Photography by John Steel
St Ives Bingley
Located near Bingley in West Yorkshire, St Ives Bingley 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. 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. 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.
St Ives Bingley (formerly Harden Grange until 1858) has a long and colourful past dating from earliest pre-historic times to the present day. From the discovery of stone tools near Druids’ Altar, the crag evoked in Disraeli’s novel “Sybil” to the arrival of Cistercian Monks from Rievaulx Abbey in the 12th century the estate has witnessed much within its landscape. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 the estate passed from the Church into private hands, Robert Ferrand purchasing a large portion of it in 1636. This was to begin the long association of the Ferrands with the estate, which was to finally end in 1928 when it was purchased by Bingley Urban District Council for the sum of £39,450. The Ferrand family were responsible for the construction of the Jacobean Mansion to the rear of the present building, and later 17th century buildings including the chapel with its stone bell-cote on the eastern gable, visible from the driveway. Later Ferrands provided the estate with the Home Farm buildings, exotic gardens and water features and were largely responsible for the landscape we enjoy today. This estate has been provided for the benefit of the whole community. Please respect this area and other people using the facilities.
There are a number of historic buildings at the centre of the estate, which for the most part house a thriving business community. These include the Mansion (Young Persons Disabled Unit) Equestrian Centre, the Sports Turf Research Institute based within the banked 19th century kitchen gardens, Golf Course and Café. At each end of the main driveway are two of what were once three lodges, Betty’s Lodge and St Ives Lodge, now private dwellings. The remains of the third, Dawson’s Lodge, can be made out if you look carefully at the junction of the track from Cross Gates to Altar Lane. These 19th century structures may be compared to the purpose built foxhound kennels in Cuckoo Nest Wood. The solitary structure at White Cote is all that remains of a farm site that thrived from the early medieval period until the close of the 19th century appearing in many ancient deeds and charters. The site at Cross Gates is similarly steeped in antiquity. Again the main farm buildings were demolished in the mid 20th century leaving the Victorian barn with earlier dovecote feature today. In the north west corner of the estate stands a memorial to the great 19th century political reformer William B Ferrand (1809-89) who was responsible for much of the mansion building seen today. Below the Ferrand obelisk is a memorial to his mother-in-law Lady Blantyre who on her visits to the estate liked to climb the hill and enjoy the panoramic view across Harden and the Aire Valley from this craggy spot. Only authorised vehicles allowed off road. Keep dogs under control and clean up after your dog has fouled. Help us to maintain this area by reporting any problems to:
- Trees & Woodlands Manager 01274 434826
- Park Ranger Service 01274 432696
Copies of the park byelaws and further information can be obtained from the above contacts or by visiting the website: www.bradforddistrictparks.org Images may be recorded for the purpose of crime prevention and community safety.
The Grey Squirrel is the most commonly seen animal on the estate, out and about on all but the coldest days foraging for food. Other animals that inhabit the estate include:
Roe Deer are also present on the estate but are very shy and reclusive making them difficult to spot.
There are many species birds within the estate, including some which are hard to find locally elsewhere. Because it is predominantly oak woodland, Jays, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers (lesser-spotted being very scarce) are all in residence. Thrushes, Tits and Finches all thrive in the grounds and summer migrant species are also visitors. Coppice Pond has a population of Mallards, Coots and Moorhens that are often joined by Canada Geese. A nest box scheme has introduced many new nesting sites, and allowed natural sites to become free for the Spotted Flycatcher. The hope is that as the scheme is extended many more species will return to the Estate. There are few nocturnal species inhabiting the Estate, Tawny Owls are plentiful throughout, with other species such as Little Owls limited in number.
St. Ives is home to at least 5 of the seventeen species of British bat. St. Ives’ mix of old and young woodland, pasture and wetland provide a superb habitat for bats. Insects provide a plentiful supply of food and holes in trees provide safe roosting sites. The common pippistrelle is perhaps the most prevalent bat at St. Ives as well as the smallest, weighing as little as a two pence piece. The best time to see the bats is at dawn or dusk.
The largest of all animal groups, insects exploit almost every habitat and food source available. Insects play a crucial role in pollinating plants, decomposing organic matter, and as prey to a multitude of birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Coppice Pond in particular plays host to a large number of insects, including Mayflies, that spend one or two years underwater before taking to the air as winged adults. Bright blue Damselflies are particularly abundant by the water’s edge from early to late summer. Cuckoo spit is a familiar site around the estate and is in fact caused by an insect called a froghopper that drinks sap from plants. It is entirely coincidental that this occurs at the same time as the Cuckoo returns to the estate to breed. The Friends of St. Ives are a voluntary group supporting the preservation and development of the estate. To find out more please visit… The Friends of St. Ives