The A681, Bacup Road splits our site into two areas. The South side (with the imaginative name of ‘South Woodlands’) is a long narrow strip of land bordered by Midgelden Brook and the road. The North side (Woodlands View) is where the lecture hall is situated and is bordered by fields, which lead onto Todmorden Moor.

 

Map of Woodlands View

The site as it now stands 

 

Two problems that we had with South Woodlands were people parking on it and using it as a rubbish dump. The land had for a long time been derelict and was used as a rest stop by people using Bacup Road. A wide variety of litter was dropped, from crisp packets to soiled nappies.  Often it was placed in tidy little piles or in carrier bags with the handles tied neatly and left, almost apologetically, behind a rock.  Sometimes we would find human excrement and much worse.

 

Clearly we needed to do something about it as was becoming a massive eye sore, especially as Midgelden Wood up on the hill was beginning to look rather impressive. It was suggested that we contact Treesponsibility, a community group based in Hebden Bridge who have a tree planting programme in the upper Calder valley.  They were looking for sites (and still are) to plant trees.  After a bit of discussion they decided that our site at South Woodlands plus some of the slopes on the North side would be suitable for tree planting. The project involved a lot of work.  South Woodlands needed to be cleared of rubbish and a layer of topsoil put down as the existing surface layer was only centimeters deep and full of rubble left over from the demolition of the pipeworks. Both sides then needed to be fenced off to keep the local tree-eating sheep away from the newly planted woodland.

 

 

 

Finally tree planting at South Woodlands started on a wet and miserable day in February 2011. The soil was sodden and pools of water had collected in the tractor tracks.  It was cold, with a drizzling rain that soaked right through you and a slight wind that could not be bothered blowing around you but went straight through to the skin. Wearing wellies and a brightly coloured selection of waterproof clothing, a group of keen volunteers planted over 1000 saplings. The trees are all native species including Oak, Ash, Rowan and Willow. The people who planted were cheerful and thoughtful, showing much appreciation for the limited tea making and toilet facilities that we were able to offer them.  

 

 

 

North Woodlands was planted the following day.  Its sloping area makes it more suitable to bushes such as Gorse, as well as the trees.