Forgotten Dewsbury woodland back on the map thanks to volunteers

A once-forgotten woodland between Dewsbury and Batley is now firmly back on the map thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers.

By Martin Shaw
Sunday, 31st January 2021, 7:00 am
Woodland between Dewsbury and Batley
Woodland between Dewsbury and Batley

Lockdown in 2020 proved the perfect time for the restoration of Caulms Wood which sits high on a slope at Crackenedge, overlooking Dewsbury town centre.

A former quarry, Caulms Wood played a big role in Dewsbury’s history when an anti-aircraft barrage was situated at the northern end of the wood near to the ginnel leading to Grasmere Road. Stone from the quarry even helped build some of Dewsbury’s fine Victorian buildings.

The woodland had been largely forgotten about and neglected until volunteers formed the Friends of Caulms Wood and set about tidying it up.

The pandemic meant volunteers had plenty of time on their hands and they worked tirelessly throughout 2020 to ensure the woodland is ready to accept visitors in 2021 when the weather and restrictions allow.

Mellisa Dean, who chairs the Friends of Caulms Wood, described the restoration as a “little ray of hope.”

The improvement work started with the pyramid structure at the Leeds Road entrance to the park. The pyramid was created in 1985 when Caulms Wood was designated a Festival Park.

In recent years it had fallen into disrepair and tiles were missing. Dewsbury East Labour councillor Eric Firth funded the replacement of the missing tiles after hearing about the good work the volunteers were doing.

Holmfirth-based ceramics artist Jim Robison faithfully re-created the 35-year-old tiles.

Along with the pyramid, the old rose garden was transformed into an outdoor classroom for all the community to use, especially those schools with little to no outdoor green space.

Mellisa said the Friends of Caulms Wood were keen to give all children an outdoor experience which really helps with their learning and development.

“The Friends of Caulms Wood hope to change the perception of the park and bring families from all communities in Batley and Dewsbury back into the space as soon as it’s safe to do so,” she added.

Caulms Wood has stunning long-distance views and is criss-crossed with public footpaths including the Kirklees Way.