On Saturday the 3rd July a guided walk took place to discover the work The Friends of Ilkley Moor have been doing in partnership with the Environment Agency and Bradford Council.
The project on Backstone Beck, Ilkley Moor is looking at reducing the flow from the moor down through the urban catchment and into the River Wharfe. There have been flooding issues in Ilkley from this catchment - notably near to Leeds Road/Ashlands school area - so this is an attempt to see if slow the flow/ natural flood management interventions can assist.
The main works involve shedding water from the paths so they stop being flow-channels and re-wet the adjacent moorland (using cross-drains) - this also helps in reducing path erosion.
Work further up the catchment on the open moor includes sphagnum moss planting, re-profiling the moorland surface to create bunds to slow the surface flow, blocking grips and ditches with a combination of stone and heather dams, and some limited tree planting in the clough above Gill Head Reservoir.
It is hoped that the works will be replicated on other catchments on the moor in future years - and Bradford Council have secured some “climate emergency” funding from Bradford Council to do so (£200k)
Some monitoring equipment (flow monitor) has been installed at Backstone Beck to see what difference these may make and we are also having some soil moisture monitors installed further up the moor to assist with this process.
Most of the funding for the capital works as come from the Environment Agency.
The FoIM applied for funding from Yorkshire Water and The VCS Alliance (Ageing Well Small Grants Funding) to undertake community engagement so that they could deliver informative events for the local community and help with the conservation works via volunteer workdays; with the added social and health benefits these events provide for people.
The funding received from The VCS Alliance to lead some events on Ilkley Moor this year, is specifically aimed at over 65’s who have had to spend a lot of time isolating this year due to Corvid-19. The actual events and volunteer sessions are open to all age groups but also offer opportunities for people over 65 to gently get back into outdoor activities and join in with the FoIM events and volunteer workdays in a supportive manner, for health and social benefits.
Everyone had a great time on the event and look forward to attending more events from this year’s events and learning programme.
The events programme and heritage walks can be downloaded from the FOIM website www.ilkleymoor.org