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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 2014

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.

Wood turners

The wood turners from Eldwick gave us a demonstration.

Lace makers

Some lace makers show us how their work is done.

Hand bell ringers

The hand bell players put on a performance.

New display in visitor centre

A big thank you to Bradford Urban Wild Life Group who have put a new display up in our visitor centre.

Phytophthora Ramorum reaches St. Ives

Infection 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

Fungus walk 28th September
fungus 1 fungus 2

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.

Remembering the first great war


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.

Good news about the toilets
Toilet 2

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.

Recent events

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!

Jane Ramsden Talk 1 Jane Ramsden Talk 2

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.

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?

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, fourteen 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

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