In June 1998 Shelley Community Association took an interest in the Whins as part of the Huddersfield Millennium Challenge. It had come into the ownership of Kirklees Council as part of a land swap when Shelley Park estate was being built. Prior to that it had been owned by a development company who had intended to build on it. At that time it was in an unkempt state, and a dumping ground without a maintenance plan.
As a result of that challenge Shelley Conservation Group was constituted in 1999. A decision was made to work in partnership with Kirklees Council, with the aim of looking after this valuable open space in the centre of the village for the benefit of local people and wildlife. The Whins is a steeply sloping site with amazing views across to Holme Moss, West Nab, and the northern end of the Peak National Park.
Firstly, rubbish was removed. Then through fundraising, footpaths were constructed including the safe route to school down the Whins, which were adopted by Kirklees Council on to their definitive footpath map. A variety of trees were planted in suitable locations followed by wild flowers such as red campions, wild garlic, primroses, yellow flag iris and king cups. Daffodils were planted on the upper slopes to provide a splash of spring colour. Although it is the intention to preserve the the Whins as a wild area the presence of a bench or two are welcomed by visitors to the site!
The responsibilities of the Conservation Group grew and they adopted the Bridle, Healey Greave Meadow and Wood and Hill Top Garden at the top of Dam Hill. In each case we had to seek permission from the land owner, before carrying out any work. In the case of Hill Top Garden, we had additionally to obtain a “ permission to cultivate” from Kirklees Council. Other pockets of land maintained by the Group include the roadside garden on Far Bank opposite Shelley Sports and Social Group and the small triangle of land next to the Pinfold on Near Bank.
From time to time, daffodils have been planted on road side verges (with a spectacular display at Kirklea) as organised projects, and by individuals. Kirklees Council mows the grass on the Whins and Healey Greave Meadow in the autumn after the flower seeds have set. This ensures that swathes of grassland are opened up for better access.
Over the years, the Conservation Group has organised litter picks usually in the spring after the winter weather has flattened the vegetation and the litter is easy to see. Litter picking goes on throughout the year in small groups and by individuals and groups. We are grateful to those people. I have some litter picking sticks and some black bags if anyone wants to do a litter pick.
Similarly, if anyone wants to plant wild flowers on any of the sites I have mentioned, please feel free to do so, although always worth checking with the SCEG to ensure no duplication of effort. Planting has taken place by individuals on the small garden opposite the Sports and Social Club at various times and in December, it doubled up as a Christmas tableau.
We all would like to see our village clean and tidy and free from litter. Similarly, we need to make sure that our open spaces look well cared for. If they look neglected, they could come under pressure to be developed! .
Every year the Conservation Group provide hanging baskets to decorate the village.
The SCG has had a new lease of life in 2021 and has evolved into the Shelley Conservation and Environment Group (SCEG) which reviewed and updated the constitution in late 2021 to ensure that it still met our needs. A page has been set up on this website to track the plans and updates from the SCEG.
If you would like to get involved either on an adhoc basis, once a year (litter picking, pruning, etc) or become more closely involved (helping to form plans, carry out the work and make decisions) then you can contact us via the Contact Us page on this website or email us directly at SCEG1999@outlook.com.
NB If work is carried out under the umbrella of the SCEG then you will be insured, as the SCEG is insured through Natural Kirklees, a copy of the insurance policy can be found in the document store on this page.
Shelley Conservation & Environment Group