The Garforth Community Wildlife Area sits on land owned by Leeds City Council’s Housing department. Over ten years ago, Garforth in Bloom worked with the authority and local councillors to be custodians of the site and secure it for nature.
Prior to Garforth in Bloom’s involvement, the area was used for fly tipping and was simply an unused and unloved space. After apple trees were planted and bee hives placed on site, the space remained inactive for a number of years until nature took over and another local community greening group started to maintain pathways and pull out rubbish and other discarded items.
When we were asked to take on custodianship of the site, we set about making plans to transform the space. We initially removed a number of self-seeded trees and tackled large inaccessible areas that had become overgrown with bracken and brambles.
After receiving funding from Grow Wild (the national outreach learning initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) and from Localgiving’s Magic Little Grants, we were able to accelerate the transformation and this report shows the progress made so far.
In this much needed era of enhanced climate change focus and biodiversity loss, the Garforth Community Wildlife Area should be an exemplar for positive action in Leeds and the wider Leeds City region. It should serve as a template for how communities can work together with local authorities for a right to grow, a right to act and a right to thrive.