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Rivadale End is now on the map for nature and the community thanks to brilliant support

Rivadale End, at the eastern end of Ilkley’s ‘South Bank,’ has become a venue for both people and wildlife over the past year.

Following reinstatement of the site by Yorkshire Water, the area has been transformed. A new seating area has been created with additional planting, all thanks to generous funding and hardworking volunteers.

Skipton Building Society provided a generous community grant to fund the seating area above the riverside path. This was sensitively constructed in May 2023 by local contractor Thomas Moore Landscapes, using reclaimed stone and locally crafted oak benches. The area provides visitors with long views up to Ilkley Moor and across the River Wharfe, an opportunity for people to take a moment to connect with nature on their daily walk or a quiet place for a picnic. Meanwhile tree planting and wildflower sowings undertaken by Yorkshire Water last year, following their work on Rivadale Combined Sewer Overflow, have thrived. Specimen crab apple and rowan trees planted by Climate Action Ilkley (CAI) volunteers in Autumn 2022 are currently displaying colourful fruits and attracting birds.

In early October, the regular weekly CAI volunteers started another trial wildflower enhancement area in one of the sunniest parts of Rivadale End. Steve Peel, project member and regular volunteer described the work: “We have strimmed, scalped and raked an area of approximately 10 sq m to reduce the potential competition of the existing grass, before planting it with a specialist wildflower seed mix. Some of this will hopefully have germinated this Autumn, whilst the rest (including yellow rattle) won't germinate until Spring because they need 'vernalisation' by frost.”

The site is very nutrient-rich and has a big population of broad-leaved docks. These are rather invasive and can dominate smaller wildflower species so volunteers have spent many hours digging them out and preventing them from seeding. Nevertheless, the team is keen to work with nature rather than fight against it, so alternatives to wildflower meadows (which like nutrient poor soil) are being trialled too. At the end of October, a last-minute shout-out for community volunteers resulted in a team of over 20 people – from age 3 years to 73 years - one Sunday morning. Collectively they planted 400 native daffodil bulbs on some of the steeper slopes near Rivadale End, using specialist long-handled bulb planters and spades borrowed from the Ilkley Thingery. Community volunteer Maria Quevedo explained why she brought her family along: “Joining the bulb planting was such fun. I enjoyed the chance to spend time outdoors with my kids doing something for the community and enhancing their sense of belonging. My kids are now looking forward to seeing those daffodils blossom and I hope to be part of future Ilkley Climate Action initiatives.” This bulb-planting was complemented by a further 100 daffodils planted by the regular CAI volunteers. Project member Ruth McBain of Climate Action Ilkley notes that “these native specimens are much smaller than modern varieties and are ‘shy to flower in their first year,’ so passers-by may have to wait until 2025 to see their little yellow heads. In the meantime, look out for the snowdrops we planted ‘in the green’ this Spring!”

Moss and Moor Garden Centre also offered support to Climate Action Ilkley and in November they kindly donated a trolley full of ferns, ivy, cyclamen and holly. Kerstin Leader of Moss and Moor explained their donations by saying “We have happily supplied these plants to support local wildlife with shelter and food sources, which are very valuable in the cold winter months when these are in short supply.” Walkers along the riverside path may have already spotted the ferns and ivy at the very eastern extent, under the mature lime trees, whilst the cyclamens are being trialled near the fence and the hollies will be used to fill a gap left by earlier tree work.

Climate Action Ilkley would once again like to thank all the hard-working volunteers and generous donors who have helped to date, and welcome offers of future one-off or ongoing support. Any individuals or community groups wishing to get involved in the South Bank project, either for gardening or grant applications, should email


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