The washland site in 1991
In 1989 Nippondenso (later Denso) bought the Yorkshire based company IMI Radiators to make and supply car radiators for the new Toyota factory in Burniston Derbyshire.
In extending the factory for the new production line, out of an idea from its Production Engineering Manager, Chris Lunnon, the strip pasture land adjacent to the factory and prone to flooding, was landscaped and turned into the nature reserve you will find today. The design incorporated meadow, woodland and ponds, providing the greatest suitable wildlife habitat within the three-hectare area.
Through two public meetings about the factory extension, requests were made for a consultative group of local community members to give the reserve a public voice and support. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Bradford Urban Wildlife were involved in initial consultations. The consultative group added its own ideas to the scheme, ensuring wildlife security along a section of the pond and creating a chalk meadow for anticipated introduction of Common Blue Butterfly.
This successful group was given a new look in 2005 when the 'Friends of Denso Marston Nature Reserve' group was created to make the reserve even more community friendly, and enable external funding be acquired for planned projects. There are several committee meetings and an AGM held each year, along with reserve inspections.
The good quality farmland helped to establish very healthy and quick growing woodland. Thinning has been essential to allow the creation of understory. The rotting wood from the thinning has brought in wonderful displays of fungi and created a good variety of habitat.
Pond excavation 1992
Pond completed 1992
The first guided walk 1993
Public involvement was promoted, and no better starting point was with children. All the local first and second schools in the Baildon area were invited to plant trees on the reserve in the Tree Planting weeks in 1991. It was an initial way of instigating community ownership and involvement.
One of our key aims is to provide an optimum diversity of habitat type appropriate to the riverside location. By this means the site would be become a focal point for a wide variety of fauna and provide a stimulating and varied place for people to visit.
Continual public access via the footpath leading from Otley Road was always part of the scheme. The company entered into a Section 106 Agreement with Bradford Council to ensure the security of the use of the land as a nature reserve.
Initially known as a Wildlife Park whilst reinforcing public access the name did not emphasise the fact that it was an area for native species of wildlife. The formation of the Friends Group emphasised public access and involvement so it was possible to designate the area as a nature reserve.