The Friends of Ilkley Moor win £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund support for their “Nature For All” Project.


The Friends of Ilkley Moor are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £50,000 for their ‘Nature For All Project’. This is a two year project which will be delivered from October 2016 to October 2018.
Thanks to National Lottery players the project will engage the local community in learning about and conserving the natural heritage of the water habitats on Ilkley Moor and the species which are dependent on them.
The open water habitats are the upper and lower tarn. The running water bodies are Willy Hall Spout, Spicey Gill, Backstone Beck, Hybers Gill, Black Beck and some of the drainage ditches (and the peat bog surrounding these), on the upper slopes of the moor.
Training and community engagement events will be developed and delivered so that people can develop skills in wildlife identification and the surveying and recording of ponds, rivers, peat bogs, otters, water voles, frogs, toads, crayfish, newts and other priority species of these habitats.
Biological data for these habitats and species will be collated and recorded. The data will then be analysed to look at trends in the decline or increase in key species on Ilkley Moor. Based on this two habitat management projects and two habitat enhancement projects will be undertaken to help conserve these habitats and key priority species.
Projects for students will be developed to collate and analyse this data, to look at trends in the decline or increase of species. The project will offer students the opportunity to carry out scientific biological data collation, recording and analysis, as part of their studies.
Fun and accessible events, and citizen science events will be also be organised to enthuse young people and adults to learn about and develop these skills.
The project will be widely promoted to engage as many schools, colleges, local naturalist groups, local community groups, volunteers and individuals as possible. It will be inclusive so that people of all age groups, and from all areas and skill levels can be involved.
Biological data recorded from the project will be put onto a Geographic Information System and be used to produce an ecological spatial report, to inform people about the results of the project; this will include suggestions for the management and enhancement of these habitats.
All data will be passed onto biological record centres. And be used to inform future management decisions for these habitats and key priority species.
Using data from the report two habitat management projects and two habitat enhancement projects will be undertaken. 20 conservation workdays will be developed and delivered to engage the local community in carrying out these habitat enhancement and management projects.
Coming soon will be a celebration event for the local community to inform them about the project.
One of the aims of the project is to develop a more professional, coordinated and partnership approach to collating, recording and analysing biological data for Ilkley moor; and to establish a means for this to carry on into the future. So that biological data; and trends in the decline or increase in priority species for Ilkley Moor can be recorded and used to inform the Ilkley Moor Management Plan, biodiversity strategies and inform other decisions undertaken in regards to the management of Ilkley Moor.
But the main goal will be on enthusing the local community to be part of this, to take up the opportunity to develop these skills and help conserve Ilkley Moor’s natural heritage. The Friends of Ilkley Moor invite colleges, schools, local naturalists groups, community groups, youth groups, volunteers and individuals to get involved in this exciting project.

Tracy Gray, Ilkley Moor Project Officer said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will support the local community and students from schools and colleges to gain valuable skills, increasing their understanding about biodiversity conservation and help to conserve the natural heritage of Ilkley Moor’s water habitats.”
Groups or Individuals who would like to take part in the project please contact Tracy Gray, Ilkley Moor Project Officer, 07780535860, tracy@ilkleymoor.org

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Ilkley Moor to benefit from White Wells Beer

Following significant fire damage to Ilkley Moor in May, Wharfedale Brewery, based at the back of the Flying Duck Brewpub in the town, has come to the aid of a local conservation group by producing a special beer aimed at raising funds to help protect, enhance and restore the popular tourist spot.

The most recent blaze started on the slopes of the moor, not far from the visitor attraction White Wells and the new brew, described as red and zesty with a grapefruit tingle, weighing in at 4.5% ABV is to be named after the well known spa bath building.

“White Wells” is set to hit the bar of the Flying Duck and other local hostelries this weekend with the brewery donating fifteen pence for every pint sold to the Friends of Ilkley Moor (FoIM).

Robin Oldfield, one of the directors at Wharfedale Brewery said; “the natural landscape in Wharfedale is an inspiration to us at the brewery and we are very proud of our Ilkley heritage. We are delighted to produce a beer aimed at supporting this extremely worthwhile organisation and hope we can join the public in raising some much needed funds for them.”

Owen Wells, Chair of FOIM commented, “ We are absolutely thrilled to have an iconic beer named after one of our most iconic landmarks. We are extremely grateful to Wharfedale Brewery for their generosity and we hope our members will be asking for a pint of White Wells whenever they see it in a local pub.”

The Friends of Ilkley Moor (FoIM), founded in 2008, is an independent not for profit voluntary organisation which was set up to preserve and improve understanding and awareness of Ilkley Moor for the benefit of the environment, all those who use Ilkley Moor and those who reside in the surrounding area.

Above photo is of Owen Wells (left) chair of The Friends of Ilkley Moor enjoying a pint with Robin Oldfield of Wharfedale Brewery to launch the brewery’s new beer “White Wells”. Photo by Barry Wilkinson.

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Walk across Crawshaw Moss – June 2016

On Saturday 4th June the Friends of Ilkley Moor led one of their heritage walks on Ilkley Moor, ‘Across Crawshaw Moss and Neolithic Sites’.

This was a 4-mile walk starting on the lower slopes and gradually climbing to Crawshaw Moss passing a well marked Cup & Ring Stone rock on the way.

A strenuous walk of 3 hours, with uphill climbing, the walk uses rough moorland tracks and crosses boggy terrain. The group spent time taking in the whole landscape views from various resting points along the way; as well as discovering the archaeology of the moor and the heathland and peat land habitats. People learned about the plants and wildlife which could be seen on the day and how Ilkley Moor is managed.

Everyone had a great time and said they looked forward to attending more events from this year’s events and learning programme so they can discover more of Ilkley Moors amazing heritage.

The events programme and heritage walks can be downloaded from the FOIM website www.ilkleymoor.org or collected from Ilkley Information Centre and shops in the Town.

From Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer.

For further information contact Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer on 07780535860

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Seventh Events and Learning Programme published

The Friends of Ilkley Moor have published their seventh Events and Learning Programme, which have proved very popular since the formation of the Friends in 2009.

The Programme contains thirty events and conservation days starting in May to November ranging from Wild Plant Food Foraging to Bat Spotting. Most of the events will be lead by Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer the remaining events including six Heritage Walks will be lead by members of The Friends, all of which are included in the Events and Learning Programme, which can be downloaded from www.ilkleymoor.org and also can be collected free of charge from Ilkley Information Centre, and shops and cafés in the Town.

From Barry Wilkinson FOIM Press Officer Mobile 07831-505051.

For more information contact Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer 0785-4447949

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Rotherham Brownies build a Natural Shelter


A fun and practical filled event, organised by the Friends of Ilkley Moor, took place on March 22nd at the Wynches Outdoor Centre for Girl Guides. The educational event was organised for the Rotherham Brownies with the practical task of building a shelter using natural materials.

The Brownies learnt how to coppice wood from willow and hazel and how to use this to make a dome frame for the shelter, they then collected natural materials they could find in the landscape to use to thatch the shelter. It was the beginning of spring so there was less things growing but still the resourceful Brownies and the FoIM Project Officer found evergreen pine branches, rushes and straw to make the thatch with.

The task involved the young people also learning how to identify willow, hazel and pine trees, moss and rushes. The difference between deciduous and evergreen trees and how to use materials in their natural environment for practical things. Everyone had a great time on the event.

From Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer.

For further information contact Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer on 07780535860

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Foraging Event

A Wild Plant Food Forage event, organised by the Friends of Ilkley Moor, took place on August 23rd on Ilkley Moor, led by Tracy Gray, Project Officer for the FoIM. The event was organised so that people could discover the many edible and medicinal plants which can be found on Ilkley Moor. The group discovered that many of the common plants around them are powerful medicines and also provide great nutrition.

It was a gloriously sunny day and the group slowly ambled along the lower slopes of the moor, climbed up to the upper tarn and back down, across the middle slopes of the moor, stopping often to learn about the plants around them. People learned of the berries and nuts they could eat: bilberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, hazel and sweet chestnut. They learned that in the past people used to use acorns to make an edible flour and that heather flowers were used to make beer, as is still practised in some parts of Scotland today. That bracken was collected and used as animal bedding and for thatching and that in the far east young bracken shoots were candied and eaten. That the different vibrant colours of lichens were collected for dyes and that they are also still used to dye some woollen clothing in parts of Scotland. That hazel and willow trees were coppiced and the poles used for constructing shelters and fences. That the fibres of nettle were used to make cloth and paper. That the sap from birch trees can be collected to make wine.

They learned about the medicinal properties of yarrow, nettle, hawthorn and meadowsweet and how modern day aspirin is derived from meadowsweet. They also learned how the inner bark of the white willow was also used as pain relief. People discovered the importance of Sphagnum moss during World War 2 and how on Friday afternoons school children were sent to the moor to collect it so it could be sent to the war medical camps and applied to soldiers wounds. Sphagnum moss is very absorbent and when applied to wounds it soaks up the blood and infection and its naturally antiseptic properties helped heal these wounds.

People were taught how modern medicine, even though it arrives to us now as a little pill, actually starts out as a plant. The active medicinal properties of these are then isolated and often synthesised to produce modern medicine. And that the wisdom of herbal medicine is once again being increasingly practiced by people, as people once again start understanding the healing properties of plants; but in its whole non synthesised form.

Everyone had a great time on the event and look forward to attending more events from this year’s events and learning programme.

The events programme and heritage walks can be downloaded from the FOIM website www.ilkleymoor.org or collected from Ilkley Information Centre and shops in the Town.

From Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer. For further information contact Tracy Gray FOIM Project Officer on 07780535860

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