Saturday the 11th November saw Clayton West’s Cliffe Woods come to life with colour, light and people like never before. The simply entitled “Light Up The Woods” took place with the local woodlands and gardens lit up by a spectacle of lightcraft and firecraft.
The event hosted by Cliffe Woods Conservation Group stemmed from an idea originated by Upper Dearne Valley Navigators. The light from lanterns playing on the trees during an early spring BBQ gave the youth group the idea of lighting up the woods.
The concept was taken up by the Cliffe Woods Conservation Group and a Facebook Group for “Light Up The Woods” drew support from over 200 local people in just a few days.
Although originated by Navigators the project was open to all community groups in the area and saw considerable support from Kayes School, Beavers, Cubs, Mother and Toddler Groups, the local churches and other supporters.
Holmfirth community artist Barry Russell donated lanterns from his exhibition in Holmfirth and that added an impetus to the event. In the run up to “Light Up The Woods”, young people got inventive making lanterns: Some just simple card and glowstick lamps, through to larger projects the aim was to bring the community together and it garnered huge support from people across the area, from Upper Denby to Emley, people put time into making lights and lanterns for this magical moment.
Claire Westwood, from Cliffe Woods Conservation Group said, “We are overwhelmed by the participation and the number of people coming up to enjoy the woods. Hopefully more people will recognise the asset we have in Cliffe Woods and we will see its popularity growing as a result of this event.”
For Navigators, Ewan Scott added, “This has been a spectacular success. What started out as a campfire discussion grew into something that brought people together and created an event where everyone contributed to make it happen.”
Andy Wickham, Volunteer Co-ordinator, with Kirklees, who own Cliffe Woods, worked to ensure that the council would grant permission for the event, and the organisers would like to thank Andy for his support.
Merewyn Sayers from HD8 Network sponsored the event with a donation of glow sticks.
A special exhibit came from Andy Marshall, who brought along his model hot air balloon and gave a static demonstration of how the balloons work.
Made in Clayton West played a key role in co-ordinating the various participating groups. Participating groups included: All Saints’ Church, Bikeshed Digital Media, Clayton West Chorus, Children from Kaye’s First & Nursery School, Clayton West Baby & Toddler Group, Clayton West Beavers and Cubs, Joseph Norton Academy, Kidz Klub, Upper Dearne Valley Navigators with participants in the groups coming from every village in the Upper Dearne Valley – so a true community-wide event.
There are early plans for a repeat event for 2018. Anyone wishing to participate should join the Light Up The Woods Facebook Group and feel free to join the discussions, offer ideas, or even get involved with lantern making.