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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.

News

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.

Public notice

The following notice of forthcoming work on the Estate has been issued:

Summer 2014

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

Car Parking

"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?

What can only be described as a potential disaster
toilet closure protesters

Photograph by Kath Gabitas

Our picture shows just some of the people who came out to register their disagreement at the proposed closure of the toilets on St. Ives.

The St. Ives Estate has been one of the great success stories. The only country park with English Heritage status in the Bradford Area. It is visited by thousands of people a year, including school parties, who use it as a resource, parties of senior people, young families and every sort of group that you can think of. The new play ground is a big attraction, the Estate has an inestimable value to the whole community.

We regret to say that all this is now to be put in jeopardy. Just at the time when we would be expecting the toilet facilities to be enlarged to meet the requirements of the larger number of users, Bradford Metropolitan Council is to close the toilet facilities completely to save money. As far as the Estate is concerned this is a disaster, we cannot over state the importance of the toilets. The Friends of St. Ives was set up to make the public aware of the Estate and make more use of it. Now all that work is to be wiped out to make what we feel is a false economy. Without the toilets, even the Green Flag Award would go.

It is with some irritation that we have to anounce that Bradford Met has rejected our petition on what at first sight appears to be a technicality. They have given us a new link to their petition site and we would therefore urge all those who have kindly registered their feelings with the old site, to re-register on the new one. This is:- Petition

Just as an after thought. Surely the Bradford Council would want to provide toilets for its own people working on the Estate so why not make them available to the public at little extra cost?

We would wish to stress that we are not politically motivated in any way but do not want lose St.Ives whilst the public is deriving such great benefit from the Estate.

UKAR install steps
Steps 2 Steps 3
UKAR team

Photographs by Pam Laking

A team from UKAR very kindly came and made some steps so that we have access to the other green house. They also did a lot of weeding. The two pictures above show the new steps and the lower picture shows the UKAR team.

Let us never forget
Planting poppies with flax

To mark the outbreak of the First World War FOSI has planted some poppies. The land that had been supplied by Elder Homes was first cleared by BEES and UKAR before preparation by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI). Co-Operative Memorials of Nab Wood, Shipley then gave us some poppy seeds and the people at STRI mixed them with flax seed for us. Our picture shows one of the many FOSI members who helped with the planting.

Photograph by Kath Gabitas


Easter at the visitor centre
Easter 2014 visitors

Easter 2014 saw lot of visitors calling in. Here are just a few.

Photograph by Kath Gabitas



Preparing the land
Popies_1

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.

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