Revised and updated on 25th March 2021
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 Leisure Services, 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!
Other sites that have been adopted and planted by the Conservation Group are Shelley 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. 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! .
The Conservation Group will this year as every year, once again be providing hanging baskets to decorate the village. The long awaited full restructuring of the steps at the eastern end of the Whins was also carried out as planned, by TCV, once the lockdown had eased.
When we do carry out work, it is at irregular intervals and is far from onerous!
Shelley Conservation Group