Community mission

We came, We Saw.....But We Didn't Conquer the Rampant Rhododendrons

2 GoodGymers made their way to help their local community in Huddersfield.

  • Saul Muldoon
  • David Bilton
Saturday, 10th of June 2023
Led by Saul Muldoon

David Bilton and I turned up for today's Community Mission, but so did a local resident who politely explained to the Task Owner Jamie Elliott from Friends of Quarmby & Longwood Edge his, and he claimed many local resident's opposition to removing rhododendrons from the heather field and surrounding area.

In light of the apparent strength of objection Jamie elected to cancel the task and seek further guidance from Kirklees Council who own the land and originally requested the rhododendrons were removed.

Thanks to Davis Bilton for attending, apologies for his wasted journey (although it was a lovely morning for a walk).

Jamie posted the following public explanation for the cancellation of the activity....

We have decided to cancel the rhododendron clearing. Several members of the community have objected saying that they find the rhododendrons attractive and they don’t think they are doing any harm. Whilst I personally disagree, I don’t think it is worth causing resentment over. Therefore we have canceled this activity.

The volunteer co-ordinator from Kirklees Council originally suggested this, and the ecologist who designed the tree planting scheme also mentioned the rhododendron as a problem. They provide no ecological benefit to plants, insects or animals. Eventually, they will out-compete all other plants and continue to spread. Other areas have ended up completely covered. This week I counted 2 plants in the heather field, 7 by the tower, 1 in the trees and 12 across the valley. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to plant or otherwise cause it to grow in the wild. But, as volunteers we are part of the community and it is best to take everyone’s views into account. There are plenty of other, less controversial things we can use our time and energy on.

Report written by Saul Muldoon

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