Around 1861, when the American Civil War was raging, Prince Albert was breathing his last, and Mrs Beeton was publishing her cookery book, someone in Guiseley, planted, these magnificent sycamore trees. It is said that to “plant a tree is to give body and life to one’s dreams of a better world” (Russell Page). Well, it is a matter of opinion if the world is better, or not, in 2012; but it is now our turn to look after these trees for future generations. Fortunately, they are all healthy and just need dead wood removing. Around this area in the summer, we are also hoping to run a project to establish a wild flower meadow for the Queen’s Jubilee as part of an RHS programme; but more of that later, when we have got permission from Bellway.
We turn the history book now to around 1908; Mrs Pankhurst was being sent to prison for militant suffrage, the Olympics were held in Britain for the first time, and David Lloyd George, the Liberal chancellor, was raising tax on high earners, car licences and petrol, to pay for welfare schemes and a rearmament programme, provoked by Germany’s rapidly growing power in Europe !! At the same time someone planted a row of oaks on Clapper Brow. Since the cows left the Park, and the sledging dwindled, these have seeded an oak wood, which now mixes with the sycamores and maple planted in the 1980’s, and the undergowth of bluebells, to provide a classic dales feature. The Friends again will be the guardian, for a while, of this legacy.
Finally, Friends of Parkinson’s Park have been awarded around 100 trees from the Woodland Trust as part of the Queen’s Jubilee wood project. When we finally have permission from Bellway to plant them, we are hoping to run a project in March to establish them in scrub areas around the woods and park edges, to create a fruitful habitat for wildlife.
If you would like to help in any of these projects, let us know.