Capital project to re-structure and refurbish the eroded Duck Feeding Area for the benefit of wildlife and the 40,000 people who visit each year.
Project cost: £100,000
To our funding partners, donations from community groups and the hard work and dedication of our amazing volunteers. The Duck Feeding Area was funded by Cobbett Environmental Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund.
Funding and support were also provided by Co-op Communities Fund, Kirklees Council, Kirklees Rural District Committee, Holmfirth Parish Council, Yorkshire Water.
Fondly known as the Duck Feeding Area, this is one of the few places you can get close to the river in Holmfirth town centre.
Over the decades, the area has weathered numerous storms but during the floods of 1944, many of the walkways along the River Holme were washed away. In the 1990s, a Millennium Project run by volunteers and local businesses restored this area and it became a popular place for people to visit and feed the ducks.
In recent years, however, the area had once again fallen into disrepair. The riverbanks had eroded, and the path was often muddy, overgrown with invasive species and prone to flooding. With around 40,000 visitors each year, the Duck Feeding Area was badly in need of care and attention.
We knew from our research that the Duck Feeding Area is an important place for visitors to experience river wildlife. Our aim was to create a welcoming and informative area for visitors, improve the river habitat for native wildlife and create a strong foundation to minimise the effects of flooding and erosion.
A solid foundation
In 2016, we secured funding from Cobbett Environmental Ltd, through the Landfill Trust to revitalise the area. In 2017 work began on a two-year improvement programme costing in excess of £100,000.
With help from volunteers, support from Kirklees Council, community and business partners, we made structural improvements to the bridge and rebuilt the banks to combat erosion and make sure the area could meet the demands of bad weather and flooding. A new, all-weather path was created, together with planted areas.
The right environment for wildlife
Following the structural improvements, in 2018, together with our volunteers we planted the area with duck-proof, shade-resistant native plants including sedge, dogwood and wild flowers. These native plants provide food and shelter for animals, birds and minibeasts, and fix the soil helping to prevent it from being washed away during flooding and bad weather.
To create the optimum balance of shade and light for river-dwelling animals we thinned the tree canopy along the riverbank.
A pleasant environment for visitors
In spring 2019 the finishing touches were added, bringing the 2-year project to a close. An architectural information board, and 2 architecturally designed benches were installed.
The benches and information board were designed by local metal sculptor, Mick Kirkby-Geddes. The information boards give information about the Duck Feeding Area, wildlife and walks along the river.
Involving the community
To encourage local people to get involved with our work and take ownership of the area young people were invited to create a design for the architectural benches. The competition was judged by Mick Kirkby-Geddes and Yorkshire artist, Ashley Jackson. Holmfirth High student, Aoife Schofield was declared the winner, but Mick incorporated at least one element of each piece of artwork into the benches.
Together with volunteers, community organisations, partners and supporters, we’ve made the Duck Feeding Area at Crown Bottom, Holmfirth a better place for people and wildlife.