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CEL home > News and Archive > Bradford Diocese > Dalehead

Re-opening of 'Wind Turbine Church'

A church powered by a new wind turbine was officially re-opened and rededicated by the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd David James, on Sunday 16 July.

Tosside Parish's Dalehead Church in the Forest of Bowland runs its heating and lighting with a wind turbine that was installed at the end of last year when the church underwent major renovation.

Dalehead may be the second to have a wind-turbine but it isn't the first, St John's Newsholme has had a wind-turbine for about 25 years and it powers the Church and the farm including the milking palour!

St John's Newsholme may be an interesting church to follow up since they have a very good Rogation Service each year: states: Newsholme Church was originally a chapel of ease to Keighley Parish Church, and became part of the Parish of Oakworth ... Revd Tom Allen Tel: 01535 648496

Dalehead Church now serves as both a wayside Chapel and Heritage Centre with displays showing the past life of the Upper Hodder Valley. The graveyard is also a Biological Heritage Site with over 130 different species of upland meadow plants.

The pictures above show a close up of common spotted orchid, wild flowers and orchids in the foreground with the turbine behind, and Bishop David planting an oak tree at the celebrations, and two boys watering it.

Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Mark Russell-Smith, says, ³The last few months have been very exciting and now the wind turbine is in use it's attracting a lot of attention. The church itself looks stunning with its new interior of lime plaster, lighting and re-ordering, the heritage displays are most impressive and at this time of year the churchyard is at its best.

"The installation of the Wind Turbine has obviously caught many people¹s imagination - we've had enquiries from afar afield as Wells, Norfolk and Durham - and even Australia! People are being made more aware that our buildings should be environmentally sensitive. And, in fact, the first
function in the renewed church was a Renewable Energy Seminar in June.

"Previously we had bottled gas heating, but this new source of power and heat will keep the building dry for better preservation. Not many churches can say they're powered by wind as well as the Holy Spirit!. We look forward to its official opening and more especially to its new phase of life and ministry.²

Mark Russell-Smith adds, "This is a definitively Christian project. We want to enable people to use the place to sense peace, to pray and to commune with nature and God - as well as helping them see our place in the history of the area".

The church is set in an isolated spot in Gisburn Forest within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was built in 1937 from material from Dalehead Parish Church which was demolished when Stocks Reservoir flooded the village of Stocks-in-Bowland. The parish of Tosside, which is responsible for the church, raised £115,000 for its refurbishment and the wind turbine.

Left shows an "Old Dale Header" at the celebratiojns - in fact one of the people who used to worship at the original church before it was submerged by Stocks Reservoir.

Funders include Defra, Lancashire Environment Fund, Forest of Bowland AONB Sustainable Development Fund*, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and local benefactors. Others, including Forest Enterprises and United Utilities, have given help in kind.


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