Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods secures Lottery Funding

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.

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 focused 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 in the lake 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 Wades Charity and Leeds City Councils 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 industrialist’s 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 Wades 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 Friend`s 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.“
 
About The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods
The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods was established in March 1996 to tackle concerns about the state of the woods and to encourage local people to become more involved in conservation activities and managing the woods for the local community. The group works closely with Wades Charity who own the land and Leeds City Councils Parks & Countryside Directorate who manage the area on a 999-year lease. The Friends hold monthly Action mornings to undertake maintenance tasks along the valley.
 
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  
 
Further information
For further information, images and interviews please contact Martin Calvert at Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods on 07840 838764 or martin.calvert1@sky.com