Determined ladies celebrating campaign to prevent travellers camping on village land

Wendy Rowlinson, May Ashworth and Susan Pollard.
Wendy Rowlinson, May Ashworth and Susan Pollard.

A group of determined ladies are celebrating after a successful campaign to prevent travellers from camping on a village space.

May Ashworth, Marilyn Skelton, Wendy Rowlinson and Susan Pollard have spent months working to have bunding - raised soil edges - placed around Sharlston Common to deter travellers, who have pitched up more than six times in the past year.

They spoke at length with the parish and district council and host of other bodies, including Historic England, Heritage England, archeologists, ecologists and traveller liaison officers, and even launched a petition which gathered in more than 350 signatures.

Now more than 60 tonnes of soil has been used to complete around 600 metres of bunding, standing over a foot in height. It was eventually funded by Wakefield Council, although agricultural contractors, Easterby W H & Sons, provided free labour and machines to help complete the job.

Susan Pollard said: “People were really becoming disgruntled with the number of times the travellers had been setting up camp here and the mess that they would leave behind.

“We’ve heard it was costing the council between £4,000 and £5,000 every time to clear it up and people were really fed up but didn’t know what to do about it. It was a relief when they went and everyone just hoped they would not come back. The work we had to do was really in-depth, and we found that bunding was the most environmentally friendly way to do it.”

Volunteers gathered on Saturday to plant bulbs on the bunding which will flower next spring.