A community group in South Leeds have taken inspiration from history and constructed a new stone circle to stand up to the tests of time! The stones at Skelton Grange Environment Centre, in Stourton, also contain carvings of local wildlife, including a heron and a kestrel, and will provide a teaching space at the centre, as well as a calm space for visitors to enjoy and reflect. The stones were all carefully manoeuvred into place by eager volunteers from the Friends of Skelton Grange, using traditional techniques involving levers and rollers.
The completed circle has 12 stones in place, which were kindly donated to the project by Marshalls who are specialists in hard landscaping materials. Local artist Melanie Wilks carved a number of the stones, working with the natural shapes of the rock to bring local animals to life in the stone surfaces. The Conservation Volunteers led the project days to train volunteers and to ensure the work was carried out safely and will last long into the future.
“It was an interesting challenge to safely move such large stones and secure them in place only using hand tools” commented Project Officer Toby Roberts “but once people got used to the techniques we were able to move boulders that looked like they would be impossible to shift without machinery! It gives you a real insight into how some of these ancient monuments were constructed thousands of years ago – techniques that still work today! It’ll be interesting to see what people make of it in a thousand years!”
The stone circle is just one part of ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’; a project organised by the Friends of Skelton Grange. The group received a grant of £26,446.75 this year from Groundwork UK and The Big Lottery fund’s Community Spaces programme, to develop an exciting self-guided nature and discovery trail on the site at Skelton Grange Environment Centre.
“The project has been a great success, and has involved over 80 volunteers. It has given them a chance to learn a range of new practical skills, meet like minded individuals and help create something that will benefit many people in the surrounding local community,” explained volunteer Elly Robinson. “Visitors to the site have already been having lots of fun using the new pond dipping area, willow tunnel and playing tunes in the music garden.”
Practical volunteering days continue to run at Skelton Grange Environment Centre every Friday, from 10am until 3pm. If you are interested in taking part, or for any further information, please contact the centre to book your free place on 0113 2430815, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively click here for our hub page for further details on the range of opportunities available.