Woodland Heritage project recruits horse power to help slow the flow in Calderdale

In the challenge to address flooding in the Calder Valley, a local charity, Slow the Flow Calderdale, has turned to traditional horse power with the help of the Celebrating our Woodland Heritage Project.

The Project is promoting traditional woodland management and pioneering experimental archaeology in the South Pennines. Pennine Prospects has received a grant of £400,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Celebrating our Woodland Heritage Project thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Peter Coates and his working horse, Nathan, have been working in Hardcastle Crags, ancient woodland managed by the National Trust upstream of Hebden Bridge which was so dramatically impacted by the floods of December 2015. Working with volunteers from the Slow the Flow Calderdale charity and National Trust rangers, Nathan has been moving timber into position to create ‘woody debris dams’ that slow the flow of water into the Hebden Water.


“Traditional techniques and knowledge of woodland heritage can be used to address contemporary issue such as flooding in the Calder Valley. We know that each dam only has a small impact but over the 66 hectares of National Trust woodland in this valley and across the whole catchment the work here could reduce the height and cost of walls in our communities downstream. Moreover, the work we are doing here helps improve water quality and managing woods is good for those plants and animals that thrive in the open space in our woodland.”

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