Thursday 27 October 2011

Oakwell Hall

As it's half term, Mick took a couple of days holiday at the start of the week. Looking at the weather today, I think he chose the right days to take off work, it's a really dreary, grey, rainy day today. Monday was much brighter and we decided to have a day out.

We've been meaning to visit Oakwell Hall for some time. It's situated in Birstall which is over the other side of Leeds from us, but still only a twenty minute car journey. Daniel and Eleanor have both visited it in primary school when they were learing about the Tudors, they had to dress up in Tudor outfits and took part in a Tudor day there.

Oakwell hall is an Elizabethan manor house which was built in 1583. Unfortunately, on the day we visited, it was closed due to a heating failure so we didn't get to look around it, but apparently, it's furnished as it would have been in the 1690's when the Batt family resided there. Charlotte Bronte visited the hall in the 19th century and featured it as the home of the heroine in Shirley.

Even the gardens have been restored to to the condition they would have been seen in around 1690, and the plants date from before that time.

There's lots of these living willow structures in the gardens. I'm sure they'll cast a lovely shade and give somewhere cool to sit in sunny weather.

We came across this fellow on the lawn outside the hall. It's a carved stone ram, though it's origins are a mystery. It's not known how he came to be at Oakwell, how old he is or who carved him.

The hall and gardens stand in over 110 acres of country park which has been formed by a mix of woodland, farmland and a reclaimed colliery. in the 1960's, Gomersal Colliery employed over 360 men. The mine closed in 1973. There's some information about Life Dahn t'Pit, or Life Down The Pit for those of you who don't understand the Yorkshire dialect.

There's also a metal sculpture depicting two miners.

The country park is extensive and there is a nature trail which you can follow which takes a figure of eight route. It's good to know that the fields at Oakwell are being managed with wildlife in mind.

There was plenty of space for Archie to have a good run off his lead. It seems that the park is a favourite for dog walkers as we came across a great many of them exercising their dogs on Colliery Field. In one corner of the field is a sculpture, Fiddlehead and Fernblades, which stands over six metres tall.

There's a fabulous playground at Oakwell with lots of play equipment. Daniel and Eleanor may be teenagers but they couldn't resist having a go themselves. There's a cafe with very reasonable prices and also a shop which sells lots of little pocket money priced souvenirs, though I wouldn't like to see the giant rodent which they had in their window in my garden.

It was a lovely day out and another great place which accepts dogs. We'll definitely return, I'd like the chance to have a look around the hall.


  1. Looks a great place to visit. Another one to jot down and go to. You did pick the best day to go. Weathers horrible here too. I wanted to prune my trees today :(

  2. I agree with Karen, it looks like a beautiful day for you all. What a great choice for everyone, and so nice to hear about others enjoying it too.

    Thanks for sharing all the history behind the house and mine. I loved reading it, just fascinating.

    More GREAT BLOG POSTS please!

    Sft x

  3. Looks like a nice day out, that rodent is a wee bit creepy, was it once real? Looks like I've missed a few of your posts, Temple Newsam looks nice, we are lucky too, around us are such lovely places to just go for a walk.

  4. I do enjoy posts like this that are interesting and informative with terrific photos.

  5. Thank you for all your lovely comments.

    Karen - It's a great place for dogs, Sherlock would love it. There's lots of woodland too for them to run through.

    saving for travel - I love places with information boards, it makes it so interesting when you know the history behind places.

    Gail - I hope the rodent wasn't once real, it was huge. I think we take it for granted sometimes when we live within easy reach of wonderful places to visit. We have much to be thankful for.

    Flighty - What a lovely comment, thank you, it's very much appreciated.

  6. If it's just 20 minutes away you'll have to pop back and do some of that 8 mile walk!
    Shame you couldn't get inside but the gardens look very pretty and that ram is a very handsome sculpture.
    Lisa x

  7. We'll definitely return, Lisa. I want to explore the gardens a little more on my next visit, and I'd like to see inside the hall too.