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.


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


Photograph 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.

Two three year olds call in at the visitor centre


Photograph by - Pam Laking

Poppy and Ruby call in at the visitor centre to see us at Easter.

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? (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