The Friends of Oakwell Hall’s past projects have been very varied over the years, indoors and out. We have, in the past:
- Dug out the duck pond (twice!). We obtained a grant from Shell to re-edge this and the island. (The work was done in winter so as not to disturb the ducks.)
- Helped build the Kirklees Waymark (there are seven tons of stone in that!).
- Redone the original water feed into the wildlife pond (it was just a bit of hose pipe originally!).
- Built the bridge next to the Bridleway (it was originally a bit of Stanlow refinery).
- We also took over the publishing of our newsletter. This was so successful that we won awards, but we always need fresh articles, so why not contribute?
At the same time as these outside activities, we were just as busy in the Hall with our guiding and stewarding activities. And the Broiderers completed a cover for the settle, which is in the Great Hall.
Perhaps the largest recent project was the restoration of the Walled Garden. Friend Beatrice Myers had a huge input into this, which led to a Royal visit. A fitting culmination of a lot of hard work both in the past and present.
We also helped plan and finance the ‘Filddlehead And Fernblades‘ sculpture in the colliery field as part of our 20th-year celebrations. Inspiration for the sculpture, which was created by artist Adrian Moakes, came from the park’s landscapes, wildlife and local people.
The sculpture was a multi-agency project. We worked with groups from Fieldhead, Oakwell Staff, and visitors to the park on this project. By involving the Fieldhead groups, we aim to encourage the park’s local community to visit more often and use the park. The Friends and staff also worked in partnership with the arts agency LOCA, receiving nearly £10,000 of funding from the Lottery’s Awards for All.
The Oakwell Hall Friends also helped with the planning and creation of the Wild About Water feature now in the Hall grounds. The image at the top of this page shows one of our volunteers in that area of the grounds.
We supported the installation of the new gates by fundraising and you can learn more about these on the statues and sculptures page.
The Friends of Oakwell Hall were involved in the research around the refurbishment of the Countryside Information Centre. We are also collecting information on the railway line that ran from Birstall through the park. If you can offer help, assistance or memories about this part of the park’s history, we’d like to hear from you.
It’s not all hard work, however. We enjoy a good chat and laugh with each other and the staff when we’re on duty. Everyone is very friendly – Friends indeed.
Looking back over the years, we’ve faced many challenges and problems in the Friends’ past projects. But we’ve learned a lot of new skills, made a lot of friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. So have a look at our volunteering page, or come and join us – we can guarantee an interesting time.