SCOUTS from across Huddersfield rolled up their sleeves to start reclamation work at their campsite at Whitley Beaumont.
The main target for the efforts was the beech copse at the centre of the site, possibly established by the pioneering landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
“This area had become over-run by rhododendrons which have not only made part of the site useless for camping, but also created a barrier to wildlife.
The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers had previously carried out a clearing operation, leaving stumps to be pulled out and scrub to be burned.
The team of Scouts spent their Saturday gathering and burning the scrub, and cutting back even more of the fast spreading “alien” plants.
The team helped by site warden Paul Bexon with his restored Fordson tractor pulled out stumps and grubbed out layered roots and branches.
Ewan Scott, the joint district commissioner for Huddersfield South East Scouts, who manage the site for Huddersfield Scouts explained: “Scouts originally camped here in the kitchen gardens of the old Whitley Beaumont Hall in either 1928 or 1929.
“In the early 1950s when Whitley Beaumont Estate was broken up for the final time, the 11 acres at the campsite were acquired by Huddersfield Scouts.
“The site is maintained by volunteers and has no income apart from camp fees. As a near natural site nature has its way of controlling indigenous plants, rabbits deer, squirrels tend to ensure that natural growth is controlled, but we have no native wildlife that can survive eating rhododendrons, so we are being forced to grub them out.
“In due course there are plans to replace some of the cover with indigenous species hedging plants, and to replace mature trees whose roots have been damaged by the invasive and rhododendrons.”
Anyone interested in getting involved in helping with the management of the grounds at Whitley Beaumont can contact the District Commissioners by e-mail at email@example.com, or by contacting Ewan Scott on 01484 864520.