River Holme Connections
Honley Business Centre,
If you’ve recently visited the Duck Feeding Area in Holmfirth (behind the Co-op car park), walked along the new path at Sands Recreation ground, or admired the wildflower meadow at Magdale, then you’ve seen the amazing results of River Holme Connections’ work.
Since 2015, the charity has worked tirelessly to improve the River Holme catchment for people and wildlife. Helped by dedicated volunteers and working in partnership with other community groups, such as Honley Village Community Trust, with whom they helped to improve the Magdale meadow, the small team has completed a huge amount of work.
It’s all part of their bit to help the Environment Agency improve the River Holme’s ecological status from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ within the next decade.
Better for people
Rivers are the world’s arteries. Healthy, cared-for rivers provide food, shelter and a breeding ground for invertebrates, fish and animals, all of which are vital for a healthy, functioning ecosystem. We need rivers too. They provide drinking water and, as more and more studies show, access to blue and green outdoor spaces is vital for our mental and physical wellbeing.
“There’s a growing disconnect between the natural world and people, especially young people. Studies show that 8-15 year-olds spend on average just 16 minutes each day outdoors in rural settings. By educating and providing better access to the river we want to let people know more about our rivers and why it’s vital we care for them, now and in the future,” said Lynva Russell, River Holme Connections trustee.
Get to know our rivers
The charity has certainly improved access. The charity secured grants and funding for a six-figure investment that has transformed the Duck Feeding Area, provided wheelchair and pushchair access to the river at Sands, improved signage and access to Spa Wood in Lockwood and Bottoms Mill near Hinchcliffe Mills.
They’ve worked with pupils at all Honley schools, taking older children to the river and bringing the magic of the river to the classroom for reception children. They also have a programme of fascinating walks and talks for people of all ages, given by experts on everything from bats and bees to fish and trees.
And that’s just the start!
Better for wildlife
Improving the river environment for wildlife is central to the charity’s work. They’ve tackled invasive non-native species along all the tributaries and rivers in the River Holme catchment, including Mag Brook and the River Holme in Honley. Here they’ve treated Japanese knotweed, bashed Himalayan balsam and controlled other invasive nasties. To encourage biodiversity, they’ve also helped Honley Village Community Trust replant these areas with native flowers and seeds, resulting in a thriving wildflower meadow around Magdale.
The charity has also planted thousands of native trees and hedges to help with natural flood management and provide food and shelter for wildlife. With help from volunteers, they’ve also removed tonnes of rubbish from the rivers and surrounding areas throughout Honley and the rest of the catchment.
Can you help our rivers?
As with many charities, River Holme Connections relies on the hard work and goodwill of volunteers. They host monthly work parties from 10am-12noon every third Saturday at different locations within the catchment. Other events, such as river clean-ups, tree planting and balsam bashing also take place throughout the year.