By Andy Hirst

A major scheme is underway to restore an old millpond in the centre of Slaithwaite … but it will cost around £120,000.

The millpond is next to the Aldi supermarket but hidden from view and over the years all kinds of junk has been thrown in there and it’s become derelict and badly overgrown.

A dedicated group of volunteers called the Friends of Slaithwaite Millpond have now started work to clear it and have plans to fully restore the millpond and reconnect it to the nearby River Colne.

They are now seeking advice from environmental experts on how best to restore the millpond while protecting the wildlife, flora and fauna.

The millpond used to be connected to the River Colne to provide hydropower to mills and also helped to prevent flooding.

That ended many decades ago, leaving the millpond badly neglected. The area around it has several landowners so restoring it will be a complex task.

Friends of Slaithwaite Millpond spokesman Keith Anderson said: “The millpond is in dire need of remedial works. The main issue is a distinct lack of water.

“As an industrial asset it has long been obsolete and obsolescence invariably leads to neglect. We want to transform it into something the village can be proud of again.”

The millpond is split into two and the first aim is to clear the lower millpond – work which has already begun. It has previously been fished by members of Slaithwaite and District Angling Club and the hope is that they will return once the pond is restored.

Keith added: “Our first priority is to secure the cooperation and support of the numerous landowners and those with a vested interest in preserving both the local heritage and natural resource the millpond offers.

“We are on a steep learning curve with this. We have and will continue to seek expert advice and opinion every step of the way.”

The Friends of Slaithwaite Millpond want anyone who can help to join the group. As the scheme progresses it will need ecological, fish and water quality surveys.

The group is supported by the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting local watercourses, habitats and biodiversity.

The main work that needs doing on Slaithwaite millpond includes:

·         Applying for funding

·         Removing rubbish from the lower millpond

·         Digging out silt and clearing foliage from the upper millpond

·         Repairing the sluice gate between the two millponds

·         Getting water back into the upper millpond

·         Connecting the millpond to a weir now clogged with silt and eventually reconnecting it to the River Colne

·         Clearing the silt from the lower millpond and repairing the sluice gates

·         Setting up floating foliage bed islands to encourage birds to nest, planters to replace pondside flora and creating safe havens for fish breeding

For more information on the group go to its website or Facebook at

* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting.