Hookstone Woods is a very popular area of Harrogate and is receiving some attention to make it even more usable.
Over 350m of paths in Hookstone Woods are being covered with limestone to make them less boggy to use. The area is one of the best walking areas in the town, enhanced by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) allowing public ise of car parking land, land that was previously a golf course.
The council has worked with the Hookstone and Stonefall Action Group (HSAG) to help maintain and enhance Stonefall Park and Hookstone Woods, running regular volunteer sessions such as wildflower planting, tree planting, litter picks and putting up fencing.
Along with the paths, other work has included replacing the old fencing around the ponds, balsam bashing and planting trees at Stonefall Park
The £4500 funding for the work on the paths in Hookstone Woods has come partly from the council directly, and HSAG also put in a successful bid to HBC’s small grants fund.
Edna Barker of the HSAG said:
There used to be a very active group of “Friends of Hookstone Woods” which slowly ceased to function a few years ago. They were responsible for the creation of the Willow Bridge and we are trying to rejuvenate it.
In 2015 some local residents got together to form a group with the aim of improving and maintaining both Hookstone Woods and Stonefall/Panhandle Parks which had never had much community input.
We are a fairly small group who have occasional work days at both sites and looked at what we feel would benefit the areas.
As a voluntary group we have been able to access some small monies to help with these projects.
We have done litter picks and balsam bashing at both sites. In Panhandle Park the play park had 2 gates but only one footpath, so we managed to get a new path so that the families did not have to walk through the mud. in Stonefall Park we have done fence repairs and created a wildflower area.
A survey of the flowering plants showed an amazing number of species. In conjunction with Harrogate Lions we planted 100 trees to celebrate the centenary of Lions.
We are currently working on producing an information board on the history of the brickworks and old railway line which were the antecedents to Stonefall Park.
We were concerned that in hookstone Wood the paths were becoming very wide as people tried to avoid the mud, thereby reducing the general vegetation which is already limited by the density of mature trees.
We have therefore split this footpath surfacing into several phases, hoping to find some funding for each stage.
Future plans, if funding is available, would see more improvement to the paths, and to drainage and biodiversity at both Stonefall Park and Hookstone Woods.