Ilkley Moor: Campaign wages war on moor bracken

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The Friends of Ilkley Moor have waged war on a green invader.

The group is set to spend thousands of pounds in a bid to stop bracken taking over the lower slopes of the beauty spot.

The members are set to spend £10,000 to improve public access where overgrown bracken is encroaching on footpaths.

A specialist helicopter will be drafted in to spray herbicide on selected areas of the moor.

John Stidworthy, chairman of the Friends of Ilkley Moor, said: “We are hoping that the chemical will destroy a large area of the bracken, and that the money will be well spent by the Friends.

“We will not know for sure until next year when the bracken comes up - or we hope does not.

“Various permissions have been obtained from Natural England to ensure that there is no loss of biodiversity.

“In fact there is evidence that the removal of the bracken should improve the biodiversity over time.”

Spraying will start next month and walkers will be kept informed with public notifications.

The group and landowner Bradford Council have said they will endeavour to ensure there will be minimum disruption while work is being carried out.

Former chairman Owen Wells said the Friends of Ilkley Moor gained “few results” in pushing for bracken clearing on the popular walking areas of the moor.

Thousands of tourists and walkers flock to Ilkley Moor.

Nearly 325 million years ago the moor was part of a sea level swampy area fed by winding river channels from the north.

The moor is famous as the inspiration for Yorkshire’s very own county anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at.