A MAJOR community campaign is being launched to help transform the river Holme which runs for eight miles from Holmbridge to Huddersfield.
The aim of the campaign is to clean up the river and, where possible, provide or improve riverside access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Campaigners are now seeking to raise thousands of pounds in a public fund-raising appeal.
The aim of River2015 is to make improvements along its route, which takes in Honley, Holme and Holmfirth, starting by recruiting 2,015 people to donate £20.15, £201.50 or £2,015.
The project will be launched with an exhibition in Holmfirth Market Hall from Thursday October 30 to Saturday November 1, which will tell the history of the river and its ecology, and ask the public what improvements they want to see.
Adrian Barraclough, of Holme Valley Vision, which is organising the campaign, said: “The river is the reason Holmfirth and all the other settlements are here. The river has given us our history and our prosperity – and yet for decades it has been neglected.
“We have had some success recently galvanising volunteers to clean up the river, but we need to build on that and make a real difference to the valley.
“We may start with simple things like removing the invasive weeds along the banks, painting the railings beside the river in the centre of Holmfirth and putting up information boards, but this is a long-term campaign and it would be fantastic if we could, for example, create a footpath that follows the river all the way through the valley.”
River2015 will build on the success of River90, which raised about £2,000 in 1990 and led to a range of improvements to the river and surrounding area, including the creation of tiles made by school students that can be seen in the walkway wall in the Old Burial Ground beside the post office.
The exhibition in the upper tier of the Market Hall will have displays of old photographs of the river, including the flood of 1944 and the mills that were once the powerhouse of industry in the valley.
There will also be information about the animal and plant life in the river, which has a healthy population of fish, particularly trout, and birds, including heron and kingfisher.
People visiting the exhibition will be able to see proposals being considered by Holme Valley Vision and make suggestions themselves.
Mr Barraclough added: “The river is there for everyone – walkers, anglers, local people and visitors. It is the lifeblood of the valley and can literally breathe new life into the communities along it. That might be by giving people somewhere to go for walk or giving visitors a reason to stay longer.”
The exhibition in the Market Hall will be open from 9am to 5pm on Thursday and from 9 am to 7.30 pm on Friday, and from 9am to 4pm on Saturday. Email the campaign at River2015@btinternet.com