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Design Award

The Lawns Dike Trail is recognised with a Design Award from Wakefield Civic Society At a gathering of the Friends of Newmillerdam Country Park on 15th April the Chairman, Jeff Stimpson, highlighted a year of significant progress by the volunteers when commenting on his annual report for 2013/14. In summarising he mentioned the on-going maintenance undertaken by the volunteers, including the control of the Himalayan Balsam, the clearance of obstructions to ditches & culverts, major repairs to the surface of the lakeside paths and weekly litter picks around the park. Several new projects had been included in the year’s programme leading to the clearance of weeds and scrub from a large area of land adjacent to the main car park and giving support to the Wakefield Cycle Forum with the construction of the new cycle path to the arboretum.

However, the highlight of 2013/14 was the official opening of the Lawns Dike Trail by Mary Creagh MP in June 2013, after over 18 months of dedicated activity by the volunteers. At this point he announced that he and Don John had been invited to attend the Wakefield Civic Society AGM a few days earlier. This event, held at the Mechanics Theatre, Wakefield College, Wood Street, Wakefield, was to include the presentation of the Civic Society Design Awards for 2014 and the Lawns Dike Trail had been nominated. There was a large audience in attendance at the event to hear the announcement that the Lawns Dike Trail was to receive the first prize in Wakefield Civic Society Design Awards 2014 - Category Best New Project. This award is regarded in many circles as a prestigious accolade, acknowledging the creative, environmental and community lead elements that make up the criteria.

The significant success of the Friends Group in receiving this reward was put into perspective when it was announced the refurbishment of Wakefield Railway Station at a cost of £14m had been beaten into second place. The mayor of Wakefield Cllr Mrs Janet Holmes presented the Friends of Newmillerdam CP with a bronze plaque they hope to mount on the signage at the start of the Lawns Dike Trail plus a certificate that will be displayed in the Boathouse.

The trail is proving to be very popular with visitors to Newmillerdam Country Park, with many using the boardwalk to venture into the valley and / or make use of the new picnic site. Following the official opening last year the Tuesday volunteers have been making further improvements. The removal of trees and scrub from the strip of land between Bushcliffe Beck and the lake has opened up the views from the picnic site and the on-going maintenance of the pathway and the regular cutting of grass ensures the area is attractive for visitors. Future plans include the replacement of the wooden section of boardwalk with non slip plastic if the necessary funding can be raised.

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