Thursday, 18 March 2010

Northcliffe Park

I saw these glorious yellow crocuses in Northcliffe Park, Shipley the other day. There aren't many yet, but in the sunshine they looked so cheerful - a real promise of joy and new things.

Northcliffe Park exists due to the foresight and generosity of a local man, Henry Norman Rae MP. During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, there were many small open-cast coal mines in the area, meeting the demand for coal to produce steam-power for the mills and factories. When the fifth Earl of Rosse put up much of his land around Shipley for auction, Mr Rae (later Sir H Norman Rae) bought Lots 98 & 99 and, in 1920, generously gifted them to Shipley Urban District Council to be used as a public park and playing fields in perpetuity. The area is still managed by the local Council. It comprises a small area of formal gardens, playing fields, a bowling green and tennis courts, a children's playground, allotments - some of which are a horticultural project for people with learning difficulties - and a large area of (mainly oak) woodland along the valley of a small beck (stream).

The name Northcliffe was originally North Clough - a clough is a steep-sided ravine, and there are many in this area. They tend to have survived as natural areas as they were unsuitable for agriculture and development. It's an attractive area and the group called the 'Friends of Northcliffe Park' do a great job of helping manage it, promoting wildlife and encouraging people to use the park.

7 comments:

  1. How interesting. We had a friend up this weekend and on Saturday we were driving around your neck of the woods. She asked whether there had ever been coal mines in the area and I said I thought not. I stand corrected.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ours have made it as well; gorgeous weather the last couple of days.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I take my hat off to these people who devote their time and passion to managing places like this. The crocus are a delightful colour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful crocuses! Mine should be blooming soon!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Alan - I don't think the mines were very big affairs, but the whole area shows signs of open-cast mining and quarrying if you look closely - chunks of the land carved out - though I too had not really noticed it before.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really enjoy learning about where you live and it's history. The Crocus look so pretty growing up through the grass and moss.

    ReplyDelete

No WV here but I've enabled comment moderation on older posts so I don't miss any of your messages. I love reading them - thank you! And thanks for visiting my blog.