Back in October 2018, an announcement was made that the Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership (SLLP) had been awarded £2.6m from funding raised by National Lottery Players for wildlife, heritage and cultural projects in north-west Sheffield.
When you add match funding, in-kind contributions and volunteering from the SLLP’s partners to that figure, the total amount available is a fantastic £3.4m for a package of partnership projects to be delivered over the next 4 years.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust is leading the Sheffield Lakeland project and will be working with more than 20 partner organisations to create “a more natural and resilient Sheffield Lakeland landscape for everyone to value, enjoy, understand and feel part of”.
As a delivery partner, Steel Valley Project will be involved in a whole range of projects under the banner of the Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership, bringing us an expected £150k over the 4 year period.
So just what will our projects mean for the communities around Stocksbridge, Bradfield and the Upper Don?
In the Loxley Valley, we will be making path improvements on the Loxley Valley Walk. This will include installing two steel gates, giving access to a wider range of users, and creating well-draining surfaces on muddy sections.
Bitholmes Wood, Deepcar:
Our volunteers will repair and rebuild two walls on either side of an ancient holloway which leads to the ‘Dragon of Wantley’ dry stone wall sculpture.
This restoration work will also provide training for our volunteers in advanced dry stone walling techniques as it involves working on a retaining wall.
Christ Church, Stocksbridge:
Work has already been completed on this project, which used architectural reclaimed stone from Christ Church to build a new dry stone wall on the site. We also held a day of training in dry stone walling techniques for member of the social café group.
Fox Glen, Deepcar:
Our volunteers will be restoring the historical bandstand in Fox Glen so that it can be used again for public performances. This will include work on the structure of the bandstand and on the stairs which will be replaced with a less steep path to help improve access and safety. Some overhanging mature trees will also need to be removed as they currently deposit leaves onto the bandstand, making it slippery and dangerous.
Working with Stocksbridge History Society, we will be creating two new interpretation panels which will have information and photographs so that visitors can get a glimpse into the unique history of Fox Glen.
We will also be liaising with the local community to look at the path network with a view to improving access and helping to protect wildlife in some areas of the woodland.
An event for the local community will be held once all the work in the woodland has been completed.
We will be creating a level, well-draining surface on the currently water-logged and eroded path which links Langsett reservoir to the road leading to Midhopestones village. This section of path is part of the Peak District Boundary Walk, so the improvement work will also be important for users of this long distance route.
Bowcroft Cemetery, nr Stannington:
Much of the work planned for Bowcroft Cemetery has already taken place.
A short section of surfaced path was installed from the car park to the cemetery entrance to improve access for visitors. Vegetation was also cleared from the path network, making it easier for visitors to wander around the grounds, and repairs have taken place on the dry stone wall which borders the cemetery.
The cemetery is an ancient Quaker burial dating back to the 1700’s and the final stage of this project will be the installation of an interpretation panel, with information from Bradfield Parish Council’s archive, to help visitors understand the history of the site.
Pictures of the work to date at Bowcroft Cemetery can be seen on our Facebook Page.
Birks Wood, Oughtibridge:
Our volunteers will be improving the surface of a 500m informal path in the woodland and constructing boardwalks across the wettest areas to enable safe and easy access.
We will also excavate a waterlogged area at the entrance to the woods to create a pond, plus build a pond dipping platform to help local schools use the site for environmental education sessions.
Glen Howe Park, Wharncliffe Side:
Our work in Glen Howe Park includes creating a new pond and cutting back invasive rhododendron and holly bushes. This will provide a more natural habitat and also help plants on the ground flourish.
An interpretation panel will be installed next to the Grade II listed packhorse bridge, giving historical information for visitors.
Pot House Wood, Stocksbridge:
Following our previous work in Pot House Wood to help the red listed willow tit, we will be clearing invasive species of Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed. Our volunteers will also remove larch and ash trees in order to allow younger trees and ground flora to grow.
This work will help to increase the biodiversity in the woodland and also improve the habitat which this threatened bird needs to thrive.
Oxley Park & New Hall Wood, Stocksbridge:
To improve access for visitors, we will carry out surfacing work on the paths and install some new steps on steep slopes. We will also create two new ‘run routes’ which will be way-marked and have information panels at the trail head.
Four new benches are being installed to provide resting points for visitors and help people with mobility difficulties enjoy the woodland.
To honour the site’s history as a fruit farm, we will be inviting members of the local community to help plant a community orchard. This will have a bench and interpretation panel constructed, allowing visitors to rest and learn about the history of Oxley Park & New Hall Wood.
There will also be some tree management and tree planting work to help improve the habitat for the willow tit.
To help reduce erosion on the footpath over the SSSI moorland at Redmires reservoir, we will be improving the boggy and steep sections by installing stone flagging and stone pitching.
When this work has been completed, visitors will be able to follow a circular route on good paths, linking the moorland path to the easy going conduit path. It will also create better access to the WW1 trenches which were used for army training on ‘Hill 60’.
Speaking on behalf of the Steel Valley Project, Project Manager Tom Newman stated “We’re looking forward to working on this diverse variety of projects in the Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership over the next 4 years. The work will provide a good mix of volunteering opportunities and long lasting improvements to the area and the path networks used to access to the rich heritage found here.”
Further information on the Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership can be found at www.wildsheffield.com/sheffieldlakeland