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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.
December 7th was a big day for us, with events in both the visitor centre and the coach house; next door.
Santa called in to see us.
The wood turners from Eldwick gave us a demonstration.
Some lace makers show us how their work is done.
The hand bell players put on a performance.
A big thank you to Bradford Urban Wild Life Group who have put a new display up in our visitor centre.
It is with sadness that we have to announce that phytophthora ramorum, the fungal disease that kills oak trees has reached St. Ives. Our picture shows a group from the Friends of St. Ives discussing the new restrictions.
Photograph by Stuart Gabitas
Photographs by - left Sally Handcock, right Kath Gabitas
The Fungus walk that was lead by Bob Taylor wall well up to his usual standard. There had been concern that the dry weather in September would have ruined the fungi. That proved to be not the case with many surviving. A fine walk was had by all and our warm thanks to Bob.
Photograph by Kath Gabitas
The Friends of St Ives decided earlier this year to plant a field of Poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1.
Initial site clearance was carried out for us by BEES (Bradford Environmental Education Service), who kindly made the garden possible.
Further help was given by the Sport Turf Research Institute (STRI,) who are based at St Ives. They prepared ground, with the creation of a wide grassy path and sweeping earth beds ready for the seeds.
The Co-op memorial group had a memorial stone made with the names of the groups and companies involved. Made of grey marble, black engraved words and scarlet poppies, it hopefully we be a lasting memorial for another hundred years.
The little meadow is situated within the Mansion grounds and permission was kindly given by Elder Homes there, to plants thousands of poppy seeds throughout the field.
The public came along in May including many children and planted the seeds and we all looked forward to ‘a sea of red’ in July.
However weeks went by with no signs of even one poppy plant and eventually we decided to hold the commemorative ceremony and the memorial stone dedication anyhow.
The ceremony was attended by about 60 people. The Rev Bob Evans from Harden led us in prayers and blessed the stone. Kath Gabbitas from FOSI read the story of Stafford Ferrand, the only Ferrand we know of who fought on WW1. A brave man, it would seem, who won the Military Cross, but would never talk of his experiences of the war. The Ferrand family were the owners of St Ives during this period.
Mark Potts , the head manager of the Co-operative Funeral services, came up from the South and read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’
Eve Haskins, clerk to Harden Parish Council, read the names of all the Harden men who fought in WW1 and then the names of those who’d sadly died. She then read the two famous lines from the poem ‘For the Fallen’, ending ‘We will remember them’.
Judith Hayles from Harden movingly played the last post on a bugle whilst the Standard was lowered followed by a minutes silence and the Standard was then raised.
Pam Laking, Chair of FOSI, introduced the readers and told the story of our poppy field with ‘no’ poppies. She said that the seeds could still germinate at any time within the next 50 years. So we must all keep watching and hoping.
Elder Homes was represented by Heather Craven.
The Bingley British Legion provided a giant poppy shape covered in small fabric poppies and also fabric poppies on wires which Kath and her husband planted in the field and some crosses to place around the stone.
Everyone said it was a beautiful ceremony, not celebrating War, but acknowledging the suffering and death that occurred and is still occurring around the world today.
Photograph by Kath Gabitas
We are pleased to announce that our petition and support letters have been sucessful in making the council have a rethink about closing the Public Toilets on St Ives.
Thank you for all the support which made this happen.
On the 1st August, Ian Butterfield gave us a talk on Bats. This was very good and had us all enthralled. The talk was followed by a walk round Coppice Pond to watch them. Unfortunately the weather was too bad, even for bats!
Photographs by Kath Gabitas
On the 2nd August, Jane Ramden, professional herbalist, gave two talks in the herb garden. Telling us about the different uses for the herbs in the garden. See the above pictures.
This was followed by a history walk on 17th given by Susan Hart. There was a walk on the estate, giving history and stories from a past rich in the events of former times.
The following notice of forthcoming work on the Estate has been issued:
Trees and Woodlands will be carrying out further rhododendron clearance this summer on 2 sites: Coppice Bog and Blantyre's Wood. As part of the overall strategy to restore St Ives woodlands to predominantly native broad leaved woodland, Forest of Bradford volunteers and contractors will continue to eradicate rhododendron by "heading" it back to the woodland gardens around the mansion house. FOB (Forrest of Bradford) volunteers will be working at the western end of Coppice Bog, they will be experimenting with harvesting for firewood and possibly charcoal making. Controlled fires may occasionally be used to reduce brash piles. Peter Coates the horse logger will be working along the northern edge of Blantyre's Wood around Ferrand's monument to remove the dense blocks of rhododendron.
Rhododendron is a non-native species that out-competes native flora, including tree and shrubs and is not particularly useful as habitat for native fauna. It has also been identified as a host plant for phytophthora ramorum, a fungal blight disease that has been devastating larch and can affect oak and beech. A significant number of the conifer plantation trees at St Ives are larch (particularly Betty's Wood) with the majority of the woodland being oak. Outbreaks have now reached southern Lancashire/Forest of Bowland. St Ives is in the "high risk", zone 1. Further information about P ramorum: Click Here
"Strictly No Parking" signs put up for the Easter holidays will remain in place until the end of the summer. Although, unsightly they appear to have had the desired effect of discouraging parking on verges and blocking traffic at busy times.
Bob Thorp - Tree and Woodland Manager
See our item Why are they pulling up our rhododendrons?
Odds and Ends
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 NathanBack to top