ADDINGHAM Primary School invited members of the village’s environment group to join them for the official opening of its new Jubilee Nature Reserve.

The school has been working closely with the Addingham Environment Group (AEG) to create a wetland area as part of its Green Heart of Addingham Project to develop the school grounds.

Headteacher Hilary Cave said: “On Wednesday, we officially opened our newly created Jubilee Nature Reserve, pond, and school hide. We were joined by Professor Rick Battarbee and a selection of members from the AEG for this special occasion.

“I know that the addition of a school pond, hide and wetland area will be of enormous benefit to the children here at Addingham Primary School. Our work with the AEG fits perfectly into our Green Heart vision, as we all have a responsibility to protect our environment and local habitat.”

The reserve is located in a corner of the school grounds formerly used as an athletics arena for the high and long jumps in the days when the school was a Middle School. Work on the wetland began in February 2019 using a mini-digger to create hollows for two ponds and a series of scrapes. The ponds and scrapes have now been planted with a range of native aquatic plant species by AEG volunteers working together with Year 4 children. Contractor Kevin Grosvenor constructed the safety fence and pond dipping platform for the main pond and designed and constructed the hide, now ready for use.

“Although progress was slowed by the pandemic, it is a great example of the school and wider village community working together,” said Professor Rick Battarbee. “We hope over the coming years that the habitats we’ve created will not only attract frogs, newts and dragonflies but will also provide the children with a fantastic opportunity to learn about wetland wildlife right here on their doorstep.”

This project wouldn’t have been possible, without the generous donation of time the AEG members gave to create this wonderful area, or without the financial help given from:Yorkshire Agricultural Society; Addingham Beer Festival; Totally Locally Christmas Market; Private donation from Lesley and Clive Loughlin; Addingham Civic Society Environment Group; Friends of Addingham Primary School (FAPS); Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust; Green Futures; Co-op Community Fund; Morrisons ‘Good to Grow’.

Ms Cave added: “Thank you so much to all those who have helped turn this vision into a reality. Jasmine and Freya, our Y6 Eco Councillors, officially opened the reserve and cut the ribbon to the hide, which will be named ‘The Barry Tiffany Hide’. Tragically Barry, a committed and valued member of the AEG, passed away suddenly recently. He loved volunteering for the AEG and happily gave so much of his time to help create our Jubilee Nature Reserve. We felt we could honour his memory by naming the hide after him.”