People living in Mirfield are being encouraged to give their views on a project to turn an island on the Calder & Hebble Navigation into a thriving community park.
We're working together with Mirfield Community Partnership and Groundwork Wakefield to transform Battyeford Island, an 800m stretch of land sandwiched between the Calder & Hebble Navigation and the River Calder. The scheme would represent the first part of a wider initiative to improve over three miles of canal and riverside routes running through Mirfield.
Local people are now being asked for their views on how they would like to see the island rejuvenated in order to support funding bids to carry out the works. Initial proposals include improved walking trails, cycle routes and fishing points as well as information on the history and ecology of the island.
There are also plans for community orchards, wild flower meadows and a kitchen garden full of medicinal herbs and edible plants. The planting would reintroduce historic species once common in the area and give local people the chance to grow and harvest their own plants.
It is also hoped that the proposals could include a small archaeological project to expose historic mill buildings on the island. Many of the works will be carried out by volunteers, giving local people the chance to develop environmental and heritage skills.
A consultation day for the project is being held on 5 October when local people can visit the island and find out more about the plans and give their own ideas and inspiration. People living nearby are also being encouraged to share their stories and photos of time spent on the island over the years which could be included within on-site information.
Hilary Brooke of the Mirfield Community Partnership said: “We know that local people are already using the island and we want to improve it for them and make it a really special place for the whole community to enjoy.
“We already have some ideas of our own but we’re really keen to hear how local people would like to see the island improved as ultimately the park will belong to them.
“The island can be a real focal point for the community somewhere for people to relax, learn and get closer to nature and we really can’t wait to get started.”