Moss Valley

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Hazelhurst CSA > Moss Valley
Hazelhurst CSA

The Moss Valley is the closest farm land to Heeley-Meersbrook and it's where Hazelhurst CSA is planning on setting up a Community Supported Agriculture project.

See the valley on Google Maps.

See the Heeley to Hazelhurst Walk for information about a walk to the Moss Valley planned for Saturday 23rd January 2010.

There was an idea to set up a Community Land Trust to buy some land and rent it to a Community Supported Agriculture project but the current plan is that Hazelhurst CSA will buy the land and also be a Community Land Trust.


Possible Site

View from the top of the field, looking across the Moss Valley.
View from the bottom of the field looking up.

Photos from the bottom and top of a field that might be for sale in the Moss Valley:

Ideas for the site

The CSA meeting held on 6th May 2009 came up with the following ideas for the site, these have been extracted from the notes from the meeting:

  • Vegetables
  • Soft fruit
  • Fruit trees
  • Nut trees
  • Bee hives
  • Herbs
  • Forest garden
  • Native trees
  • Ducks
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Polytunnel
  • Composting toilet
  • Storage/packing shed
  • Pavillion/shelter
  • Water storage tanks
  • Wind turbine
  • Play area
  • Parking space
  • Borehole
  • Workshop
  • Compost heaps
  • Plant nursery
  • Camping space
  • Butterfly & bee garden
  • Straw bale building
  • And a horse

Moss Valley / Lightwood Lane site visit

On 12th May 2009 there was a site visit which reported:

About 10 of us visited the 2 fields off Lightwood Lane which are being considered for a possible CSA project. These notes are particularly focused on what I gleaned from Darrel Maryon’s experienced appraisal of the site.


2 fields, first field by the lane, 3 acres, SE facing, second field, 9 acres south facing. Good aspect for growing. Would need hedges for wind breaks

Soil quality

We dug several trial holes –see photos

Soil from trial hole in field
Soil from trial hole in adjacent woodland

Clay-“A challenge to work” heavy in any rain and dries out-like brick when dry. In parts grey “gley” soil-ie waterlogged-but only in patches. Land drains and slope would ensure adequate drainage.

No humic layer-artificial fertilisers have destroyed any soil structure. No worms to be found! (Except at woodland edge where brown earth with worms) Darrel’s opinion-would need loads of organic material eg deep rooted green manure for first year. Perhaps some deep chisel ploughing as well. Plus farm manure—(pig farm next door-but don’t know what chemical and hormones involved....)

(Manure tips...pig manure good for potatoes, horse manure quick acting but not last, cow manure vica versa)-

So, time and inputs before veg production


No piped water supply and pond not big enough for supply

Veg very water hungry. Huw got estimate for a bore hole £8,000 to £10,000

Planning and structures

Talked with farmer-it is difficult to get permission for structures –may get away with ½ acre of polytunnels –dealing with Chesterfield. Helps to say new structure relevant to create or maintain jobs.

Darell estimate £20,000 for polytunnels

Wild life and aesthetics

Great views and high quality mixed woodland (out growing hedgerows) around fields with blue bell bank at top

Blue bell bank at top

Person power and vision

One farmer per acre for veg growing.(ie 12 F/T farmers to maximise site!) So big project. Darrel suggests would need an experienced grower to be involved from the start working closely and advising steering group. Suggests need to advertise outside Sheffield. Obviousely need to draw up sequential plan based on growing potential of site and ways to restore soil quality. Once land in our ownership we would have to manage- this could include could leasing out bits eg for horse grazing..Also, clear it would be a year at least before land productive.

Different times of year different labour requirements; harvesting August/September, need lots of help. Autumn also busy time for planting.

Also different outputs -always a hungry time between Feb and July, Some CSAs just produce 7 months of the year.


Aesthetically pleasing site with potential but daunting scale of task – improving soil quality, engaging experienced farmer/grower at outset, scale of site, infra-structure and planning permission, accessibility to Heeley/Meersbrook

  • Farmer in no hurry to sell-definitely not until September-next grass cut, so time to;
  • explore other sites
  • see other initiatives (eg a visit to CSA project outside Leeds)
  • develop model for a land trust
  • explore aprop model of CSA
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