Nature reserve opens

Official opening of Mill Pond Meadow Nature reserve.'Karen Williamson (chairman of Friends of Millpond Meadow), Jon Trickett MP, Chris Sadler (Streetscene engagement officer Wakefield Council)
Official opening of Mill Pond Meadow Nature reserve.'Karen Williamson (chairman of Friends of Millpond Meadow), Jon Trickett MP, Chris Sadler (Streetscene engagement officer Wakefield Council)

SCHOOLCHILDREN and local MP Jon Trickett helped a community group open a newly-revamped nature reserve in Featherstone on Friday.

Friends of Mill Pond Meadow won a community spaces grant from the Big Lottery Fund of just over £40,000 to make improvements to the site, including creating new pathways, fencing, seats, gates, signage, plus hedge and tree planting.

The new-look nature reserve opened on Friday, with pupils from St Thomas Junior School going along to see Mr Trickett cut the ribbon to the site.

Karen Williamson, chairman of the Friends group, said: “It’s a really pretty area and full of biodiversity, there are rare orchids which grow here, hares and some endangered spieces of birds, and we thought it was worth protecting.

“We started laying the paths in April and since then the number of people using it to walk their dogs or just to stroll has gone right up. Local people have said it’s a really good place to come and there’s a lot more people using it now.”

The Friends group has worked with Wakefield Council to develop the site, and also received support from local firm DS Smith Packing. It will now work alongside the council to maintain the site.

Karen added: “It’s been a long time coming, and we’ve had a few setbacks on the way, but when we see what we have done and how it’s going to protect the area, particularly the animals and plants, it’s been well worth it.”

Mr Trickett said: “It’s good to think people in Featherstone really care about their local environment and I think it’s marvellous that a group of people have come together, raised money and put in a huge effort to create this for everyone.”