NEW wildlife habitats will form part of a local sporting club’s upgraded base.

Almscliffe Tennis & Bowling Club (ATBC), in Huby, has begun a redevelopment that will include changing to a sythetic grass surface, installing floodlights and building an additional tennis court/multi-use games area.

The club was given 420 saplings through the Woodland Trust’s Free Trees for Schools and Communities programme and has incorporated these into the revamp.

It recently - before the coronavirus lockdown began - invited members of charity Open Country’s Harrogate conservation group along to plant the saplings and so fill gaps in its boundary hedge, create new hedgerow and add extra trees to its grounds.

Tim Jackson of the Almscliffe Tennis & Bowling Club said: “The new habitats will provide year round colours and first-class accommodation for birds, bats and other wildlife.

“We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful rural landscapes so it was important for us to protect this as much as possible.

“The team at Open Country have worked so hard and provided vital advice both for now and in the future, and we look forward to seeing the results over the next few months and years.”

Countryside Activities Officer for Open Country - whose Harrogate conservation group members all have a disability or mental health problems - Sally Hobson said: “The group had a fantastic day at the club and were really proud of their work to in rewilding the landscape around the facilities.

“It is always a good day for the members when they can see the results of their hard graft and we wish the club well on the development.”

ATBC has received widespread support for its redevelopment from members, the local community, longstanding benefactor Mark Hillery, the LTA, Yorkshire Tennis, Weeton Village Institute, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Bramall Foundation and Holbeck Trust.

The club is keen to welcome new members and visitors - for more details visit

Open Country’s Harrogate conservation group, meanwhile, meets twice a week and carries out countryside tasks ranging from path laying and hedgerow planting to scrub bashing and projects to improve access for all.

For more details on Open Country and its work - and to find out how to get involved - visit