The Flower Garden is blooming!
Current and previous items of news from the Friends of Chat Parks.
Help us to bring back the Bonfire and Fireworks at Thornes Park
The Friends of CHaT Parks, backed by the Wakefield Express, are launching a fundraising drive to bring back the community bonfire and fireworks display at Thornes Park this year. Supported by Melvyn Eddy Funfairs, the group needs to raise funds by the end of this month (May) in order to purchase fireworks in time for November. Already Wakefield-based estate agent Richard Kendall has pledged £1000 to help and the organisers of the annual South Elmsall, South Kirkby and Upton bonfire display have offered their expertise and equipment. Any donation – large or small – can help us to bring back a much-loved event in the Wakefield calendar that has been a fixture for many years. To help us in this appeal, please contact Ian Deighton on 01924 314222 or email email@example.com
We’re appealing for volunteers to help us with the Lowe Hill project. As you may know the Friends have been working with Wakefield Council and the archaeological experts to ensure that the Forgotten Castle on Lowe Hill becomes a key feature in the future of the Park. This requires co-ordination with WMDC Streetscene ,and the provision of volunteers who understand the principles of archaeology,who can, initially,undertake some ground clearance work.(Training will be given). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message on Facebook for more information. If you are interested in the first stage of this project, why not watch the excellent film produced by One to One Development Trust on the Friends of CHaT Parks website:
Wakefield Interfaith Group enjoyed a successful afternoon’s multi-faith tree planting in Thornes Park on November 16th 2016. The Mayor and Mayoress of Wakefield, Cllr. Harry and Janet Ellis, also took part along with WMDC park staff, Roger the Tree Warden, local councillors and community police. There were representatives from at least four Christian denominations plus four other faiths – Brahma Kumari, Muslim, Pagan and Sikh. After the tree planting ceremony refreshments were provided at St James Church, Thornes where attendants were able to share views about trees and the environment.
The Friends of Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes Park have undertaken an exciting project funded by Heritage Lottery to work with West Yorkshire Archaeological Services to do a geophysical study of the site. The Friends group extend out to the local community involving schools and other community groups in the project. The 23 minute film tells the story of Lowe Hill and significance as a cultural heritage site in Yorkshire.
On 12th February 2015 we held our opening meeting of the year.
In the first part of the meeting members were brought up to date with the News of the archaeological investigation on the site of the mediaeval castle on Lowe Hill, or Cannonball Hill as many know it.
Experts from the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, helped by members of the Group, spent last Monday doing non-intrusive survey work and the results of this will help to decide what further investigation is needed. Members responded enthusiastically with suggestions as to how to make the site more accessible and more understood by visitors.
The Group then discussed several of the other projects being undertaken in the Parks.
The Three Parks Walk, which will link up the several paths in the Parks to give a complete circular pathway around the three parks.
The formal flower gardens in Thornes Park for which the bedding plants have been ordered and the Group, together with service users from the Council’s Family Services Team will grow the plants until they are ready for planting out to give the colourful displays which everyone looks forward to.
The Glasshouse/Conservatory has been refurbished to make it safe for public access, but it cannot be opened yet because of problems with the heating system. The use of temporary heaters mean that it is not safe to allow the public in.
The Children’s Playground near the Skate Park – the removal of the climbing net for health and safety reasons led to much disappointment amongst young visitors to the Park. We are glad to learn that this is going to be replaced soon, although not in time for this half-term.
There is a lot that the Friends can do in the Parks without replacing staff from the Council.
Taking their cue from the Wombles, our volunteers do their bit to improve the look of the Parks by spending a couple of hours on occasionally Sunday mornings picking up litter. Keep posted for our next proposed date.
We know that litter is a continuing problem, not just in the Parks, and we are grateful to the members who come along and show they really are friends of the Parks.
Pruning and Weeding
Sunday 4th March 2012
We held a Working Party to clear away some undergrowth in the “Little Wood” near to the Lake.
The area is now much more open and less forbidding for walkers.
It is also much easier for the Park staff to mow the grass among the trees. It is hoped that this part of the Park will now be more attractive.
Sunday 5th February 2012
Although the weather forecast was for heavy snowfall, some members of the Friends of CHaT Parks decided to ignore the experts and met in Thornes Park.
Helped by the Scouts from 17th (Outwood Church) Group we trimmed away some of the undergrowth round trees.
The wooded area above the lakeside is now much clearer and the Park staff will now find it easier to keep the area mown and tidy.
The Park also looks much more attractive now and we hope this will encourgae people to use the area.
Unfortunately the ground was too frozen to allow the planned tree-planting to go ahead, but everyone enjoyed the bright, but very cold, morning and the Park looks better for their efforts.
12-14th October 2012 – Love Your Park
As part of Keep Britain Tidy’s “Love Where You Live” campaign, we worked to “Clear the Paths” on Lowe Hill.
With the help of Wakefield Council, the Music Collective, the Tree Wardens and the Sea Cadets we cut back the undergrowth, brambles and laurel bushes to open up the pathway again to bring the area back into use.
We hope to hold many more events in the future. Want to get involved? Call us on 0777 560 3809 or email info@CHaTparks.org.uk
Find out more about events in the Parks by clicking here or email events@CHaTparks.org.uk
Are you already a member? If not, why not find out more about joining the group and helping to protect and preserve Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes Parks? click here for more information
These events have been very successful and we are pleased by the amount of people attending and the number of enquiries made about them.
Thank you to everyone who turns up and makes it a really enjoyable, if not early, morning.
When we have dates for future Car Boot Sales they will be announced on here, on Social Media and on a banner on Denby Dale Road near where the enterance to the Car Boot Sale will be.
Start: sellers 7.00 am, buyers 8.00am Finish: 12.00 noon
Cost: Cars £8.00. Vans £10.00. Trailers £2.00
Access: off Denby Dale Road opposite St James’ Church
The Secret Garden in Thornes Park was opened to the public on Sunday 3rd June 2012.
For over a year, volunteers from the Friends of CHaT Parks and others have worked hard to restore a large, old, formal garden that had been abandoned for over a quarter of a century.
Hundreds of hours of work have gone in to cutting through the weeds and brambles to reveal the Garden’s former glory and for the first time in the history of the Park the general public now have access to this area.
As part of the extensive restoration works, with the assistance of staff from Wakefield Museum, we have been able to display and make a feature of two of the columns from the old Market Cross in Wakefield and what is thought to be a pinnacle from Wakefield Cathedral.
Financial assistance from WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd) under the Landfill Communities Fund has meant that we were able to call on the assistance of UK Earthworks to help with the heavy construction work and the work of a large number of volunteers completed the rest.
Many of the plants from the former garden have been able to be saved and these have been complemented by new plants donated by Friends of the Park.
Ian Deighton, Chairman of the Friends of CHaT Parks, said “We are very proud to be able to add this large new area to our already attractive city park. It is the first major addition and extension to the Park in my lifetime and will be a fantastic legacy for future generations”.
As with all major garden projects, the work is never finished and the Secret Garden is no exception. We are still looking for volunteers to help develop the Secret Garden and for other urgent work in the Parks. If this is of interest to you, visit our Volunteering Pages orContact Us
The Secret Garden will be open most days from 9am to 6pm and can be accessed directly from Thornes Park.
More photos of the Secret Garden, including images from the 80’s and of the official opening, can be seen on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/FoCHaTparks
In 2011 the Friends of CHaT Parks recovered a number of benches from the old Art Gallery in Wakefield. They were in very poor condition and in need of complete restoration.
Since then Volunteers from the Friends of CHaT Parks have assisted service users from the adult day care work to restore the benches using materials donated or paid for by the Friends of CHaT Parks.
The refurbished benches will replace the vandalised ones in Thornes Park and are planned to be in place during the spring.
If you would like to lend your time to help work on the benches or make a donation to help pay for further restorations please email info@CHaTparks.org.uk
On Sunday 18th March 2012 Scouts from Wakefield 17th Scout Group, Outwood helped to plant two new trees in Thornes Park to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee.
The event was organised by The Tree Wardens Voluntary Group in partnership with The Friends of CHaT Parks.
The new trees were generously donated by Barcham Trees and this planting replaced vandalised young trees which had been planted 18 mths earlier. The new trees are both Crataegus laevigata ‘ Pauls Scarlet ‘ which produce beautiful pink – red flowers in May.
“The Scouts have helped us with other work to improve the trees in the park and we were delighted to be able to arrange this tree planting event for them. It will mark this important year and we will record the event so it will become part of the history of the park .”
We are arranging other tree planting events in the district to help other groups celebrate this Diamond Jubilee year.
The present state of Clarence Pavilion is one of real concern for the Friends of CHaT Parks and an issue which has been raised to the Council over the past year or more, while we have been forced to watch the demise of the building.
When the Race for Life visited the Parks in July 2011, the Friends of CHaT Parks took the matter in to their own hands and painted the shelter, covering the graffiti which was an eyesore ill representing Wakefield.
This by no means is the end of our work restoring this building and we welcome you to help us mend this broken abused Pavilion. For more information how you can help email info@CHaTparks.org.uk or see ourJoin Us page.
The Friends of ChaT Parks and the people of Wakefield have known for many years that Thornes Park is one of the jewels in the city’s crown and this has been recognised by English Heritage, who have included the park in their Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
The registered park, owned by Wakefield Council, is in fact three parks; Clarence Park, Holmfield Park andThornes Park and is locally known as CHaT Parks from the names of the three constituents.
English Heritage consider that the parks, together with the Thornes Park Nurseries, merits national recognition and is designated at Grade II in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens for the following principal reasons: Survival, it is a good example of an urban municipal park of the late C19 and early C20 where the layout suvives almost intact. Historic Interest: it has added interest in the incorporation of a late C19 landscape possibly designed by John Carr, as well as a scheduled medieval motte and bailey castle earthwork.
The registration of the park establishes its historic interest as a material planning consideration and draws attention to the fact that the site should receive special consideration if development proposals are contemplated. The status does not prevent building work, but it does mean that any planning issues now have to be run past English Heritage before a decision can be made.
Our chairman Ian Deighton said: “We are very supportive of the decision to include the park on the National Register. It works towards one of the group’s aims which is the preservation of the unique historic, cultural and botanic aspects of the park so that the benefits left to us by past generations can be handed down intact to our children.”
To see the extract from the report click here
To see the Wakefield Express’s article click here
To see the BBC News article click here
The old Aviary in Thornes Park was rebuilt in 2010 as a joint project between Friends of CHaT Parks and Wakefield Council with the help from Howarth Timber of Doncaster Road and B & Q of Cathedral Retail Park.
The new aviary was opened on 16th November by Ian Deighton, Chairman of the Friends of CHaT Parks Group and Councillor Olivia Rowley,Portfolio Holder for the Environment.
The Friends of CHaT Parks were pleased to welcome children from three local schools to help with the opening of the new Aviary.
Children from The Mount School, Field Lane Methodist School and Lawefield Lane School inspected the new building and said they thought it was a very nice home for the birds.
They were glad to see the birds back in the park after they had been rehoused temporarily to allow the old building to be demolished and the new one built.
The children from The Mount School were especially interested to see the birds which had been bought using money raised in the school by holding a picture competition.
After the ceremony the children made sculptures on the grass using leaves, twigs, stones etc from the park.
Thornes Park’s new Aviary now has an interpretation sign.
The aviary was rebuilt in Novemebr 2010 and the original birds have been joined by several exotic new residents.
Some of the new birds have been donated and some have been bought using money raised by local schools.
Working with the Friends of CHaT Parks Wakefield Council has now erected a bright new sign which describes the birds and gives information on their origins.
The new sign together with the benches repaired and refurbished, with a great deal of help from the students of the Pennine Camphill, make this corner of the Park an even more attractive destination for visitors.
Design Awards for the New Aviary
The Friends of ChaT Parks are very pleased to learn that the new Aviary in Thornes Park has received a Design Award from Wakefield Civic Society.
The Aviary was among several new buildings in the City to be recognised by the Society at the Annual General Meeting last week.
The new Aviary was opened in November last year as a much-needed replacement for a building which had reached the end of its useful life. Children from The Mount J & I, Lawefield Primary and Field Lane Methodist schools helped Councillor Olivia Rowley to perform the opening ceremony.
New birds for the Aviary have been given by several individuals and groups, including the children of The Mount J & I School who held an art competition to raise money to buy some Japanese Quail. The colourful and tuneful new residents are making this corner of the Park once again an attraction for children of all ages.
Picture Competition for the new Aviary
Pictures drawn by the children of Mount School in order to raise money to buy some birds for the new Aviary in Thornes Park.
The money was used to buy some Japanese Quail.
The pictures were displayed in the Sports Hall in the Park on 21st November 2010
During The Tree Council’s National Tree Week (25th November – 6th December 2009) with the help of children from The Mount school and The Methodist school, Friends of CHaT Parks worked with Wakefield Council to add to the wide variety of trees already in the Parks.
The main planting was on Tuesday 1st December 2009between the Wakefield College Campus and Lowe Hill, above the pitch and putt course.
All the children participated with the planting while receiving insteresting and fun facts on trees and nature from Roger Parkinson, Chairman of Tree Wardens, Wakefield.
On top of this we also received a demonstration on how a tree is cut. Climbing up the tree, cutting branches down but leaving a way to return.
Several trees were also planted in other areas of the three parks by Wakefield Council staff.
The Friends of CHaT Parks were able to do this using a grant from the Tree Council, the UK’s leading tree partnership.
Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes Parks are now benefiting from;
Four trees donated by The Friends of CHaT Parks
An Antarctic Beech, a Fern-Leaved Beech, a Hop Hornbeam and an American White Elm, which is resistant to Elm Disease.
Six trees from Wakefield Council
A Copper Beech, a Walnut, a Tulip Tree, a Narrow-leafed Ash, a “Royal Purple” Smoke Bush and a Yew.
Ten trees donated to CHaT Friends by Barcham’s Tree Nurseries
Five Tibetan Cherries, two Erman’s Birch, a London Plane, a Small-leaved Lime and an Ash (Weshof’s Glorie).
Ian Deighton, Chairman of the Friends Group said “We are pleased that the Friends Group has been able to use some of its own funds to participate in National Tree Week and secure funding from the Tree Council and Wakefield MDC for these fine trees to complement those already on offer in the Parks. We are particularly pleased that local school children have been able to participate in the planting and will receive instruction on trees. While the trees will make an immediate impact, we are constantly aware that we are also developing the Parks not only for today but for future generations to appreciate”.
Roger Parkinson Chairman of Tree Wardens, Wakefield and a member of the Friends Group said “Our community green spaces, like the city parks, are very important to us and it has been wonderful that all the parties involved in this project could come together to do something special for National Tree Week”