Title photograph by Kath Gabbitas

Visitor Centre Easter Opening:-

Good Friday 18th April, 11.00 am to 15.00

Saturday 19th April, 11.00 am to 15.00

Bank Holiday Monday 21st April, 11.00 am to 15.00

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.


Preparing the land

FOSI are creating a Poppy Meadow to commemorate the start of WW1. To prepare the grassed area adjacent to the picnic area on the Estate, STRI (who are based at St Ives) kindly brought their stripping and seeding machines along and firstly stripped areas that are to become a sturdy path for all users including wheelchairs, and also the beds for the poppies and then sowed the suitable grass seeds for us.

The sowing of the poppy seeds is taking place on Saturday 26th April at 2pm. Please come and join us in sowing these seeds and bring a small bowl to place the seeds in. We will be meeting in the grassed picnic area opposite Lady B's Café.

Text and photograph by Pam Laking

Participate comes to the rescue

Seat 2 On Friday 21st March "Participate", a group renown for team building, brought a group from "UKAR" to help sort out the garden. We are very grateful for the work that they did.

Photograph Kath Gabbitas

Teaching bird song

Seat 2 On Saturday 8th March, Mark Doveston (picture right) installed a new system in the visitor centre for teaching bird recognition. The new interactive display boards have now been installed by Mark Doveston and Graham Hart in the Visitor Centre at St. Ives Estate, Bingley, the casing supplied by Experia. Great for kids to learn about birds and the sound they make....just push a button! After installation, all that was needed was a volunteer to test the system. At that moment Charlie (picture left) was passing and kindly offered to carry out the test.

Photograph Kath Gabbitas

Thrashing back the jungle

Seat 2 Seat 1

Photographs Kath Gabbitas

Further to our creation of a Poppy Field to commemorate the start of the WW1, the organisation called BEES (Bradford Environmental Education Service) very kindly came and did the first part of the clearing and preparing of the area to be planted with poppies. BEES is a charity and is part of the YMCA who work with community groups, schools and businesses to raise awareness of how to protect the natural environment and to work to create better habitats for plants and wildlife. Bob Taylor from STRI is kindly advising and supporting FOSI in the creation of this field and advised BEES on the day.

History walk

Seat 2 On Sunday 2nd March, Susan Hart lead a group of a dozen people round StIves, looking at many of the historical features.

New seat in herb garden

Seat 2 Seat 1

First photograph by Tony Laking, second photograph by Alex Anderson

Martin Bilj and team have delivered the circular seat to the Garden this week. The seat has come from the West Park area in Bradford where it was installed in a temporary garden, funded by a Postcode Lottery, to cheer the area prior to development. As this has now commenced the seats were put up for adoption. Twelve groups applied for the six seats and FOSI was lucky enough to win one. The seat is now installed round our Mulberry Bush.

More Ferrands come home

Over the 2013 Christmas break, a group from the Davies family paid us a visit. This family is currently living in Australia but have ancestral connections to the Ferrands.

Photograph by Kath Gabbitas

Hand rail to Baxter's Pond ripped out

Broken hand rails On Saturday evening of the 28thDecember, a vehicle attempting to negotiate the pedestrian footpath below Baxter's pond became stuck. The hand rails on the steps appear to have been ripped out and used to free the vehicle.

We are very pleased to report that this has since been repaired by Bradford Met Council.

Pictures on a recent fungus walk

On Sunday 6th October, Bob Taylor lead one of his renown fungus walks. The event this year was very well attended.

Photographs by Kath Gabbitas

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Odds and Ends

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? It is in the wall of the building adjacent to the new herb garden. Red marks round the walled up access on the right 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?
horse 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, ten 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

Wildlife identification chart
Bradford Met. have been busy making a wildlife identification chart for mounting near Coppice Pond. If you would like a copy of your own, then click on this link to our download page Click Here . The file is in '.pdf' format as used by Adobe AcrobatTM.

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