to get so high up on the Moor for very many years.
We also paid for the path to be surfaced from Willy Hall’s Spout to Spicey Gill. This now means that there is a good, graded path all the way from Rocky Valley through to the Swastika Stone.
The Friends have helped to fund over 1,500 metres of restoration and resurfacing of pathways on the Moor carried out by Bradford Council Countryside Service. Surfacing a path has a dramatic effect in reducing erosion and allowing the Moor to regenerate, whilst allowing even more people to enjoy the healthy outdoor exercise.
Our other, major capital project has been the improvement of the paddling pool. The pool has been plagued with a very slippery and dangerous surface caused by the build up of algae on the bottom. Despite cleaning and pressure washing every few weeks, the algae very quickly returns. We have therefore paid to have the stream re-routed through the pool in the hope that the increased water flow will lower the temperature and inhibit the algae. We have paid for the very attractive series of silt traps above the paddling pool which themselves provide a very nice play area for children. There have been teething problems with the new pool overflow, but plans are in hand to remedy that.
We have received a donation of £2,000 from Emmerdale,in compensation for the damage they did on the Moor during their recent filming. The donation is in addition to payment for making good the damage done at the time. They have also agreed to surface the path from Cow & Calf Rocks to Backstone Beck. When that has been done, there will be a good, firm dry path all the way from the Cow & Calf car park to the Swastika Stone.
And for the future …We shall continue our work of path restoration, and hopefully raise funds to carry out other major projects, publish our annual Events and Learning Programme, and look forward to the next five years to be as rewarding as the last.”
From Barry Wilkinson FOIM Press Officer
For further information please contact Owen Wells 01943-602270