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)