River Stewardship: promoting good business practice along our rivers
As well as our business sponsorship packages we have now introduced our River Stewardship scheme (see launch leaflet) for businesses along the rivers and streams in the Colne catchment. There was much interest in the scheme from attendees and we are now looking at how we further develop this initiative with organisations which volunteered to trial the scheme at the launch: Trustford Huddersfield, Thornton & Ross, University of Huddersfield, B&Q Huddersfield and Cummins Turbo Technologies who offered to act as mentor for interested parties. Once we are clear how the system works and ironed out any problems we will role out the scheme across the catchment.
Rationale of the scheme: Many businesses are resident alongside the rivers and canals and can make a significant difference to their local environment by adopting and complying with our basic set of agreed principles to become a River Steward. This will help ensure good management practices are adopted with minimal cost to business but with big benefits to the river and ultimately the marine environment where plastic pollution from rivers and other sources is a major concern. In addition, business can adopt an enhanced set of principles which is likely to result in them become one of our Greenstreams Supporters through our sponsorship scheme. This will not only help protect our rivers but also improve them.
For more details please contact us by emailing your details to us from the website contact page.
Click here to download the River Stewardship Greenstreams Criteria for Compliance document.
Help us create a linear park along the River Colne
The Greenstreams Project is well aware of the value of the waterways corridor along the River Colne catchment. But what about everyone else? Our long term goal is to create a linear park based around the river corridor. This would help raise the profile of our water heritage and can help in bringing business and the community together. We have now undertaken a feasibility study to see what such a park might look like and how it can be developed. The feedback on the idea has been fantastic and many think a community operated and run park is a great idea, especially as we are likely to see local authorities retreat from supporting any such work.
In simple terms what we have is an existing network of greenspaces along the river corridor to which the public has access. Many of these sites offer different things for recreation, wildlife or heritage. There are some access links between them and also some gaps. However, together these sites and access links add up to a significant asset for the area which is underused and undervalued. We need to change that and we have now started out on developing a Big Lottery Partnership Fund application.
The basis of this bid is to reconnect people to their river so it has a meaningful role in improving their lives. We will do this by:
1. Creating a linear park along the river corridors of the Colne, Holme and possibly the Calder, using heritage (built and natural), recreation, education (schools and youth groups, etc), travel, training and other areas of interest, as a hook to facilitate broad community engagement.
2. Raising the profile of the river as a network of greenspaces connected by pedestrian and cycle routes with areas of interest appealing to cultural diversity of Kirklees residents.
3. With local communities, developing sites, facilities or features of interest along the river corridors to meet aspirations and ideas generated from 1 and 2 so these are an inherent part of their community.
If your organisation is interested in this proposal and we have not yet spoken to you, please contact us.
Sites we are managing
Some businesses are already supporting the Greenstreams Project through the adoption scheme and the linear park idea of managed and connected areas is developing. This is making a real difference, with sites more attractive for visitors and improving habitats for wildlife. Some community groups are also contributing to this process and you can find out more about these on their websites.
Lowestwood Mill Pond Local Wildlife Site and Titanic Riverside
This is our latest managed site in the network and includes around 600 metres of attractive river bank, a riverside/canal circular walk and Lowestwood Mill Pond Local Wildlife Site, all set within the backdrop of the iconic Titanic Mill. Both Thornton & Ross and Titanic Spa are the first companies to have taken up our Greenstreams Salmon Sponsorship which mean we can really get to grips with maintaining this whole area. Our first clean up of the pond with volunteer staff from Thornton & Ross removed an enormous amount of rubbish which had built up over the years. We will be continuing with this work along with erecting an information board about this important Local Wildlife Site, where the European Protected Species floating water plantain (Luroium natans) occurs. We will also be focusing on the riverside footpath which was upgraded around 13 years ago as part of our Big Lottery project and is now in desperate need of maintenance. We will also be working with Pride in Linthwaite and Michael Wilson Restorations owners of Lowestwood Mill.
A key cycle route between Huddersfield and our Colne Bridge site, where the greenway crosses the river over the viaduct. Great views of the river and surrounding woodland are to be had. We have been working with volunteers from Cummins Turbo Technologies for many years on improving the wildlife habitats along this greenway, including the conversion of a dense conifer plantation to mixed woodland. Much better for wildlife. Wildlfower grassland is also being maintained, trees planted, woodlands thinned and bat and bird boxes erected. Get out your bike and give the route a try.
Lockwood Greenway, Huddersfield
This cycle route is around 1 kilometre long and goes from the footbridge across the river at Damside Road (also the cycle route into town) right through to Lockwood. We are now working with LV=, who have adopted this stretch of river and cycle route, tidying it up and maintaining the site. However, we are also on with restoring views of the river, improving an area of grassland for butterflies, undertaking some woodland management and putting up bat and bird boxes. It's no easy task but with enthusiastic staff it really is fantastic how much of a difference we can make in an afternoon.
We are also very grateful to a local resident who has contributed £1000 for this site.
Although we have been somewhat frustrated recently because of access restrictions as a result of a fire we are now back in business and with the help of the Fire Service and LV staff we have cleared a mass of rubbish from the site. It was so good to have the help of the Fire Service who volunteered their time, as they were able to access areas which are difficult for us to do because of safety issues. We look forward to scheduling further works with LV=.
John Smith's Stadium
Our first riverside information board at the John Smiths Stadium illustrates the fantastic wildlife that can be seen on and in the river around the area. There are kingfishers, herons, dippers and much more. The board has been sponsored by Kirklees Stadium Devlopment Limited but if you would like your own version of the board to help promote the project please get in touch. Also let us know what wildlife you see along the river. Wildflowers are much more evident since the clearance of the Japanese knotweed and the display of ramsons was spectacular around the end of April beginning of May. We are on with restoring views of the river and access improvements are ongoing, in part ot help with maintaining the area but also to give better access to the riverside. KSDL staff have been involved with this and we also had 8 volunteer staff from the Environment Agency for a day. We are making real progress especially when taking into account the Kilner Bank riverside path (see below).
Kilner Bank Riverside
With volunteers from Cummins Turbo Technologies we have been doing some work tidying up the riverside footpath including the thinning of trees alongside the path and opening up the route. And views of the river! Not only does this make it more attractive for users - especially as we have cleared aroud the picnic bench and seat - but it also creates a more diverse habitat for wildlife. We have also removed much rubbish from the area, most of which had obviously been there many years. The favourable comments from passers by are much appreciated. We still have more to do but the whole stretch is now much more attractive especially as we have also carried out works on the Cummins side of the river.
This is a walk between the Aldi store at Milnsbridge where there is a seat by the river and Britannia Road. Below the Britannia Road entrance is a weir with a viewing area and again an area for sitting away from the hustle and bustle of Milnsbridge centre. Both Aldi and Lion Estates Investment Ltd help us manage the site through our sponsorship scheme and Milnsbridge Enhancement Group also undertake work there so if you are a local resident and want to help, get in touch. With Milnsbridge Enhancement Group volunteers we have now completed the process of repairing the steps from Britannia Road down to the weir and installed a handrail to make access safer.
In addition, local community groups manage the following sites.
Dean Wood Netherton and Beaumont Park: note these two sites are managed by local groups; Friends of Dean Wood and Friends of Beaumont Park. You can find out more ongoing activities on their respective websites.
Dean Wood is one of the best examples of semi-natural woodland within Kirklees. The steep ravine has protected the woodland and we have work with Friends of Dean Wood to encourage more people to use the wood. The work includes improving footpaths, creating a circular walk around the wood, erecting 3 information boards, clearing the viewing point and wildlife management. Definitely worth a visit.
In contrast, to Dean Wood, Beaumont Park is a more formal park although there is also a woodland walk, the Rail Trail which takes in the old Meltham Branch Line. Beaumont Park is one of the finest parks in Kirklees with spectacular views of the Holme Valley and well looked after by Friend of Beaumont Park. Again, bat and bird boxeshave been erected and lots of other measures to make the area more wildlife friendly. Take a stroll around as there is plenty to see and a cafe!
Check out the leaflet in our media section which has a walk which takes in the river and both Dean Wood and Beaumont Park.
New funding to develop sites
Thanks to Cobbett Environmental Ltd we have received £20k Landfill Communities Fund money to improve sites at the John Smith's Stadium/Kilner Bank site, the Bradley-Birkby Greenway where it intersects with the river corridor and Snow Island, a new riverside site to add to our portfolio of managed areas. In addition we have received £1000 each from Kirklees Council and Newsome Ward Area Committee as a contribution to the Snow Island project. The projects will be completed by the end of march 2019 and the funding is being used in the following ways:
- to develop the designated Open Space at Snow Island in Huddersfield, as a destination site for local communities by providing amenity infrastructure such as picnic tables and seating as well as improving the access along the river, wildlife habitats and creating a feature gateway to the area;
- to improve access to the river from the main footpath at Kilner Bank and the John Smiths Stadium, creating an informal route along the river bank as a quiet retreat;
- to undertake biodiversity enhancements along the Birkby-Bradley Greenway especially where it crosses the River Colne. This includes the erection of bird and bat boxes and the planting of an orchard, shrubs and wildflowers;
- to install map boards adjacent to Snow Island and at the John Smith's Stadium, showing the network of paths and cycle routes along the river corridor.
Our partners River Holme Connections have also received £10k to create feature gateways at Lockwood Spa (previously known as the Lockwood Scar site) along with other improvements.
We are grateful to the funders of these projects and also business supporters, without whose contributions in terms of volunteer time and money the project would not have come about.