BURTON ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP
About the Burton Environmental Group
When the Burton Environment Group began in 2004 its aims were, among others: to conserve, improve and manage the physical and natural environment of Kirkburton and Highburton, and also to preserve the cultural heritage of the two villages.
Slightly ambitious as it turns out! But the sentiments are even more vital in 2019. Back then, Kirklees was effectively the owner of all the things we were talking about. Of-course it still is. But then it had staff and resources to match the responsibilities of that ownership. Kirklees would be the first to admit that we are now living in a very different world. Local authorities are increasingly looking to local people to look after the green spaces and sites of cultural significance in their own areas. With the unspoken message in the background: ‘Use them or lose them’.
Our two villages are a great place to live with so much countryside to admire, green spaces to wander in and so many buildings stamped with the character of generation after generation of inhabitants. That is the good news. The bad news is that it all needs a bit of looking after. Well, actually, it isn’t so bad because BEG members would argue that getting on with the job is enjoyable, rewarding and good exercise. That’s when you’ve got some time, there are enough of you and you can see what a difference you’ve made. What we’ve been doing recently in the Memorial Garden, Town Quarry and Burton Dean Park are good examples.
The companionship is all-important: we’re a pretty friendly bunch, there’s always someone around who knows what they’re doing and nobody is expected to do anything that they’re not happy with. The range of jobs provide something to suit most people with gardening (planting, weeding, pruning, grass-cutting), routine maintenance (litter picking, path sweeping, fence repairs) and construction (drystone walling and path laying). Some volunteers work in groups on regular workdays and others get on with an agreed task when they can fit the time in. What’s more we’ve had a sizeable increase in our numbers over the last three years.
We had a huge lift when we completed the Memorial Garden Project for last November. The turnout on Armistice Day was deeply moving as was the participation of so many schools and community groups. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly what a few people can achieve when they put their backs into the job. In 2019 we will complete our second renovation of Burton Dean Park as well as ambitious projects in Town Quarry and the Community Fields.
If our aims at the beginning of this piece still sound a bit over-optimistic then maybe think of BEG this way: you can get in your car and travel a long way to find a place half as nice as the one right here on your doorstep; we humans rarely appreciate what’s right there in our own backyards. And there’s a lot to be said for having a backyard to be proud of – especially when you’ve helped to make it that way!