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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.


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

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