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.