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Arboretum Steps

One of the Friends’ current major projects has received a cash boost that will help ensure the scheme’s completion over the next few months .In July the group identified the need to provide a handrail and replace unsafe steps which provide access to the arboretum from the main car park. With contributions from Wakefield Tree Wardens, Newmillerdam Community and Conservation Association and a donation from a regular visitor to the arboretum work was able to get underway. With about 25 of the 50+ steps replaced, more money was needed to complete the job and now the project has been awarded a £700 neighbourhood improvement grant by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. The money will be used to buy timber shuttering, pegs and other materials so work can be completed. While some of the excavation work had proved arduous, good progress is being made and the scheme will greatly improve access to the arboretum and it is hoped work will be competed early next year. The Friends hope to hear soon whether or not a grant application to Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd – to replace the remaining and deteriorating wooden section of the Lawns Dike Walkway – has been successful. If a grant is awarded, the section will be replaced with recycled plastic, the same material that was used to construct the rest of the boardwalk, which has now been opened for nearly 18 months.

With about 25 of the 50+ steps replaced, more money was needed to complete the job and now the project has been awarded a £700 neighbourhood improvement grant by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. The money will be used to buy timber shuttering, pegs and other materials so work can be completed. While some of the excavation work had proved arduous, good progress is being made and the scheme will greatly improve access to the arboretum and it is hoped work will be competed early next year. The Friends hope to hear soon whether or not a grant application to Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd – to replace the remaining and deteriorating wooden section of the Lawns Dike Walkway – has been successful. If a grant is awarded, the section will be replaced with recycled plastic, the same material that was used to construct the rest of the boardwalk, which has now been opened for nearly 18 months. It has been a busy few months for the FNCP’s Tuesday volunteers, not least in trying to tackle the highly-invasive Himalayan Balsam. A relative of the Busy Lizzie, it was introduced to the UK in 1839. It is a plant that spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, It is best eradicated by pulling and cutting before it has the chance to flower and set seed. In addition to summer routine maintenance a section of the lakeside path affected by a substantial quantity of mud and sand deposits brought down in heavy rain has been cleared, making it easier for people enjoying a walk around the far end of the lake. The arboretum has been tidied for the winter and the dry-stone wall at the park’s boundary is nearing completion. A rough footpath runs alongside the wall and its decorative features make it well worth taking a look at. A future project is to clear the scrub, brambles and other vegetation and create a new access to the wall-side path. A pile of rubble that appeared among trees at the far end of the lakeside path prompted fears among some visitors that the park had fallen victim to fly- tipping – good news, it hasn’t. The rubble is to be used for some bank restoration work and progress is being made as illustrated above. Further bank recovery in this area will be undertaken in the coming weeks.

The Boat House Sunday cafe, which is operated by the Friends, has enjoyed a highly successful summer, with the hard- working volunteers welcoming lots of new and regular customers. The takings are vital to the Friends’ efforts and all money raised is ploughed back into the park. The cafe is now closed for the winter – see you next year!


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