Landowner call while tree planting funds are in place

Trees already planted by the group re-foresting parts of the Calder Valley
Trees already planted by the group re-foresting parts of the Calder Valley

The call is out for landowners and more volunteers to join an ongoing ecological project to revitalise the geography of the upper Calder Valley.

Partner groups in the SOURCE project are inviting potential landowners and volunteers to an open evening at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Tuesday, July 16, from 7pm to 9pm, to find out more about its aims and objectives.

Members of Treesponsibility, the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust, Calder Future, BlackBark and other organisations will be on hand to chat to people interested in becoming involved with the project.

Established two years ago, the SOURCE has a long term vision of ecological restoration in the headwaters of the River Calder. It aims to:

l minimise flash flooding through appropriately sited tree-planting and moorland restoration

l treat damaged land and control erosion

l improve the quality of the River Calder

l and undertake educational activities and encourage volunteering so that people of all ages and from all walks of life become aware of the value of our rivers and uplands.

So far 34,000 trees have been planted since the project launch, thanks to Environment Agency funding and the hard work of hundreds of volunteers of all ages. Land slippage has been treated at four separate sites in the Todmorden area. However there are many more cloughs and hillsides in the upper Calder Valley which could benefit from tree-planting, grip-blocking or erosion control.

Local landowners in the Hebden Bridge and Todmorden area are being invited to participate in the SOURCE project by offering sites which could benefit from attention.

SOURCE project co-ordinator, Dongria Khond, said: “It is really important that the upper Calder Valley benefits from ‘Woodlands for Water’ Forestry Commission funding before the opportunity is lost in September, so we are particularly keen to hear from anyone who has been thinking about creating new woodland on their land. All costs could be covered for suitable sites.”

The open evening will also provide opportunities for volunteers. Over the summer the partnership will be involving local people in surveying the Hebden Bridge catchment (the area of land which drains into Hebden Water, stretching from Wadsworth Moor in the East to Widdop in the West).

Participants in the “grab a grid” project will volunteer to survey one square kilometre of land, with full training being provided. Meanwhile, Calder and Colne Rivers Trust will be establishing a biological monitoring programme in the upper stretches of the River Calder, with participants being trained to identify eight key species, undertake kick samples, and classify and record their results.

The evening will commence with a buffet and drop in session in the Terrace Room. This will be followed by presentations from all the different partner groups.