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Funding boost for woodland project
The heritage of a semi-natural ancient woodland is to be explored after a grant of almost £50,000 was awarded to the Bradford Environmental Action Trust (BEAT).
Residents from across the district interested in history or ecology are being sought to take part in the two-year project, which will try to establish how long the wood, tucked under the hillside above Silsden, has been there and what it means to the industry and lives of residents.
Staff from BEAT and the Forest Of Bradford initiative will be leading the project in the Swartha Wood area, following a grant of £49,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Volunteers will be able to take part in a range of activities at the wood, believed to have been in existence since at least the 1600s, including archaeology, archive research and woodland management.
Project manager Jen Miles, of BEAT, said: “Silsden has a rich industrial history with an interesting link with metalworking, particularly nailmaking.
“Wood has always been an essential resource for people - from the very first settlers every village would have access to a managed area of woodland, just like they had common grazing land.”
And there could be some fascinating historical discoveries.
She said: “It's already an interest from a finds point of view because the Silsden Hoard - a collection of Iron Age gold coins - was found only a few years ago quite close to Swartha Wood. And there's the Ilkley Roman fort just over the border, so we can't say what we are going to discover.”
Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This project will enable the community to learn about the importance of the wood and how it has shaped the surrounding area.”
Information about the project will be available at a heritage day at Keighley Library, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, September 8.
Alternatively, you can visit the BEAT website at beat.org.uk.