October 5, 2015 | Community News
Much-needed repairs to several stone walls around a South Yorkshire country park have been completed thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.
The Friends Of Ulley Country Park near Rotherham commissioned environmental charity Groundwork Cresswell, Ashfield & Mansfield to carrying the work after receiving a £1,987 grant from the community fund linked to Banks Renewables’ nearby Penny Hill wind farm
The various walls had fallen into a state of disrepair over time, with some of the protective wall alongside a footpath around the lake at the centre of the park dropping into the water, which created a potential safety problem for visitors as well as a visual issue through the addition of temporary metal safety barriers in its place.
Other walls needing attention included some of those around the car park and another protecting a nesting and feeding area for waterfowl.
Part of the project included Groundwork Cresswell recovering and reusing the material that had fallen in the lake, with replacement stone sourced for repairing the remaining walls.
Located just off the A618 Rotherham to Swallownest Road, the 19-hectare Ulley Country Park includes over 12 hectares of water, and contains a variety of habitats including open water, woodland, grassland, arable land and gorse scrub which host many types of plants, insects, wildfowl and animals. It is an established venue for angling and water sports, and is home to Ulley Sailing Club.
The Friends Of Ulley Country Park has around 300 members, with an 18-strong committee and core group of around 30 volunteers who carry out a range of maintenance and fundraising activities through the year, including regular cafe days in the visitors’ centre.
It’s the second time this year that capital has been provided to the Friends from the Penny Hill fund to support park improvements, with a £1,620 grant being used to erect new noticeboards at its Ulley entrance.
Di Haswell, who is part of the Friends Of Ulley Country Park committee, says: “With so many walls alongside footpaths and elsewhere around the park, it’s inevitable that some of them will be subject to wear and tear, and we’ve wanted to do something about improving them for some time, especially in areas where their condition was causing safety concerns as well as making them look unattractive and neglected.
“The Friends group carries out a lot of maintenance and management work around the park, but we simply don’t have the money available to cover the cost of this sort of project, so Banks Renewables’ continued support for our work is absolutely invaluable.
“The repairs have made a real difference to how the park looks, and they’ve also helped to ease our worries about avoidable accidents happening because of the state that the walls were in.”
The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund will provide over £500,000 of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of the Penny Hill Wind Farm, which sits to the south east of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18.
The fund is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and aims to make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in these areas.
Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, adds: “Ulley Country Park is an invaluable community asset that’s used by hundreds of people every day, and helping the Friends make improvements to it that will benefit everyone is exactly the sort of positive local impact that the Penny Hill wind farm community fund was designed to achieve.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks’ Penny Hill Wind Farm which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 for further information.