ANNUAL UPDATE 2007
Thanks to a generous award from Ilkley Parish Council, the remaining worn sections of the tarmac pathway, which forms the main spine route through the site, have been resurfaced. This now provides a continuous route at a standard suitable for wheelchair use connecting the pavement of Wells Road and the newly-resurfaced car parking area to the wheelchair-friendly observation point constructed last year.
A further major grant from Yorventure has funded the installation of another length of recycled plastic boardwalk, which has completed an attractive waterside walkway, linked by flights of shallow steps to the main 'sand path' above the gill.
Keighley Community Chest were the principal contributors to funding the erection of a line of timber bollards along the edge of the car park, separating it from the adjacent grassy picnic area to improve visitor safety.
Exceptional rainfall at the end of June caused the gill to seriously overflow at the lower end of the Green. Subsequent investigations by volunteers suggest that the culvert at the exit from the site, beyond the boundary of the Green, may be partially blocked. Bradford Council have undertaken to take corrective action.
Although our opportunities for planting new dedicated trees have now been curtailed by lack of space, several people took advantage of our offer to adopt existing young trees on the Green, which have been marked by dedication plaques.
The hedgerow continues to thrive and is now sufficiently mature to offer bird-nesting sites, as evidenced by the above discovery of an abandoned nest during our annual winter hedge trimming. More than 800 of the 1000 hedgerow bushes have now been dedicated, with bushes by the daffodil bank at the top of the site still available for adoption. For a donation of just £2.50 per bush, we will affix name tags to bushes. See our website application form for details.
Income from sales of 'The Elements' - our pack of illustrated leaflets based on the themes of Earth, Air, Water & Fire, has continued to contribute to the upkeep of Darwin Gardens. Produced entirely by volunteers, these informative leaflets take visitors on walks connecting the Green to the town and to the wider surrounding landscape of Ilkley Moor.
Darwin Gardens has succeeded in retaining its Green Pennant Award - the Civic Trust's national quality standard for green spaces maintained by volunteer groups, for the fourth year in a row.
Now that Darwin Gardens has become essentially mature, with the major emphasis on continuing maintenance tasks, the Trustees have opened negotiations which we hope will lead to Ilkley Parish Council taking on overall responsibility for the site. We envisage the current trustees assuming the role of expert advisors and as effectively forming the nucleus of a 'Friends' group to support the Millennium Green. Natural England - successor to The Countryside Agency as the national body overseeing the Millennium Green scheme - are introducing legal mechanisms to facilitate such a transition, and we look forward to such an arrangement to secure the future of this much-loved part of Ilkley's heritage.
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