Stray Defence Association

Safeguarding Harrogate’s Stray against building and encroachment

Home SDA Committee

The SDA Committee

The SDA Committee is made up of the following members

Hon. Treasurer: David d’Arcy Thompson FCA

Chairman:  Judy d’Arcy Thompson

Other Members
Guy Tweedy
Graham Marlow
Syd Bell
Anna McIntee
Anthony Blundell

Why do We Need the Stray Defence Association?

Since the formation of the Stray Defence Association there have been times when the Stray has been unrecognisable from the neat, tidy and immaculate acres enjoyed today.

World War II, during the years 1939-45, brought the necessity of civil defence measures and food supply. Animals had long since been removed from the Stray, their roaming at odds with the new ‘Horseless carriages’ of the early 1920’s.

War brought the digging of trench traps, aimed at discouraging enemy aircraft from using the 200 acres as a landing place. Elsewhere wheat was grown and allotments were dug. Harrogate definitely took the idea of Digging for Victory to heart.

The end of the war brought a return to normality and these cultivated areas were cleared re seeded and returned to the mown grassland we know today although some changes have been sanctioned and proved more than beneficial to both the Stray and the town.

At the suggestion of the late Sir Bernard Lomas-Walker crocus and daffodil bulbs were planted along the edges of the Stray and the annual display of natural spring time beauty is one of the best loved sights in Harrogate. These areas are carefully nurtured by the efficient groundsfolk of Harrogate council parks department.  

However, Harrogate people are quick to contact the Stray Defence Association when they believe there is some scheme afoot that will have an unfavourable effect upon their Stray.

When replacement trees are planted at a greater distance from the roadways than the established ones, people ask why, concerned that this might one day allow for a widening of the roads leading into the town and a diminution of the Stray. Of course, the truth is that the replacements must have space to grow in.

It would be wrong to think that there is no longer any need of the Stray Defence Association for every now and then and idea is put forward which would diminish both the size and the quality of the Stray. Good too that the townspeople jealously safeguard their precious Stray and know that the Stray Defence Association are here to do just that.