Volunteers win Heritage Lottery grant to research the history of Meltham railway line

A project to research the history of a local branch railway line has won a �49,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery

Heritage money

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) uses money raised through the National Lottery, to back a wide range of projects that aim to restore and maintain for future generations, important milestones in our history.

The grants are used to support museums, parks and historic places as well as archaeology, the natural environment and cultural traditions. Up to �364 million has been given to 2,729 projects in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Friends of Beaumont Park in Huddersfield have been given �49,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to research the history of Meltham branch railway line. Research will be carried out by pupils from local schools including infants as well as academy pupils.

The old railway line will also be cleared of sycamores and rhododendrons which have overgrown the track since its closure in 1965 as well as 46 years of leaf mould to create a heritage walking trail with informationboards, for everyone to use.

The railway line runs through woodland on the lower slopes of Beaumont Park and once linked Huddersfield to the town of Meltham three miles away. It branched from the main Huddersfield - Sheffield line.

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Kirklees Council, as owners of the site, is supporting the project with helpfrom various departments and volunteers are working with the Friendsof Beaumont Park and Environmental Alliance to create an attractive openspace for everyone to use.

Peter Turner, chair of Friends of Beaumont Park, said: ‘We are delightedto have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this projectwhich involves all local schools, the Friends of Beaumont Park, Environmental Alliance and Kirklees Council in a project which will effectively be an extension of the area for the benefit all the local community and will encourage more people to visit this historic park.’

Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, added: ‘People often associate Huddersfield with its mill industry but the town has a wealth of parks and green spaces. We are thrilled to be able to support the dedicated Friends of Beaumont Park to research and record the history of the Meltham railway branch line and associated woodland, involve volunteers and schools in practical woodland management skills, and promote awareness of the natural heritage of the area.’

The railway line opened for freight traffic, carrying coal and lime, in 1868;a passenger service began the following year. The line closed in April 1965 although its last passenger service ended its run in 1949.

Beaumont Park is Huddersfield’s oldest park and is Grade II listed. It isnationally recognised as an important Victorian Park and stands on the south west edge of town. The park opened in 1883 and covers more than 20 acres which include woodland walks, cascades, grottos, cliffs and a recently opened a bandstand closely based on an original demolished many years ago. Friends of Beaumont Park, formed by volunteersmore than 10 years ago, are no strangers to fundraising and restoration projects.

They have been working tirelessly to repair and revive different areas of the award-winning park. To find out more go to fobp.co.uk.



The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012  issue of Yorkshire Life 

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