West Yorkshire playing fields to be transformed into wetland reserve


Work is set to commence on the creation of a new wetland nature reserve near Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire.

The project, situated at the site of Brearley Fields in the village, is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The former playing fields will be turned into a valuable wetland habitat and enhance naturally managed flood risk.

The creation of the new wetland site in Mytholmroyd should be completed in May this year (Geoff Snowball).

The wetlands will feature two large ponds and a temporary pond which will fill as the river naturally rises, providing habitat for a range of species. Parts of the existing river embankment will be removed, improving river connectivity and natural flood management.

To enhance visitor experience and accessibility, a new footpath, seating areas, and interpretation boards will be installed. The fields already act as a natural floodplain for the river and by enhancing and improving this existing space, the nature reserve in its new format will be more accessible and provide a space for the local community to enjoy.

Work is now starting on site and will finish in May 2023. During this time, access to the eastern half of Brearley Fields will be restricted and other parts of the fields may need to be closed at short notice. Although the site will be very muddy during and immediately after the works, it will rapidly recover during the late spring and summer.

Once construction work at Brearley Fields is complete, a number of volunteer action days will be held to support the creation of new habitats. This will include work to create a wildflower meadow, featuring reedbeds, trees and other wetland plants, enhancing local biodiversity and leaving a positive impact on the site.

Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Scott Patient, said: "I'm delighted that work is now due to start at Brearley Fields. This innovative and exciting project will create an attractive wetland and nature reserve environment, with new footpaths and seating areas to benefit local people."