Defending Harrogate beauty spot for 15 years

Many Harrogate people have joined Pinewoods Conservation Group as volunteers over the last 15  years. This picture shows just some of them.
Many Harrogate people have joined Pinewoods Conservation Group as volunteers over the last 15 years. This picture shows just some of them.

One of Harrogate’s most active community groups is launching a ‘Pinewoods Rocks’ project as part of celebrations to mark its 15th anniversary.

Since it first formed in October 2002, the Pinewoods Conservation Group has been promoting the maintenance and conservation of the environment of what is one one Harrogate’s best-loved and most beautiful green spaces.
But changing times have meant the role of this registered charity has grown and widened in recent years.
In a critical time for new housing developments, business expansions and local plans, the work of the PCG have evolved beyond its origins of building footpaths and erecting information boards to become a powerful defender against development in the wooded area between the Valley Gardens and Harlow Carr Garden.
But the group has always prided itself on getting families to enjoy the beauty of the Pinewoods and its anniversary plans have been designed to reflect that.
To mark its official birthday on January 30 - PCG was formally given charity status at that date in 2003 - Pinewoods Rocks will be launched this Saturday.
The idea is to invite residents and visitors into the woods between now and its official birthday to find where a number of painted rocks have been hidden.
PCG secretary Lucy Hind said “We were made aware of people painting rocks for others to find elsewhere in the country and thought it was a great idea.
“We are always encouraging people to visit and enjoy The Pinewoods and hope this initiative will encourage even more visitors over the winter months.”
People are also being encouraged to paint and hide their own rocks adding “Pinewoods Rocks” and their name to the stones.
And participants are being asked to share images of themselves and rocks online.

Challenging development threats & planting flowers
Pinewoods Conservation Group has never wanted to be seen as a protest group and is as proud of planting thousands of wild flowers as much as its role in planning battles.
Neil Hind, chair of the group, said “As well as major improvements within the woods themselves, substantial efforts have been made in raising the profile of the group and challenging development threats.
“The charity has gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years. Our fundraising work has been very successful with the group operating in a more business-like approach across the board,
“The committee remains as strong and committed as ever to conserve and improve the Pinewoods for future generations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have served on the committee plus all the members.”
The group’s popular Halloween Walk is also set to return on Saturday, October 28.