Category Archives: Local News


Friday 12 to Sunday 21 July 2019 is #LoveParksWeek and Calderdale Council are encouraging you to use their many parks by giving you a different reason each day to get out & enjoy your favourite Calderdale park!

Your open & green spaces offer wildlife, beautiful surroundings, games, sports and more.

Discover Jungle Experience in award winning Manor Heath Park, Explore the beautifully restored grounds at Shibden or enjoy the beautiful flowers at Wellhome Park.

Calderdale boasts a unique landscape and rich heritage which is reflected in the regions’ Parks and Open Spaces.

Open and green spaces have so much to offer from enjoying wildlife and relaxing in beautiful surroundings, to taking part in games and sports.

There is such a variety of things to do and see in Calderdale’s many parks:


LOCAL HISTORY: Shibden Hall Park

Shibden Hall has been in the news for the last month or so as the setting for “Gentleman Jack” the BBC’s dramatization of Anne Lister’s life.

But what is the background story of the wonderful parkland that surrounds the Hall? Calderdale Council have published a short history of the park and its management.

Link: Shibden Park Estate Website

  • Shibden Hall was built towards the end of the 15th century and has evolved to suit the needs of its owners. The Otes family were the first recorded inhabitants of the estate c.1420, followed by subsequent generations of gentleman clothiers who lived there during the 15th and 16th centuries.  The changes that have taken place within the house, and its collections, reflect this evolutionary process and the people that lived there and used them.

    Grade II* listed Shibden Hall was owned by the Lister family for over 300 years.  A major period of alteration to the building came in the 1830s under the direction of Anne Lister, transforming it into a 19th century ‘Tudor’ hall set in a picturesque landscape.  The 17th century aisled barn contains a collection of horse drawn vehicles.  The roof timbering is a fine example of construction typical of the 17th century.

    The park comprised 36 hectares, 90 acres, (now 31 h, 76 acres) of the estate in about 1836, when romantic elements were introduced into the landscape with the creation of the cascade and wilderness to the south of the Hall, and the new lake in the valley, by the landscape architect William Gray. The terrace was created by the architect John Harper to provide Shibden with an elevated platform.  The house looks due south and incorporates tunnels at the eastern end to provide access to the terrace and park for the gardening staff.

    Whilst many of the plans were completed prior to Anne Lister’s death in 1840, much of the sweeping, open parkland was put in place by her successor, Dr. John Lister.  A ‘Paisley Shawl’ garden, in the form of serpentine shaped beds, was created on the terrace in 1855, with the addition of a lean-to conservatory at the eastern end and a new pond, fed by the cascade, below the terrace.

    The park opened to the public in 1926 and has developed as recreational facility since then.  Changes to the landscape character since that time include:

  • 1926 formalising of the mere to a boating lake, new path network and entrance 
  • 1930s planting of an avenue of trees along the middle drive 
  • 1930s bandstand erected on lower grassed area (demolished) 
  • 1940s additional parcels of land incorporated into park, including clay workings which are now a pitch and putt course
  • 1953 creation of one of the country’s first folk museums within the outbuildings at the rear of the hall by Frank Atkinson (Beamish) 
  • 1970s toilets and other park facilities appear in the lower park (may  have replaced earlier buildings) 
  • 1980s closure of the Council nursery within the kitchen garden (Cunnery Wood)  Miniature Railway introduced to the lower park 
  • 1990s gradual decline of kitchen garden walls, native woodland tree species planted and native flora supported in Cunnery Wood. Formal bedding and modern shrub bed planting in lower park along with extension of woodland areas within the park

Upon the death of John Lister in 1933, the hall passed to the people of Halifax and opened to the public as a museum in 1934.  The folk museum, housed in the 17th century aisled barn and outbuildings, was developed by Frank Atkinson (creator of Beamish) and opened in 1953.

The Shibden Park Restoration Project 

Following approval by the Heritage Lottery Fund in December 2005, the restoration project was tendered and construction work commenced in March 2007. This construction project was completed in July 2008. The main elements of the restoration project were: 

  • Repair of terrace walls, the lodge, barn (gardeners depot)  
  • Opening of the Gardeners tunnel  
  • Wilderness Garden and cascades restored including rockwork, planting and footpaths 
  • Lily pond repaired and creation of new pond to re-form original shape, planting and estate railings 
  • Tunnel under Shibden Hall Road repaired and opened for public access 
  • Boundary walls repaired (part) 
  • Cunnery Wood footpath link to the tunnel 
  • Red Beck walls repaired (part) and bridges repaired 
  • The Mere walls repaired, marginal planting and footpath improvements 
  • Construction of a new boathouse 
  • New borehole supply to the Mere to improve water quality 
  • New gates to Lister’s Road entrance 
  • Repairs to Lister’s Road bridge and new footpath to main drive 
  • New gates to Main Park entrance  
  • Car parks and access and drainage improved 
  • Footpath improvements and repairs 
  • Tree planting and appropriate removal to restore historic vistas 
  • New inclusive play equipment 
  • Play area toilets refurbished  
  • Park furniture renewed, Interpretation and signage installed 
  • The refreshment kiosk, café and toilets were demolished and replaced by the new visitor’s centre, café and rangers office  
  • New toilets at the Museum car park
  • Other features within the estate include an exhibit of dry stone walling techniques constructed by the Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA), the Miniature Railway, the pitch & putt course, boating facility and paddling pool.

DIET: Are Meat Substitutes Healthier?

With vegetarian and vegan diets become more popular, we are right to ask whether meat substitutes are actually healthier than meat itself.

Of course, it depends on the particular product, how a person prepares it, and which meat they are comparing it with.

It’s not always better to eat a meat substitute, especially if the substitute is high in sugar, salt, saturated fats, or processed ingredients. In these cases, and if you have no moral objections to eating meat, it’s better to be eating fish or organic chicken breast. Meats are also rich sources of protein and contain all the essential amino acids. They also contain iron and vitamin B-12, which many plant foods do not contain.

However, eating lots of processed, salted meats may not be better than eating natural meat alternatives.

However, meat also contains no fiber and may contain cholesterol and saturated fat. The American Institute for Cancer Research say that eating more than 18 oz of red meat per week raises the risk of colorectal cancer.

Also, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggest that eating some meat is fine and may be beneficial, as fish contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats. However, they also suggest that people minimize their intake of processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and meats high in saturated fats.

People who are not following a vegetarian or vegan diet may find that substituting with meat alternatives is both healthful and environmentally conscious. It’s now generally recognised that society’s higher consumption of processed and red meat led to increased CO2 emissions, which are harmful to the environment.

The website Medical News Today recently published an article comparing and evaluating the nutritional value of the various meat substitutes – Read Article

HEALTH: Treating Back Pain

Chronic or long-term back pain can be challenging for doctors to treat. However, it is possible to treat back pain without surgery, such as having spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and making lifestyle changes. Many people only find relief by trying a range of treatments and it’s always worth looking at alternatives if your current treatment isn’t working.

Low back pain is thought to affect 80% of adults at some point in their lives. The pain may develop suddenly as a result of a muscle strain caused by heavy lifting or an accident. Other times, conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or scoliosis can cause back pain.

Sometimes, and depending on the cause, doctors may recommend surgery to treat chronic back pain.

However, surgery is not always necessary. Other treatment options that can improve or relieve back pain include home remedies, alternative medicine, and lifestyle changes. A person may wish to try these options before deciding on surgery.

Back pain has many different causes and varies in severity. There is no single treatment that works for everyone.

A really useful article on the Medical News Today website explores the evidence behind 11 nonsurgical treatments for back pain – Read Article

SOCIAL: Copley Lunch Club

Disability Partnership Calderdale is partnering up with Calderdale Council and Stonewater housing to run a new series of Luncheon Clubs in Copley, aimed at anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned lunch club.

The first was held on 5 July and was a great success, with a lively mix of music, quiz, a movement session and, of course, a great lunch.

  • Dates: 2 August, 6 September, 4 October (First Friday of the month)
  • Time: 11am – 1.30pm
  • Venue: Copley Mill House, Copley Village, Halifax HX3 0UY
  • Booking: places are limited, so please pre-book a place by calling Robyn Allen at Copley Mill House on 07471 907 189

Everyone is welcome to these new Luncheon Club dates. Each will include a 2-course lunch for just £3.99, plus a range of optional entertainments, including a quiz, music and light excercise.

MONEY: Energy Saving Tips

If you plan energy saving improvements to your home before winter kicks in, you could save yourself time and money.

Top no-cost energy saving tips

· Switch Energy supplier or tariff

· Turn your thermostat down by 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year.

· In the worst weather keeping your heating on constantly on a low heat e.g. 15c overnight, this could potentially save you more money than switching it on and off for big blasts of heat.

· Turn unnecessary lights and appliances off and don’t leave on standby. A typical household could save between £90 and £150 a year just by turning off appliances left on standby.

· Be careful in the kitchen – You can save over £55 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances. The following tips can help you reach this saving:

· Wash your clothes at 30-40 °C.

· Use a bowl to wash up rather than the whole sink; do not leave the hot tap running.

· Just boil the amount of water in your kettle that you need.

· Use the smallest pan and cooker ring possible.

· Turn the pressure down on the power shower.

· Avoid pre-rinsing dishes in hot water; just scrape dishes before they go in the dish washer.

· Air-dry your laundry outside rather than tumble drying it, or use a creel or maiden.

· Save ironing time by taking your clothes out of the dryer before they’re completely dry – they’ll iron much quicker.

Insulation tips

Draught proofing: DIY draught proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards could cost up to £115, but could save £55 a year in a draughty home, so these works can pay for themselves in just over two years.

Tank and pipe insulation: If you already have a hot water tank jacket fitted, check the thickness, it should be at least 75mm thick. Fitting a British Standard jacket will cost around £15 DIY, cut heat loss by over 75% and save you around £45 a year. Fitting pipe insulation will cost around £10 and save you around £15 a year.

Cavity wall insulation: If a home was built after 1920, the chances are that its external walls are made of two layers of brick with a gap or cavity between them. The average installation cost for cavity wall insulation is between £450 and £500 and can save up to £140 a year.

Loft insulation: It is recommended you have at least 270mm (ten inches) of loft insulation. The cost of installing loft insulation is up to £300. You could save up to £180 a year if your loft is uninsulated by installing 270mm of insulation. Even if you have some insulation, by topping up from 100mm to 270mm could save around £50 a year.

Solid wall insulation: If your home was built before 1920, its external walls are probably solid rather than cavity walls. The cost of installing internal wall insulation is £5,000 to £8,000 and you could save around £460 a year. The cost of installing external wall insulation is £9,000 to £13,000 and you could save around £490 a year.

Heating tips

Heating controls -Whatever the age of your boiler, control the time and temperature in the rooms where you want your heating, this will save you money. Here are the average savings you could make in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home, heated by gas:

Install a central timed thermostat (if you didn’t have one before): £125 – saving approximately £100 per year.

Fit a hot water tank controller and thermostat: £30 – approximate saving of £45 a year

Replace your boiler – Boilers account for around 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills. Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls will cost around £2,000 – and could save you as much as £310 a year.

FALLS: Finding Your Feet Classes

If you are over 50 and have fallen, fear of falling or problems with your balance and live in Calderdale, the Finding your feet exercise class could benefit you. To discuss concerns about falling, or receive a falls risk assessment and advice please contact Calderdale Council’s Gateway to Care on 01422 393000 to discuss a referral to the Community Rehabilitation Team.