CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect Silsden’s countryside are stepping-up their efforts.

A packed programme of activities is planned throughout the spring and summer.

Events will be kicked-off next month with a visit to Silsden by well-known naturalist and author, Mark Cocker.

On Saturday, March 14, he will accompany members of the fast-growing Silsden Campaign for the Countryside group on a fact-finding walk.

They will cross fields and follow footpaths which the group says are threatened by housing expansion because of their ‘reserved land’ status under the current Urban Development Plan.

And then later that day, at 5pm, Mr Cocker will address a public meeting in Silsden Town Hall – posing the question ‘Can We Save Our Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?’

Campaign chairman, Mark Wogden, said: “Mark Cocker’s theme for the day could not be more timely – and we will certainly learn a great deal from his expertise.

“We have already seen large-scale habitat loss and rapidly diminishing numbers of iconic species, including lapwings, curlews, butterflies and amphibians.

“We simply cannot continue to destroy our vital bio-diversity, neither should we steal from future generations all the joys and health benefits of our wonderful local landscape.”

Campaigners have also linked-up with the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), which is to provide training workshops covering environmental, planning and campaign issues.

In addition, supporters have been invited to take part in a regional Countryside Conversation event in April, when a variety of groups will share their countryside stories, strategies and successes.

Meanwhile, the campaign committee is putting the final touches to a new website, the production of leaflets to be distributed to every household, and a fundraising drive.

Tickets for the Mark Cocker public meeting are now on sale at Twiggs newsagents – in Kirkgate ­– or will be available on the door, priced £6.

The town hall will open at 4.15pm, when drinks and homemade cakes will be served.

As well as penning a number of books, Norfolk-based Mr Cocker has also written extensively for magazines – including BBC Wildlife ­– and national newspapers, and contributes regularly to BBC Radio Four.

The CPRE says everybody has “the right to enjoy a countryside that promotes a healthier economy and a happier community”.

Over the years it has successfully campaigned on a number of issues, including for the introduction of charges for plastic bags and against fracking.

For further information about the CPRE and its work, visit