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A decade of help for Burley-in-Wharfedale nature reserve
The New Year marks a decade of local volunteers looking after a former tip turned wildlife haven.
Later this month, Sun Lane volunteers will have been maintaining and caring for the Burley-in-Wharfedale nature reserve for ten years.
Fifteen local people came together for the first time on Sunday, January 26, 2003 to start volunteer work on the Old Tip Field, now known as Sun Lane Nature Reserve.
Under the leadership of Peter Riley, president of Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society, and the watchful eye of Freda Draper, a local naturalist who has known the site for many years, work started to restore the neglected site to a valuable space for wildlife and for people to enjoy and appreciate.
Burley Village Wildlife Group was formed as a committee to manage the site, with the backing of Bradford Council.
A formal management agreement was signed in February 2005.
In February 2011, Sun Lane received official Local Nature Reserve status.
Ten years on from the start of their efforts, more than 70 local people have dedicated around 5,000 hours of their time to the nature reserve.
Their work has included keeping the streams clear and flowing, controlling encroaching scrub, improving paths and maintaining habitats to maximise the biodiversity of the site. Lists have been drawn up of flowers, butterflies, moths, birds and other animals on the reserve so visitors can see what an important resource the village has.
Bird tables at the reserve are kept well-stocked for wild songbirds to supplement their natural diet and enable visitors to see the winged visitors, while the volunteers update a notice board with details of plants and creatures to be seen on the reserve.
The group wants to give special mention to two long-term Burley residents for their contributions to the reserve. Dougie Ascough has provided and maintains the seats around the reserve, and Laurance (Laurie) Kirkbright made the original signs at the entrance and also wrote several poems. Laurie died aged 93 in March 2012.
The group welcomes new volunteers. Contact Peter Riley on (01943) 862916.