Calderdale’s First Community-owned Nature Reserve

by Bridestones Rewilded CIC in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Calderdale’s First Community-owned Nature Reserve

Total raised £37,059

£55,000 target 19 days left
67% 358 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th June 2024 at 11:00pm

Our vision is to create a community-owned nature reserve in one of Yorkshire’s most exceptional wild places.

by Bridestones Rewilded CIC in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Climate change and the loss of biodiversity threatens every part of our planet. But it is something we can address by acting locally.


A Special Landscape Area with a Unique History

Bridestones Moor is an important heritage site, notable for its many weird-shaped stones standing on an escarpment overlooking the Calder Valley. It is thought that the stones were worshipped by Ancient Britons in veneration of the spirits that reside within them. The goddess Brigit was central to the culture of the Brigantes, whose empire was centred here at the heart of the Pennines in the pre-Roman Iron Age. 

The Brigantian culture is represented to this day by a very improbable central stone standing upside down like an upturned bottle on Bridestones Moor: Brigit the “Bride” herself, the Great Earth Mother of the ancients. This landscape was made famous by Ted Hughes, in his poem “Bridestones”, which features in “Remains of Elmet”. The view of the landscape from this outcrop of rocks is truly magnificent in all directions, but the area is under threat due to unsympathetic land management. We want to save this special place for everyone to enjoy in perpetuity. This is what our crowdfunder is all about.

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Help Us to Support Wildlife

Bridestones Moor is a hotspot for rare animals and plants. Curlew, lapwing, red grouse, golden plover and other endangered bird species breed here in the spring. Four species of owls regularly hunt over the peatlands, along with the occasional red kite, hen harrier and peregrine falcon (Photo credit: Andrew Tilsley). 

Sphagnum mosses and cotton grass grow here, which are essential plants for the healthy functioning of the peat bog, and for locking-in carbon which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. 

But the habitat has been seriously degraded by centuries of hard grazing, threatening the plants on which the ecosystem depends for its existence. We will reverse this decline, by enhancing the environment to enable the unique moorland plants and animals to survive. This will be good for nature and good for the local community. With your help we can preserve this special place for everyone to visit and enjoy. 

Who We Are and What We Want to Do

We are Bridestones Rewilded, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. We are a professional group of naturalists, ecologists and members of the local community with diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences, united by our love for nature and passionate about ensuring as many people from all walks of life can enjoy and benefit from nature just as we do. We have come together to realize our vision for Bridestones Moor. To restore the land for nature and for people. 

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We will enhance biodiversity, so once again Bridestones Moor teems with wildlife and we will create opportunities for all to become closer to nature, through nature-based educational activities and volunteering opportunities. Our objectives are heartily supported by the local community and Calderdale Council.

Conservation Priorities

Peatlands are carbon-rich wetlands that occupy only 3% of the global land surface, but store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Peat is hugely important to the environment, acting as a major carbon store and as a flood controller. Bridestones is a peat bog, but it has been degraded over decades by draining the land to support intensive agriculture. We can reverse this trend by re-wetting the land to ensure that carbon is locked in, mitigating against climate change and recreating a wild and wonderful landscape supporting many species.

Nature-based education

Our beautiful moors are wonderful, essential places and we want everyone to be inspired by this vitally important landscape. Our job is to help people understand why protecting them is important. We will arrange nature-based activities for everyone in the local community. This will include activities such as birdwatching, moth breakfasts, plant identification, keeping a nature diary, and citizen science projects. 1711977889_picture4.jpg

We will ask people to record information about moorland plants and animals that they spot while they’re out and about, using a mobile App for this purpose. Encouraging people to get together in citizen science projects develops relationships and understanding amongst local communities as well as collecting useful data  for our project. 

Community Engagement

The great outdoors is good for the mind, creating a sense of well-being, an opportunity for developing new skills, fostering engagement with others and increasing self-esteem. There will be opportunities for volunteering throughout all phases of our project, from the initial baseline surveys, through planting out sphagnum plugs, blocking drainage gullies and maintaining footpaths, stiles and fences. We will improve access to the reserve for all members of the community so everyone can enjoy the wonderful landscape. This will involve the re-design of gateways and making paths on the site more user friendly.

Why do we need your help?

The total cost of this project delivered over 5 years is £775,000. The biggest upfront cost is the purchase of the land, stamp duty and legal fees which amounts to £357,000. We are asking for your help to raise £55,000 towards the purchase the land, so that we can secure the site quickly. The rest of the funds will be raised from charities and philanthropic donors, who have offered to match crowdfunded pledges. Therefore, your contributions will really make a big difference!

Project benefits 

Bridestones Rewilded will:

  • increase awareness of a locally important heritage site
  • support recovery of declining species including curlew and lapwing
  • capture carbon and mitigate the impact of climate change
  • reduce flood risk downstream in the village of Todmorden
  • improve access for Disabled people
  • provide an open-air classroom for nature-based educational activities
  • create volunteering opportunities, fostering engagement with others
  • recreate a wilder place where we come together to breathe fresh air and admire magnificent views

This project contributes to many local and national strategies, including:

  • National 25 Year Environment Plan and Environmental Improvement Plan, including ‘30x30’, protecting 30% of land for nature and improving adaptation to climate change, 
  • UK Government’s 2030 Strategic Framework for International Climate and Nature Action
  • The Wilder Calderdale Partnership
  • Natural flood management "Slow the Flow"

FAQs

How else can I get involved?

Please tell everyone you know about this Crowdfunder and about Bridestones. Only by telling the story of Bridestones will we achieve our shared goal. You could also visit our website here to sign up as a volunteer, or visit our Facebook page here to share content with others

How much do you need to raise? 

The landowner has agreed on a price of £350,000 to acquire the site.

How will you raise the money?

This Crowdfunder is a fantastic way of allowing many people across our region to contribute to the funds required to purchase the site. However we realise that we will require further funding from other sources and we have a team of people working on this separately. If you have expertise in this field or suggestions do get in touch - [email protected]

What happens if the project doesn't reach its funding goal?

We will obviously be working incredibly hard to acquire Bridestones Moor. If however for some reason the project is unable to complete, your contribution will be refunded minus any crowdfunder fees.

How can we follow the progress of your project?

If you would like to receive regular updates on the progress we are making towards the purchase of Bridestones, please make sure you sign up to our newsletter on our website here

How secure is my payment and personal information? 

By using this Crowdfunder platform we can ensure your information is highly secure. Crowdfunder use industry-standard technology to safeguard all transactions.

Is there a minimum or maximum donation amount?

In short no, minimum donation on Crowdfunder is £1 and there is no maximum. Please give generously as this will help us reach the goal sooner. 

Can I donate anonymously?

Yes, Crowdfunder allows you to contribute anonymously if you prefer. You can choose whether to display your name publicly or keep it private.

What happens if the project exceeds its funding goal?

There is of course the ongoing management of Bridestones Moor that will cost the community beyond the purchase price of the site. Any money raised beyond the funding goal will go towards restoring and maintaing the site for all to enjoy.

What if you only manage to purchase the site but can't afford to run it?

Once the site has been purchased we have identified several income streams to fund its restoration. We will also be able to apply for grants to support us on ongoing costs such as public liability insurance.


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