Welcome to our web pages

Located near Bingley in West Yorkshire, St Ives Estate is a country park of 500 acres belonging to Bradford Metropolitan District Council with Public access to a large part of the area. The Estate is the former country home of the Ferrand family who sold the estate to Bingley Urban district Council in 1928 (see History section). Bingley UDC became part of Bradford in 1974, when the number of local authorities was reduced. The Estate has a large childrens' play area, plenty of scope for walkers and a cafe. The Friends of St Ives (also known as FOSI) is a group promoting activities on the Estate, whilst conserving the traditions. See 'Who are we section'. The Estate is used for a diverse range of activities from golf, archery, bird watching and horse riding to angling on Coppice pond, to name only five.

Want to know who we are? Click Here to find out.

Why not become a member and join in the fun. Click Here to download a membership form.

Visitor centre opening times:- Saturday & Wednesday 11:00 to 15:00


The day that Santa came to town

This year the weather was a lot better and we had a lot of visitors. The event was split between our usual meeting with Santa in the Visitor centre and an event in the Herb Garden, where Annie Berrington held a camp fire with the children. This was part of the 'Get Out More' incentive.

Here are some of the many pictures taken by Kath Gabitas:- Santa day 2016

Here are some of the pictures that Annie took:- Santa day 2016 - Get out more

Car parking charges - a note from our chair, Mrs P Laking

The following is from Mrs Pam Laking's speech to Bradford Council. Unfortunately they did not answer any of the issues. They carried out no debate after the speeches and just voted the charges through.

Firstly, I’d like to ask you all if you could please really listen to what we have to say today. And then if someone is kind enough to reply, please could you actually respond to the issues and comments we have raised.

It’s very frustrating to try and have a dialogue with someone and they do not in any way respond to issues you raise.

We do know about the many, many financial restraints upon the council, which are growing year by year and the latest overspend report; and the very many difficult decisions that have had to be made. So please don’t just give us another statement simply stating this. We feel that the decision to possibly implement parking charges at St Ives has not been arrived at in a clear and procedural way and all the aspects, effects and resultant issues have not been considered. With the need to find money from anywhere perhaps rash scenarios are being created.

I’ll briefly go through all these aspects again as they were stated in our previous report to yourselves. The loss of a free amenity for the everyday users which are mostly older people (helps them in independent living through exercise and human contact), low income families (it’s now a staycation*), forest school users, mainstream schools, (mostly inner city) special needs schools; Groups supported by us to visit; Carer’s Resource, Alzheimer’s Society, Heart Foundation to name a few; other community groups and walking groups including NHS ones to name a few. Displaced parking in Harden village and its effects on businesses and residents and the taking up of its limited existing parking. Much more worryingly, recently a councillor has told me that he is concerned that some of you consider the Friends of St Ives to be “silly old ladies drinking tea” I really hope this is not the case. We are an intelligent group of people from mostly senior professional backgrounds, several with their own companies; involved with many other interests and groups as well. We care deeply about St Ives and also all the visitors, but are not obsessive. However, we do understand the estate better than anyone having been so very involved with it, the Parks and Woodlands team and the thousands of visitors for nearly 14 years now. The public talk to us, we communicate with all the businesses there; we all work together. My mobile phone number has for some time been on the internet as linked to St Ives and I get many phone calls from the public each week with an amazing variety of queries. My colleague runs our Facebook where posts are extensively shared. Another colleague maintains our vast website which has multitudes of hits each day. We have St Ives on many sites such as Trip Advisor and in tourist offices. The Friends have become “St Ives” in the public’s eyes. We have built St Ives up to be the wonderful asset to Bradford that it is and worked extremely hard to do so. St Ives is not just another ‘Park’. It is far more than that. An earlier Parks and Woodlands manger, sadly deceased, called ‘St Ives’ the ‘jewel in Bradford’s crown’. It is. You have a very strong, experienced group of people with on average 150 members who run the visitor centre, create and maintain the History Garden, organise led walks , talks and give presentations all around the area to many other organisations and groups. We have also been voted by the public as Superheroes. But we haven’t built St Ives up to be milked financially; something which could destroy and damage all that has been done over the last 14 years by ourselves and Parks and Landscape.

We have given the parking charges idea much thought and discussion and talked to the local businesses, residents and visitors. In other words, we have carried out a consultation process.

If you have only visited the estate you don’t know how it works. It’s a complex and very unusual place, like no other. With proper leases in place with the businesses, and regeneration of some empty buildings which could raise revenue in a positive way (which the public could appreciate and benefit from), St Ives could be paying for itself and more? But is the idea really that these parking charges will actually go to St Ives?

The Friends of St Ives have many ideas, ability and willingness to help with this by raising money from funders, holding large and small paying events, organising and funding the restoration of these buildings, gaining sponsors and more. We are considering recruiting and organising a ‘practical tasks team’ to start taking on many of the maintenance jobs on the estate. It may be that we all have to look in the future at new ways for St Ives to be managed; maybe as in a trust run by a body such as ours. But we need to work together. As the austerity cuts bite even deeper, you will need the public’s support. You will need voluntary groups and Parish Councils help, and their willingness to take on many tasks. You are not building a good relationship with us by just ignoring what we do, what we are warning you will happen, and ignoring our suggestions that there can be other more financially positive ways to move forward. After 14 years of working together with BMDC very well, if this proposal goes ahead, you are sadly creating a huge dent in the goodwill we have developed whilst working together and in fact possibly even the loss of this group. We feel so disillusioned and disappointed by your lack of communication with us over this issue. You need to understand that people care about the estate in an incredibly deep way. It is really, really, really important to the public and that they retain their ability to visit the place as often as they want and for as long as they want as they have always been able to do so. They have a feeling of ownership towards St Ives as if it’s a 2nd home almost and belongs to them.. The public have been talking to us nonstop since this started, both on the estate, in shops, by phoning us and by email and Facebook. Sadly their anger and hostility towards the council is massive. These are people from not only the immediate local area, but from Wyke, Wibsey, Great Horton and in fact from all over the Bradford area and beyond.)

We ask you to please look again at all the very serious points we have raised in an earlier document and agree to stop this proposal and start to work with us to look at the other ways forward.

And finally, incidentally, having done a lot of research about parking charges in other areas, (which was brought up in your last response to us), other neighbouring councils with similar sites and our local National Trust places do not charge for parking.

* Stay at home vacation - Ed

Woodland story telling

Annie Burington arranged a story telling session with Jenna Drury on 31st October. Stories were told to children about strange happenings. Our pictures show Jenna on the left and one of the visitors, Saskia, with her mother

Jenna Drury Saskia Nutman

Photographs by - Pam Laking

Petition and presentation about car park charges

FOSI comittee at town hall

A group went down to Bradford Town Hall to hand in the public petition, listing some of the people opposed to parking charges on St Ives. A presentation was also given by our chair, Mrs P. Laking on the same subject. As a result the issue was debated by the council who decided to refer it to an executive committee.

Proposed parking charges at St Ives

The Bradford Metropolitan Council are proposing to charge for parking on the St Ives Estate. They will need to put yellow lines down all the roads to make sure that nobody parks without paying and causes an obstruction. Then they will need a person to patrol the estate, to make certain that nobody is parking on a double yellow line. Meters will be installed to issue tickets and collect money. Somebody will be required to check that parking time has not been exceeded and that the tickets are valid. Finally, the money will need to be removed from the meters each night so that it does not get taken.

Given the small number of cars that come to St Ives (on average over a year), they will need to charge a lot just to pay all the wages it will create.

Another question is how would parking charges affect the surrounding areas? Say, for example, someone parks in Harden, then walks into St Ives, thus avoiding payment. Would this result in parking restrictions outside St Ives, an annoyance for local residents, plus the associated costs of enforcement.

The Friends of St Ives are getting a petition together to oppose this venture and would encourage as many people as possible to sign it. The forms are currently located in: the cafe, the visitor center, Harden post office and the ice cream van near the play area. In addition it is hoped that an on line form can be set up.

UKAR clear the courtyard

A group from UKAR have been to weed and clear the cobbled courtyard in front of the coach house. Our pictures show the scene before and after their great efforts.


Photograph by - Pam Laking

Santander work in the herb garden

Another group from Santander (the bank not the place) have been and done a load of work in the herb garden. The pictures show the group and them hard at work.

santander 2 santander 1

What a lot of scaffolding

Cross Gates Farm Scafolding

If you look carefully you might be able to see Cross Gates Farm under the scaffolding. Put up in a bit of a hurry to stop it falling down, Bradford Met has had to build a scaffolding cage around part of the building.

More damage to picnic tables.

Table damage

Once again more damage has been done to the picnic tables by thoughtless people using portable barbecues on them.

Photograph by - Kath Gabitas

In honour of the Queen's birthday

Union flag of flowers

To mark the Queen's 90th birthday, the Friends of St Ives have made a flower bed using red, white and blue flowers; the colours of the Union Flag. The blue flowers have not come out yet but the picture shows the bed as it is now (late May).

Photograph by - Kath Gabitas

Bird walk with Mark Doveston - Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 2016

Mark took four other members with him on one of his now well known 'Bird Walks'. We met at the entrance to Coppice pond at 7:00, before setting out past the pond, up to 'Lady Blantyre's Rock' then on round the top before heading down Blind Lane and through the bottom woods to near the Keighley Road. We then headed back to Coppice Pond. On the way we saw or heard the following:-

Tufted duckCanada GooseCrow
Mallard duckGold crestGreat tit
NuthatchChaffinchBlack cap
Wood pigeonCootSwan-mute
Moor henBlack birdBlack headed gull
BullfinchBlue titWillow warbler
Song thrushGold finchWren
RobinGreat spotted woodpeckerCrow
Coal titSiskinChiffchaff
Long tailed titGoosanderMeadow pipit
MagpieLapwingTree creeper
Mistle thrushHeronCuckoo
PheasantStock doveStarling
JackdawHerring gullLesser black back
LinnetSwallowPied wagtail
GreenfinchSand martin

The list cannot be comprehensive as many of the usual birds are not on it such as Jay or Dunnock.

We all had a very interesting walk and would like to thank Mark.

March - Easter 2016

Easter - 2016

Getting out of winter and time for a bit of Easter fun. Kath Gabbitas got into the spirit, welcoming the children in a rabbit suit. A treasure hunt was arranged where the children had to find the answers to clues, hidden in the herb garden, the prizes being chocolate eggs.

Photographs by - Kath Gabitas

January 17th 2016

Once again snow came to the Estate and Kath was out with her camera. Here are some of the views that she took

Snow man on table Coppice pond Snow man near Coppice pond Coppice pond Goose Chain saw made chain in trees Baxter's Pond

Photographs by - Kath Gabitas

Santa visit December 2015

Santa day

On Saturday12th December 2015, Santa called in to see us again. There were lots of members of the Friends of St Ives, members of the West Riding Wood Turners and a local singing group but very few children. This was in part due to the very heavy rain that fell for most of the day. It was disappointing that in all only about three children called in but a jolly time was had by the adults.

Photographs by - Kath Gabitas

Minster Oak

Minster oak

Do you remember, some years ago, there was fire at York minster? When they came to rebuild the damaged part, one of the oak trees used for the reconstruction came from St Ives. Over the years there have been several attempts to mark the spot where the tree came from but each time the plaque was stolen by metal thieves. The latest attempt is a stone marker, made by Kershaw's Hand Carved Stone. With the help of funding from Get Out More – Forest Schools (thanks to Annie Berrington), a stone was placed to mark the spot. The stone was placed on 4th December 2015 by Annie Berrington and Mr Kershaw, with, representing Friends of St Ives, Pam Laking, Kath Gabbitas, Susan Hart and Susan Foskett.

Photographs by - Kath Gabitas

Halloween 2015

Halloween witches

'When shall we three meet again?' Well actually, in the visitor centre at Halloween. Once again we celebrated the Celtic harvest festival American style with real witches. Children went round the herb garden collecting letters from spooky signs, until they spelt out a word like 'ghost'. After that the children went into the visitor centre to claim their prize - sweets. Our picture shows three of the resident witches. The weather was nice with a break from the heavy rain that has soaked us all week. There were about 91 visitors and children called in.

The three witches are Kath, Susan and Frances. By the way Frances. Do like the hat.

It's a wash out!

On 28th October 2015, Get Out More Forest Schools were planning to have activities on St Ives. For the first time within memory they were washed out. The Friends of St Ives were please to let them dry out in the visitor centre.

Forest School 1 Forest School 2

Fungus walk Sunday 27th September 2015

About 30 people met in the bottom car park for a fungus walk lead by Bob Taylor. Bob gave a short talk about fungi stressing what to look for. Our target was to be able to identify ten new fungi by the end of the afternoon. We found that the children were very good at finding samples. Bob says it is due to their eyes being nearer to the ground! A great time was had by all who came on the walk.

News snippets

Annual general meeting (AGM))

Thursday 21st May 2015 was the annual general meeting for the 'Friends of St Ives'. After conclusion of the formal part of the meeting, Susan Hart gave a talk on some of the many properties in the area that were formally owned by the Ferrands of St Ives (also known as Harden Grange up to 1858), plus some of the other associated families who played a significant role in the history of the area.

Walkers are welcome


Photograph by - Pam Laking

11th April 2015 was the big day for Walkers are Welcome for it was the launch of Bingley as a Walkers are Welcome town. There was an exhibition by several interested parties in the Bingley Arts Centre. Kath Gabitas provided some photographs and Susan Hart made a stand showing the various aspects of the Friends of St Ives and its work. The stand was then manned by several members. The whole event was a big success with a large number of visitors to both the event and our stand.

Easter 2015

People round StIves

Photographs by - Kath Gabitas

Easter 2015 was warm, bringing perhaps a record number of people to the estate. Kath took some pictures round the visitor centre and garden; these have been made into a group.

Was there a pump on the sink?
Pump in York museum Coach house sink

The picture of the sink with a pump was taken in the York City Museum. The Picture of the other stone sink was taken by Kath Gabbitas in the coach house at St Ives. Looking at the coach house picture, there is a big hole at the side of the sink on the right hand side. Did this also have a pump at one time?

Strewing - or how to disguise nasty niffs

In days gone by, aromatic herbs were strewn on floors to help disguise some of the less savoury odours. These days, potpourri gets used in a similar manner and you can even place herbs under a mat, though modern usage is more to set a mood than overcome a pressing problem (unless you own an elderly dog). In the not too distant past much disease was thought to be passed by inhaling powerful smells which were called miasmas. This theory persisted from ancient times and in a lot of different cultures, until work on bacteria in the 19th century and later work, mostly in the 20th century, on viruses.

The new herb garden will have a section devoted to household herbs of the sort that were used for smell control. By placing a few of these home grown herbs in the new visitor centre, it is hoped to give an immediate impression of how rooms felt in former times.

Ferrands History

For centuaries the Ferrand family owned St Ives and much land in the area. The way in which the the Ferrands interacted with the history of Bingley is a fascinating topic and we are pleased to refer you to a new web site by Michael Ferrand.

Any ideas what this is?
Water walk group

Has anyone any ideas as to what this might be? (The walled up hole to the right.) It is in the wall of the building adjacent to the new herb garden. Red marks imply that it has been hot. A bread oven or forge perhaps. Clearly it is old but the relieving lintel above it does not look quite so old. Or was it still in use when the upper part of the wall and lintel were added at a later date as part of new or replacement building.

Why are they pulling up our rhododendrons?

Long a popular feature of St Ives are the rhododendrons. Not a native of the UK but a species imported from the Himalayas. They are none the less a colourful sight when they are in flower. So why are they using horses to pull them out? The answer is 'phytophthora ramorum' a contagious fungal disease that has been found in some of the countries rhododendrons (and a few other types of bush). The disease is called 'sudden oak death' in America and this is the name that explains the problem. In a manner that has parallels with the way in which the outbreak of foot and mouth was tackled some years ago; the rhododendrons are being sacrificed before they bring about the death of our oak trees. DEFRA (Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs) are very worried that without this action, we could loose many of the oaks; trees that have taken many decades to grow.

Even without this crisis, it would have been necessary to clear some of the rhododendrons as they are a fast growing species that inhibits the growth of other plant, bird and animal populations.

For those wondering - the horse is called Nathan

Ponds and Water Gardens
With help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the society has brought out a pamphlet that describes the 'Ponds and Water Gardens', both as they are now and as they were when constructed by the Ferrand family. This pamphlet is now available or you can down load a copy at this link to our download page: Click Here. The file is in '.pdf' format as used by Adobe AcrobatTM.

Bird watching
For birding information look up "Bradford Ornithological Group". To see their WEB site via our links page Click Here

Back to top