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Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods
News and Events

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4th October 2007
Making a Difference

- From the BBC Leeds Web Site (see original article)

BBC Leeds speaks to Martin Calvert of the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods a local group that is making a difference to the nature in the city.

Gledhow Valley Woods is a ribbon of woodland and grassland running through a suburban area of north Leeds. The valley is surrounded by housing and the busy Gledhow Valley Road runs through its centre. Gledhow Beck flows along the valley and empties into Gledhow Lake.

Martin Calvert has been chair of the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods since 1996. He told BBC Leeds how the volunteer group makes a difference to the urban woodlands.

"The group started because it was felt the woodlands weren't been managed very well. It wasn't something one person could do but it needed an official group to be formed."

"The group takes on small scale improvements like constructing footpaths and we help to keep water courses open. The city needs mixed areas like the woods to keep mixed species happy."

"We are lucky not to have a major problem with vandalism. There was a time when cars were driven into the woods and burnt out. Putting tree trunks across the access routes has stopped that, although we sometimes have a few needles discarded in the undergrowth."

"We have also placed some benches and boardwalks in the woods and, apart from a few scribbles on the benches, we have avoided too much vandalism."

"Once a month we have an 'Action Morning' and between 20 and 40 people attend. We make it an achievable task so a difference can be seen at the end of the day, things like litter picking can really make a difference."

"One recent scheme saw us planting wildflowers in a meadow habitat. Thirty people attended and we didn't just scatter the seeds but we dug out some small squares of ground within the meadow and planted flowers there to give them a head start for next year. We have put in around 550 plugs in this way."

"Increasing the number of wildflowers growing in the area goes a long way to helping butterflies and bees in Gledhow Valley. 2007 has been an appalling year for butterflies in particular, I think as a result of the very wet weather earlier in the year."

"Every little improvement helps and we do what we can in our small area. The work we do is carried out under the guidance of a ranger and we get ideas from other environmental groups."

"We are a friendly group, to take part in one of our action days you just need to turn up in some old clothes and, after a health and safety briefing, you can get stuck in. We have over 200 people on our mailing list and we think that's a good number for a small local group."

The Nature of Britain

If you are interested in nature this new series is a must. Alan Titchmarsh makes an epic journey around the country to explore the huge diversity of wildlife in The Nature of Britain.

The eight-part series, which can be seen October 2007 on BBC One, is a comprehensive TV portrait of the links between Britain's plants, animals and the places where we live.

- 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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