Parkinson’s Park sits on the hillside behind the old Crompton Parkinson site on Netherfield Road: access is via entrances on Kelcliffe Lane, Greenshaw Terrace, Parkinson Way, Nethercliffe Crescent and Hillside Avenue. This historic area was given to the people of Guiseley to use as a park by Frank & Albert Parkinson in the 1930’s: it has been used for walks, play, and events ever since . Now owned by Bellway Homes, basic maintenance is done by Meadfleet The Friends of Parkinson’s Park CIC (FOPP) was set up to once again make the Park an attractive green space for community use and events, whilst helping to manage its varied natural habitats.On these pages you can read the history, examine the ecology and sign up to follow and comment on progress – as well as tell us your own stories of the park.
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The Park has been yarn bombed by three crafty Friends, to celebrate the month of midsummer and the season for picnics – particularly the week of 19th – 27th June, which is National Picnic Week. If the weather is fine, buy some local food from our range of Guiseley Delis, Cafes, and food retailers, spread out a blanket, relax and enjoy the whimsical decorations.
Abi Helen, Becky James and Barbara Winfield have been working hard over the last few months with a group of other residents to produce an array of ‘yarn’ bees, butterflies and flowers. These now adorn the Celebration Tree, and some entrances. The highlight is a community artwork decorating the Natter Bench. The artwork has been designed to represent the wild flowers found in the Park around May and June.
Yarn bombing is a form of street art that goes up in unexpected places for a period of around 6 weeks. It is becoming more popular and Abi, who teaches yarn techniques as Daisy Croft Crafts, has also done an artwork for the top of the post box at Towngate.
The Ladies are inviting anyone to add their own work to the yarn bombing extravaganza over the coming weeks. And, if you would like to get ready for future ‘yarn bombing’ events, we have a timetable set out here.
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On a beautiful May, Whitsun morning 14 cleaners turned up in the Park to do a Spring clean for the Keep Britain Tidy, Great British Spring Clean. This included ‘the Professionals’, a group from Little Free Guiseley who have always supported our event, and do such great work every week of the year.
Litter Free Guiseley – were impresed with how clean the Park actually was; an accolade to the regular litter pickers for such a good job.
Amongst our finds on Sunday were, some old, crumbling, underlay with a stash of empty bottles underneath, an aged metal sign probably left from Cromptons, and a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey (which was put in the Kelcliffe Little Library). In the copse were two Menston Primary School Tops – we’ve left these on the natter bench by the Farm Gate to be collected.
A local resident has said she’ll make a collage from the rest of the rubbish found for display – that should be interesting !!
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Our thanks go to student Lily Davies who has spent the Winter and Spring doing her Craven College, Land and Wildlife Management, work placement in the Park supervised by Chris Parapia and Joanna Brooks. Lily has helped plant the Greenshaw Wood, the herb planter, winter pruning in the orchard, the Parkisons Python, and the Easter Trail. We’ve all been impressed with her hard work, and enthusiasm.
For her main project we asked her to improve the Greenshaw Gate entrance with a suitable planting scheme and are pleased she was just able to complete that before the end of her time with us. (Labour and advice were provided by Martyn Hornsby-Smith and Jennifer Kirkby.)
The gate is on the edge of woodland, and is in shade for a lot of time, so it was ideal for a woodland planting scheme of ferns, foxgloves, bulbs and woodland edge shrubs. Our aim is to improve all entrances into the Park over time, and there are different groups of people who look after each entrance. If you would like to take on Lily’s work and look after the Greenshaw Gate email us at email@example.com.
Our thanks also to Bettys Harrogate who provided the woodland plants for this and other entrance gates through their Trees For Life Fund. Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate donated over £3,300 to disability charity Open Country, to pay for nine days of their time on conservation work at parks and nature reserves across Lower Wharfedale as well as the purchase of plants and saplings to create new habitats for nature. An article from the Wharfedale explains more:-
The colder weather recently has meant many plants are flowering a few weeks late. Still, there is a lot to see, and a lot of promise budding up for the weeks to come.
Besides the delightful English bluebells, and the blossom on the apple, pear and crabapple trees, here are some of the other highlights to look out for.
Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)
As pretty as stars, this member of the carnation family grows in abundant clusters in areas of the Park. Named after their herbal use in curing ‘stitch’, they are also plant food for bees and especially moths. They have an explosive seed-dispersal mechanism. In late spring, when the seed capsules ripen, they can be heard popping as they noisily fire their seeds. Some say that if you pick greater stitchwort, you will cause a thunderstorm !!
Cowslip (Primula veris)
Cowslips are beginning to flower in the wildflower meadow. A traditional native flower they are important nourishment for bees, beetles and butterflies such as the brimstone and Duke of Burgundy . The plant is said to have sedative qualities and was traditionally used to treat sleeping problems and coughs. The Spanish add the leaves to recipes for a citrusy flavour; they also traditionally flavour English country wine.
Following Andy’s excellent review of the first walk, and some people wanting to attend for a second time, we have been oversubscribed on the second walk given current Government restrictions. Therefore, with restrictions on outdoor gathering due to relax on 17th May, there will now be a Dawn Chorus Walk on Friday 21st May with Darren Shepherd.
This morning, in the early hours that coincided with sunrise, a group of us ventured out onto the Park to experience one of nature’s true splendours, the famous “Springtime Dawn Chorus”.
Binoculars at the ready
Bleary eyed and fuelled with coffee we gathered together at the Nethercliffe Entrance, and soon were wide awake. It was impossible not to be when listening in to the Park’s extensive bird population all proudly advertising themselves and warning off rivals who might dare to enter their territory.
Fortunately for us, we had local bird watching expert and founder of the Wharfedale Wildlife Facebook Group (WWG), Darren Shepherd in attendance, ready and willing to offer us guidance and decipher the mass of sound that we were confronted by.
Over the last year the Park has increasingly used the lovely knitted, crochet and even tatted items, made by local people for decorating the Celebration Tree, (mostly ladies, but there might be some men 🙂 ). Well, we now know this art form has a name, Yarn Bombing; and it seems that it is becoming international, with yarn bombing festivals, including one in Hawes. (Apparently the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire kicked off the idea.)
The definition of Yarn Bombing is – Yarn bombing is a street art, a form of graffiti using textiles instead of paint. Yarn bombers might add tags, put up murals, leave messages or cover parts of or whole inanimate objects. The artwork stays up for up to 6-8 weeks.
It is now getting so popular that Yarn Bombing groups are forming so that they can go out and brighten up their local public spaces. The Parkinson’s Park ladies are keen on doing the same – now they’ve got going with Remembrance, Valentines and Easter.
They’ve put together a timetable of themes for the year – to go on the Celebration Tree, or Farm Gate. They’d welcome anyone to join in as well – especially as this is a ‘guerilla’ art form. Patterns for ideas for each theme will be put on the Parkinson’s Park facebook page
Yarn Bombing Plan For 2021
June/July - Bees, Butterflies and Flowers. Start June 6th.
September - Space eg stars and planets. Start Sept 4th ready for the Children's Gala
November - Remembrance week collection for Royal British Legion. Start 7th November
Advent - Christmas decoration Start Wednesday 1st December
To stress, this is open to anyone who’d like to join in with the theme. But if you do want more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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A big thank you to Martyn Smith and Colin Alexander for mending the wall at the Nethercliffe Entrance today. Both are Friends of the Park and also experienced members of Otley and Yorkshire Dales Drystone Walling Group. Both have done walling exhibitions at the Great Yorkshire Show – so we hope the area is now much much improved !!
The wall is one of the original Kelcliffe field walls dating back centuries, and although there was a lot of missing stone, they found enough lying around in other areas of the Park to just finish the repair.
Michael Buckle will now be doing some planting improvements to the entrance with some willow that has been donated by G Clarke Landscaping Ltd. There are also some new trees being planted which has come from a grant for woodland from Betty’s of Harrogate.
If anyone would like to learn dry stone walling, the Group are the ones at Surprise View on the Chevin, and they do regular training courses. Details here
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