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Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods
News and Events

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1st July 2005
Protecting the Peace & Quiet

- From "Extra!" on the Norwich Union "Pulse" Intranet Site

Natural havens of tranquillity make an enormous difference to busy city life. Just ask Carol Bull, a senior product consultant in the strategy and portfolio management team in York.

"I spend my weeks collating survey information requests for external companies so at weekends I find Gledhow Valley Woods in Leeds a fantastic place to sit, relax and walk around - any stresses from the week just drift away," she says.

Carol is one of the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods committee members who meet monthly and aim to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the ribbon of woodland that runs through a built up area of the city.

Carol Bull in the woods Carol Bull in the woods
Carol Bull in the woods, Carol at the May FunDay

Norwich Union has been integral in supporting the committee's endeavours, granting £800 worth of staff community award scheme cheques over the past two years.

"The money provides a vital lifeline for the group's activities, covering the cost of annual events like the May FunDay. We used the grant to provide bird box building, creating meadows in a pot, wildlife quiz, forestry skills, bee keeping, birds of prey, clay modelling and face painting for children. This frees up the group's limited funds for materials and equipment to maintain and improve the woodland area," she explains.

Carol lives a five-minute walk from the woods and after marrying and moving to Leeds, decided to join the group to "do something for the community, find out about the area and meet people".

Leeds City Council acknowledges the areas conservational value, designating it a Leeds Nature Area, with the woods boasting 132 plant species and an incredible114 different types of bird including owls, sparrow hawks and blue tits. "We saw a king fisher recently which caused a lot of excitement and I also love the distinctive sound of great spotted woodpeckers," Carol adds.

Action mornings, which are advertised on the group's website (www.fgvw.co.uk), are held once a month. At these events, litter is removed, hedges and shrubbery are pruned, trees are planted, and new pathways are built.

The woods are not in the official green belt and are owned by the council, meaning there are no planning restrictions and Carol says: "The group fight an ongoing battle to protect the area from planners but I hope the woods last for generations as being so close to a major city it's lovely to hear birds all around you."

Carol Bull in the woods Carol Bull in the woods
The Lord Mayor visits the woods, Great spotted woodpecker - one of Carol's favourites

Quickfire Questions

Face painting or bird box building?
Bird box building - have a fear since watching Phoenix Nights that any face paints may be permanent.

Pruning or planting?
Planting - it's great to be able to go back to the spot you were planting later on in the year and see what you've got. Sometimes it can be quite surprising.

The kingfisher or the great spotted woodpeckers?
Great spotted woodpecker - you can't always see them in the woods but you can always hear their distinctive 'drumming' noise as they peck through the wood. They are also good enough to visit my own garden for the odd peanut.

A glass is half empty, or half full?
Half full especially if it's a big enough glass so that the birds can have a bath.

Leeds city centre or the Yorkshire dales?
That's a tough one. Leeds for the shopping and restaurants, Yorkshire dales for peace and quiet, fresh air and wildlife.

Batman or Superman?
Batman - the bats in the woods are very cute especially when the fly by and make 'raspberry' noises.

- end -

If you come across any articles in newspapers or magazines which relate to the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, or to the woods in general, please contact us so we can add them to the site.

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