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Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods
News and Events

What's New 2019

This section will keep you up to date with important news and events related to the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, the local community, and this web site. If you have any news you would like to appear in this section please contact us.

15 February 2019
FGVW Secures National Lottery Support to Save Our Medieval Lake

The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods in North Leeds has received funding of £50,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its "Heritage On Your Doorstep" project, it was announced today. Thanks to National Lottery players the project will restore the medieval Gledhow Lake in Gledhow Valley Woods, removing silt, improving biodiversity and encouraging community use of the area by working with local schools and community groups to develop an exciting programme of community activities and events focussed on creating greater awareness of the wildlife and history of the area and promoting the health benefits of green space.

The work will get underway in Spring 2019 and be completed by April 2021.

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work to secure the long-term future of the lake that is likely to disappear due to the build-up of silt and lack of regular maintenance if no remedial action is taken. The experience of visitors will be improved by providing interpretation boards explaining the history and wildlife of the area, paths upgraded and marginal planting carried out to create a richer range of environments for wildlife. Invasive plant species will also be removed.

The project will provide a range of volunteering opportunities to people from surrounding local communities.

The project will benefit from generous additional funding from project partners Wade's Charity and Leeds City Council's Parks and Countryside Directorate.

The lake and surrounding woodland are a much-loved focal point for the local community. The lake dates from at least medieval times when it most likely functioned as a monastic fish pond. From the late 1760s the lake, complete with cascades and bankside paths, became a central feature of the Gledhow Hall estate, inspired by the fashions that became popular as a result of European travel by the English upper classes.

Gledhow Hall was the home of prominent Leeds industrialists and Leeds' first Lord Mayor, James Kitson MP, Baron Airedale of locomotive industry fame.

During the First World War Gledhow Hall and estate became a military hospital and the lake offered opportunities for punting and ice skating for injured soldiers, which aided their recovery.

The estate was purchased by Wade's Charity in 1928 to be used as greenspace by the people of Leeds.


David Renwick, Head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "Looking after nature and helping people to understand its importance has never been more urgent and will be a major focus for the National Lottery Heritage Fund moving forward. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods will help to protect our important wildlife, improve nature and reconnect people to the special places on their doorstep."

Commenting on the award, Martin Calvert, Chairperson of The Friends said: "We're delighted that we've received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The lake is an important place for wildlife and the local community - Yet many people in Leeds don't know of its existence. It's great to know that we are a step closer to securing its long-term future."

Tim Barber from Wade's Charity said: "The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods have worked incredibly hard to bring everyone together to plan this project and Wade's Charity are delighted that they have been successful in securing funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund."

Cllr Rafique. Executive Member for Environment and Active Lifestyles said: "The work that the Friends have put into this project is exceptional and I am delighted that the City Council is able to support the project through both technical support and practical help from ranger led events to clearance of trees and shrubs on site to improve biodiversity".

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