Northern customers passing through Brighouse station can now enjoy a leisurely stroll through a newly established wildlife garden, thanks to the tireless efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers who spent nearly two years crafting it.

The former goods yard and railway siding have undergone a remarkable transformation, courtesy of a 15-strong team from the Friends of Brighouse Station. Armed with determination, they tackled the task of clearing overgrown trees and litter, meticulously weeding the area, and constructing raised beds filled with drought-resistant plants. Utilising recycled timber sourced from an old fence at Platform 1, they laid down a woodchipped path to complete the picturesque scene.

Additionally, a triangular bed boasting ornamental red and blue grasses, along with an assortment of flowers, now adorns the space. To foster biodiversity, the volunteers also planted 15 square meters of wildflower turf, inviting insects, bees, and birds to inhabit the area.

Having invested over 600 hours since commencing the project in July 2022, the volunteers proudly unveiled their creation during a recent ceremony at the train station, operated by Northern.

Dubbed the Climate Change Garden, its design prioritises low maintenance and minimal watering requirements.

In recognition of their efforts on this garden and two other projects – featuring a striking floral display and captivating community artwork from Calderdale College students – the volunteer group was honoured with a Gold Award at the 2024 Community Rail Awards in Swansea earlier this week.

Paul Marshall, chair of the Friends of Brighouse Station, said “Volunteers have worked through the summer sun, winter frost, and rainy periods to complete this worthy project.

“Thank you to our volunteers, Northern, and local businesses for their support.”

He added: “The more I look at it, the prouder I am. We don’t do it to win prizes, we do it because we like it and want to make the station look nice for the people who use it.

“It cheers people up and makes them smile.”

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern in Yorkshire, Humberside and the East Midlands, said: “We’re hugely grateful to Friends of Brighouse Station who have transformed an area filled with overgrown trees and bushes into a fantastic wildlife garden for our customers to enjoy.

“We hope some of our customers, who use this station to make more than 320,000 journeys a year, will get time to take a stroll through the garden and appreciate all of the volunteers’ hard work.”

She added: “We work closely with hundreds of adoption groups across our network to keep our stations tidy for customers and enhance their appearance.”