Leeds city Council will not be proceeding this year with the annual bonfire on Woodhouse Moor and other Leeds parks. The council is to be congratulated on taking a big step towards improving air quality and helping Leeds to achieve its aim of zero carbon emissions by 2030. Well done!
“Any hedgehog that is out during the day is in all likelihood in need of help. They are nocturnal, and they will only be out during the day in a desperate attempt to get more food and water, so basically if they are starving and/ or dehydrated/ sick. A hog like that may be lying down or staggering about. They do not ‘sunbathe’.
The best course of action is to take hold of it (in this state, they won’t probably even spike up, and are extremely unlikely to bite, but a bit of cloth is an excellent barrier in any case), put it in a cardboard box somewhere quiet and secure, provide some water and get in touch with a local rescue or a vet. Wash your hands after as they do carry parasites.
The only exception from this are nursing mums, but they will be walking briskly and with purpose – sometimes they just need a break from the kids!
The more people know about this, the more we can help this iconic species that was in very sharp decline; for the first time they started to recover in urban areas (!) basically because people’s awareness has improved on how to lend them a helping hand so it’s all down to efforts of people like you and me.”
In Autumn 2020, Parks and Countryside’s Woodland Creation Team produced proposals to plant two large areas of whips on the main part of Woodhouse Moor. Following consultation with local community groups, these plans were abandoned. In their place, the Climate Change Working Group has devised this undated plan to plant 832 whips in the Cliff Terrace area of the Moor. At a Zoom meeting of the Little Woodhouse Community Association in July 2021, Parks and Countryside assured those present that the Cliff Terrace proposals would be consulted on. This has not happened.
These are the Climate Change Working Group’s proposals for the Cliff Terrace area of the Moor:
Overall Coverage for Alternative Management = 1,872 m 2 (Approx.)
Overall Amount of Proposed Whips with 1.5m Spacing = 832 (Approx.)
In the Summer of 2021, Parks and Countryside agreed to plant several hundred specimen trees on Woodhouse Moor. Each tree was to be protected by a tree guard and was to cost ￡350. By the end of March 2022, just 34 trees had been planted. Apparently, at some point after Summer 2021, the above undated plans were produced by the Climate Change Working Group. The changes that were made to the agreed Summer 2021 plan are unapproved. Under these new unapproved plans, the Climate Change Working Group propose the following:
Overall Coverage for Alternative Management = 29,816 m2 (Approx.)
Overall Amount of Proposed Specimen Trees: 119 (Approx.)
Little London and Woodhouse councillor Kayleigh Brooks continues to ask for toilets on Woodhouse Moor. The issue is one of public safety and fairness. On a hot day, there are streams of urine and piles of human faeces everywhere. Parks and Countryside say that there’s no money for toilets. And yet, there’s money for toilets on several other Leeds parks, all of which are less intensively used than the Moor (local people are well aware that the Moor is the second most visited park in Leeds, and the park with the most visitors per square kilometre).
Most recently, Councillor Brooks asked Parks and Countryside if the purpose-built toilet block at Hyde Park Corner could be re-opened as a means to improve women’s safety on the park, with the lack of women’s safety being much in the news recently. Faced with a less than enthusiastic response, she asked if French style self-cleaning toilets could be installed. Once again, Parks and Countryside were unreceptive to her suggestion. Fortunately for the park’s many users and all local residents, Councillor Brooks doesn’t give up and will continue to pursue this issue on our behalf.
About three weeks ago, a temporary vaccination centre appeared on Cinder Moor. Unlike with the previous temporary vaccination centre, anyone can go there to be vaccinated, provided they’re eligible.
The appearance of the centre took local people completely by surprise. No one was consulted about it. But since this part of the Moor is in Headingley and Hyde Park ward, we can safely assume that the Headingley councillors, Al Garthwaite, Neil Walshaw and Jonathan Pryor were consulted, and presumably had no objections.
It’s been announced that the city’s six annual bonfires have been cancelled this year. The reason given for the cancellation is that it’s to reduce the possibility of transmission of the Covid virus. Details of the cancellation are given in this Yorkshire Evening Post article.
Whilst we welcome the bonfires’ cancellation, we feel that it was for the wrong reason. Almost two years ago, there were unprecedented fires in Australia which killed many thousands of kangaroos, koala bears and other wildlife. More recently, temperatures in the Pacific North West have reached previously unrecorded levels, resulting in many human deaths and the destruction of redwood forests. And just a few weeks ago, there was flooding in West Germany on a scale and with devastation never before seen. It’s generally accepted that all these phenomena are the result of climate change. And so if bonfires in Leeds are to be cancelled, then it should be because they (a) contribute to said climate change, and (b) send out the wrong signal from an administration committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Almost 50 hectares of new public parkland including a COVID-19 memorial wood is set to be developed on the former South Leeds Golf course next to Middleton Park. The green space is to be created in partnership with the Leeds Hospitals Charity and will also be dedicated to frontline workers. 5km of walking trails, 9,000 trees and a wildflower meadow will provide space for reflection and recreation. You can learn more about the proposed plans here.
This photo was taken in the mid to late 1950s and shows a local resident sitting on the Lion and Serpent sculpture, and her brother standing in front of it. The Woodhouse Moor Methodist church can be seen in the background on the left. It was demolished in the early 1970s. A block of flats called Cumberland Court was built on the site.
The Lion and Serpent sculpture was made by Benjamin Sharp, free of charge. Mr Sharp also worked on the staircase sculptures in Leeds Central Library. It was placed on the Moor in June 1883 very close to the Adam and Eve Garden (now the location of the Victoria Memorial). After the Second World War, it was moved to a more open site between the children’s playground and the clock/water fountain. Students began to paint the sculpture from the 1980s onwards, and in the late 1990s following a hammer attack, it was removed from the park. No one seems to know if it still exists.
Thanks to the sterling efforts of Councillor Kayleigh Brooks, the toilet block is to be re-opened, albeit, not before this Summer. In the meantime, it’s likely that portaloos will be placed on the Moor, but these will only be a temporary measure.
Even though Woodhouse Moor is the most intensively used park in Leeds, it currently has no accessible toilets. By comparison, parks in more affluent areas are well provided with toilets. Information supplied by Leeds City Council shows that there are accessible toilets in other Leeds parks as follows:
Roundhay Park – 3 locations
Temple Newsam – 3 locations
Lotherton Hall – 2 locations
Golden Acre Park – 2 locations
Middleton Park – 1 location
The Arium – 1 location
Over 1,100 people have now signed a petition asking for the toilet block to be re-opened. Now at last, that goal is in sight. Hats off to Councillor Brooks!