Warland Farm covers around twenty acres at the head of Walsden Water. A large part of the land was wooded until the 1930s, when the trees were cleared, and the land was turned over to sheep.
However it has not been operated as a working farm for over fifty years. The average slope of the fields is around 30%. There are several springs arising above the farmhouse which increase in flow dramatically after rain. Most of the stone walls have been neglected. Landowners Monica Murtagh and David Templeman contacted the SOURCE partnership in Autumn 2011. As Monica explains:-
“As the new custodians of the farm, we wanted to ensure that the land and buildings should be brought into use in ways that restore the social value of the farm, benefit the local community and demonstrate ecological management.”
The couple received help and advice in drawing up plans to replant Warland Wood, plus an additional 7.5 acres of ash, oak, sweet chestnut, hazel and willow coppice to provide firewood and
woodland products for local artisans. Their vision sees Upper Calderdale becoming a nationally recognised centre of excellence in traditional hand-crafts, allowing it to attract specialist commissions, pass on skills through training and market high-value craft products
After an assessment process, the site was accepted into the SOURCE funding programme, because the trees will stabilise the soil and potentially reduce flooding by managing runoff from the higher eastern hillsides into Walsden Water.
Tree-planting work commenced in March 2012, under the supervision of Treesponsibility, with additional support from the Woodland Trust and the Forestry Authority. Since then over 4600 trees have been planted by volunteers from local schools and community groups. Work will continue into the Autumn, with another 6800 trees and shrubs left to plant. This will include 800 metres of blackthorn hedgerow to ensure long-term protection of the main woodlands from livestock and to provide a wildlife corridor to the canal.