Moorland plants put to good use

(9654362)Tracy Gray demonstrating bending willow in preparation for thatching with bracken.

(9654362)Tracy Gray demonstrating bending willow in preparation for thatching with bracken.

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SEVEN people spend an informative afternoon as part of the Friends of Ilkley Moor's Ilkley Explorers event - the thirteenth of 27 events taking place on Ilkley moor during the summer months this year

The group was shown how to make a traditional shelter using materials from the moor.

They learned the techniques of coppicing from willow trees and thatching from bracken. The shelter has many modern applications - as a fun den for children, a survival shelter, a pretty addition to gardens, or a frame for growing climbing plants.

They also learned how to use a compass, measuring the direction and the speed of the wind, and discovering natural spring water.

This activity is part of a wider educational project currently being developed by FOIM to provide people with the opportunity to learn and rediscover how to use natural materials on Ilkley Moor for practical purposes.

The exercise took what is seen as a difficult management issue - the control of bracken - and making it into a local resource.

Project Officer ,Tracy Gray, said: “ it is hoped that once the educational project is up and running and people see the great things that can be done with bracken; local people will adopt their bracken patch,cut it and use it for useful things in their garden and at the same time help manage this very difficult to control plant."

Information about future events can be downloaded from the Friends website or collected from Ilkley Information Office and also in shops and cafes in the town.

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