Dam that's good

Dicking about in the woods is good for you.

Flooding is a bummer and like the bigger issues of climate change, or people making cups of tea that are too weak, it can all get a bit overwhelming.

Surely it’s better to do something about it, rather than doom scrolling in a corner on your own?

We support the work of Slow the Flow in Calderdale. They’re a charity run by local people, who organise hands on volunteer days, building natural flood management into the local landscape.

What’s the craic then? Turn up in appropriate clothing. Build leaky dams. Meet a bunch of new people. Have a laugh doing it. Feel good about doing something positive.

I went along with this bunch of people and we achieved what you can see in the video and photos in just half a day.

10 minutes walk from our unit is Broadhead Clough Nature Reserve in Cragg Vale, not far from Hebden Bridge. You can go and have a look yourself as there are some great public footpaths passing through the woods. It’s where King David Hartley, infamous King of the Coiners lived back in the eighteenth century. (Look up the Gallows Pole, Benjamin Myers’ book and subsequent Shane Meadows TV adaptation, if you don’t know what I’m on about.)

The reserve is wet woodland, a rare form of temperate rainforest. Yes Britain does have rainforest and this one is a magical place to be in, with ancient woodland full of mosses and ferns, rocky crags and abundant wildlife.

Places like this are essential for our fresh air and clean water and they’re great for wandering, relaxing, revitalising, getting sweaty and chilling out as you go along.

Well that’s what I do. My walk to work, which I do a few times a week, takes me up over the wild moors and down through this wizardy wood. I have lots of ideas on these walks. Some of them are even good!

After posting some photos on Instagram of the volunteer day we received a fair few comments referencing beavers. Are you going to make beaver skin trousers? You should get some beavers in to make those dams. Have you heard Beaver Patrol by Pop Will Eat Itself?

Let’s face it there’s still a laugh to be had from saying beaver in the comments without being cancelled! On the other hand it shows how far we’ve come, that people know the value beavers, who we previously hunted to extinction, are contributing to British river ecosystems. However, as far as I know, the steep sided valleys in Calderdale don’t make ideal beaver habitat. Shame as I’m definitely a beaver lover.

Slow the Flow needs you

Want to get beavering about yourself? Visit www.slowtheflow.net/you-can-volunteer/ to find out more.

There’s plenty of information about what they do, where they do it and how you can get involved.

Ed's woodland gear

303 Jacket – kept me dry and warm in the rain during the work and on the 5 mile walk home over the moors.
Moleskin Fatigue Pants – warm and cosy (worn under waterproof over trousers)
Moto Boots in black. They are after all a traditional British work boot. I walk to work in these all the time. They’re tough as hell and keep the water out most of the time. My feet were damp but not wet at the end of this day of bog trotting. Probably ready for a bit of dubbin now to keep them in tip top condition.

Slow the Flow

You’ve probably seen it on the news. Hebden Bridge often gets its feet wet… with devastating effects on residents and businesses.

We made a film about Slow the Flow and the work they are contributing to minimising flooding in the Calder Valley.

Latest update: 12/10/22