Around Carleton

Millenium Wood
(Contributed by Sue Wrathmell on 19th February 2016 for publication in the Carleton Courier).

For the Carleton Umbrella, 19th February 2016 

Carleton’s ‘Millennium Wood’

When you drive to the top of Park Lane and turn left towards Lothersdale and Cross Hills, you will shortly notice on the right a track (a public bridleway to Lothersdale) and Scots pine trees at the point of a triangular clump of young trees on the roadsideacross from Tow Top. This is our very own Millennium Wood, the product of Carleton Millennium Association’s ‘Conservation Group’ which looked into environmental projects to mark the year 2000 in our parish. 

Some background to the site.

The Conservation Group wanted to plant trees and, in 1998, as no ground was available close to the village, it came to the notice of members of the Millennium Association and we made enquiries about ownership. Enquiries at the time and still continuing helped us to know more about the history of the plot, a ‘small allotment’ known as ‘Quaker Piece’ and left unenclosed when moorland was taken into agricultural use in 1873. It was declared common land in 1975. 

The planting

The ground is very rough, being cut into by an old quarry and by more recent machine-dug deep gullies intended to prevent wheeled vehicles being parked on it. The first tree planting was on January 23rd, 2000 and after long delays because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak restrictions we continued in June 2001.  A trip to water the young trees resulted in a downpour the following day… and fencing for the whole triangle was decided on in July, using grants from Craven DC Community Fund, the International Tree Foundation, and Carleton Mm Association.  We were unable to get a grant for further work, a hardstanding to allow a car onto part of the site, because no proof of ownership.

The trees

Over two hundred trees were planted: our yew in the centre, and scots pine, oak, ash, alder, maple, hazel, birch, blackthorn, hawthorn, rowan, beech, lime, elder, holly, and a juniper. Some, along with daffodils, are dedicated to individuals involved in the Wood’s planning.

I wrote the following ‘tongue-in-cheek’ report for the Parish News in 2002:

‘Planting the Stone’- setting up the Carleton Millennium Wood plaque- Sunday 27th October at 11.30am 

The sleet and wind did not abate for this celebration of the end of almost four years of work by the Carleton Millennium Association’s  Conservation Group! The stone, an old gate-post fragment from the village, has a small brass plaque engraved with the words ‘Carleton-in-Craven Millennium Wood AD 2000’.  It was transported up to the site on the previous afternoon, thankfully in fine weather, and manoeuvred into place by Steve Claxton and John Wrathmell. 

On Sunday morning, a tot of sloe gin was offered to the hardy supporters as they arrived.  Twenty-three people braved the cold, most from the village but a notable arrival was Bob Preece and other representatives of the International Tree Foundation, major supporters of our efforts. In view of the inclement weather, Sue Wrathmell, chair of the Conservation Group limited her 75-minute monologue on the historical, environmental, and social significance of trees, the Millennium celebrations and the development of Carleton parish, to the following:  ‘Since the first trees were put in at the beginning of 2000 we have enjoyed several planting sessions here, and 200 trees are now in the ground, most of them oaks, and one is our own Millennium yew.  Our records show the names of over 50 people involved in this project, and to all of them the Group says a hearty ‘thankyou’.  No-one could hear her.  A leaflet with illustrations of the leaves and habit of most of the trees was given as a souvenir and future reference for those expecting to return on finer days.  Volunteers then staggered forward to lever the stone upright and level the ground around-  watched with some amusement and chattering [of teeth] by the remainder.  Everyone was given two snowdrop bulbs with the invitation to return to plant them or enjoy them at home as a reminder of our momentous day.  Several chose to plant them in the loose soil around the stone.

Group photographs were taken; a few may be printable! 

The Carleton Millennium Association’s Conservation Group is grateful to the Craven District Council for a Community Chest Grant for the work which included fencing, a gate, and levelling an access path.