Highlights of previous years’ activities show our continuing commitment to the Park and all who use it.
Some of our achievements since 2011
We have produced a newsletter each year. To see our 2023 newsletter, visit the website Newsletters page. There wasn’t one in 2021 but we produced our special edition in 2022, to commemorate the 120 years that the Park has been open to the public.
BIRD FEEDING In the trees near the Riverside Rotunda, and along Small Lime Walk, the Friends have replenished the bird feeders, and fed the birds between November and April each year.
HISTORY PROJECT With Lottery funding, the fountain in the Italian Garden was refurbished and two wicker deer were installed in 2013, following workshops with local children. Researchers investigated the history of Towneley Park, and published a free History of Towneley Park leaflet, called The Changing Landscape (available free from the Hall foyer) and Mr Barwise dahlias were planted in the grounds.
A blog of additional historical information can be found on www.towneleypark.wordpress.com.and the Changing Landscape leaflet has been updated and reprinted in 2017, 2021 and 2023
Two bronze deer had been located in the Italian Garden until the 1960s’, when they were removed, and one of them can now be seen in the Wild About Burnley Gallery in Towneley Hall. In 2020 two metal deer were re-instated in the Italian Garden, with funds raised by the Friends of Towneley Park.
WETLAND AREA IMPROVEMENTS – Following prolonged discussions with interested parties about the land-slip on the wetlands footpath from Fulledge recreation ground to the Unity College drive, and the poor condition of the surrounding area, The Ribble Rivers Trust Project gained funding to tackle the problems. Work started in February 2013 to deal with the artesian well; improve the area surrounding the wetland; and complete the pathway leading from Todmorden Road into the heart of the park. In March 2013 Ribble Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and Friends of Towneley Park volunteers planted trees and rushes in the area and raked and sowed wildflower seed along the edges of the footpath. It is good the see how this area is now a small woodland area, helping to keep pollution from entering the river Calder. 16 fruit trees were planted in 2021 along the edge of the woodland, overlooking the Fulledge Recreation area.
TRAILS at Easter, Christmas, Hallow E’en, and Summer On Easter Sunday afternoon each year the Friends have arranged a trail around the park, encouraging children and their families to appreciate the variety of wildlife that can be seen within the park. The children complete a puzzle and gain a small reward for their efforts. The Friends make a small charge, and thus raise funds to be spent improving the Park.
For many years children have visited Santa when he came to Towneley. Due to the refurbishment of the Hall his visit was suspended in 2022 but he’s coming back in 2023. There’ll be a Christmas Trail, a colouring in trail for little ones and a questions trail for older children and adults, which will be running in the Hall from 2nd to 23rd December.
For those who want a half term activity, our Hallow E’en or Plant Pot People trail has provided fun and activity for all the family. Our Wood and Wool Trail, and our Poetry and Craft Trail and Scarf and Ribbon Trail have all engaged passers by in summer. In 2023 our Summer Parkcraft Trail kept children and their families searching for the building bricks of a successful park, and identifying any additional resources they would like to see in Towneley Park. Due to the kind donations of prizes by stores, organisations and individuals, including Burnley Leisure, many of the successful entries were able to gain a prize. Well done to all.
ACTIVITIES WITH WORSTHORNE, BRUNSHAW, ST STEPHEN’S AND BRUNSHAW PRIMARY SCHOOLS have continued each year. Wildflower seeds were sown along the edge of Woodgrove Car Park and along the wetlands area footpath in 2013. Visits were made to see the spring flowering daffodils planted along the Ha-ha and on Towneley Holmes Road. In all 20,000 daffodils were planted over 10 years. The pupils were encouraged to pick litter on their way back to school, to encourage them to help look after the park and not drop litter.
The schools took part in wicker workshops in 2013, each pupil weaving a willow ‘fish’ to learn about the process of willow weaving, and to appreciate the work that had gone into making the wicker deer for the Italian Garden.
In successive years they planted daffodil bulbs, pulled up Himalayan Balsam, and in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 the Friends of Towneley Park funded the Ribble Rivers Trust to run a “Trout in the Classroom” project with each of the schools, This encouraged the children to look after the growing trout and then release them into the River Calder. They examined the creatures living in the river, and were helped to realise that littering the environment causes problems for their trout and the other creatures in the river. Trees have been planted by the children, with Ribble Rivers Trust, and we look forward to seeing them grow.
TREE PLANTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
In 2019 a group of young people working to gain entry to military service and training with “Evolve,” helped to plant 300 trees on the edge of Wilson’s Wood. Since then, Trees for Burnley have planted a further 300 whips, all funded through donations to FOTP. In 2022 we have started two small orchards, with apples, pears and cherries; bought standard trees for Thanet Lee and alongside Holmes Road; and replaced rhododendrons for the Azalea beds near the Hall. We look to continue this work with Trees for Burnley and Ribble Rivers Trust throughout the next few years.
OUTDOOR LIGHTING FOR TOWNELEY HALL
FOTP worked in partnership with the Towneley Hall Society to engage acdc Lighting company in the installation of colour change LED lighting at Towneley in 2020. All costs were met by the two organisations and not by the Council. The lighting has since been used for special events locally and nationally, and can be included in wedding plans for future brides and grooms.
THE MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT GROUP (MIG) including gardening, now meet weekly throughout the year, except in extremely wet or windy weather. Each season brings its own tasks, to keep FOTP members busy. We work with the Council Gardeners maintaining the Cafe bed, the Rotary bed, and the Friends bed (outside the walled garden), as well as working to reclaim the overgrown Small Lime Walk, and have established this as a woodland walk within the formal park. Benches have been sanded and painted; notice boards have been repaired; vandalised picnic benches have been restored; Himalayan Balsam has been strimmed and pulled; children’s furniture has been assembled; sculptures have been carved and installed; history boards have been situated around the park; leaflets about the history of the park, balsam picking, walks within the park and maps for mobility scooters and wheelchair users, have been designed by FOTP with Council graphics department, and are freely available at the Rotunda on the Riverside carpark. Money has been raised by selling plants from the Italian garden at the end of the spring season, as well as during other events during the year.
PLANT SALES – As spring bedding plants are removed from the Italian Garden, in May each year, the public are encouraged to buy the plants. The Friends use the money towards the purchase of other resources for the Park. One such project (2021) was the removal of the wicker deer from the Italian Garden, to be replaced by a metal stag and doe, apparently grazing on the lawn.
BRASS BAND IN THE PARK has been another regular fund raising activity in June each year, but in 2020 and 2021 it had to be cancelled due to Covid. It returned in 2022, on the Queen’s Jubilee Weekend on Sunday June 5th and, despite the scaffolding around Towneley Hall, the event was held on the back lawn at Towneley in June 2023.
HIMALAYAN BALSAM removal is an annual activity for the Friends of Towneley Park and the general public during late May, June, July and occasionally August.
In 2021 we were helped by school children from Brunshaw Primary School; young people from a Princes’ Trust project, in conjunction with Ribble Rivers Trust and Lancashire Fire Service; and the Community Payback team.
In summer, free leaflets have been available at the Rotunda explaining why Himalayan Balsam needs to be removed from the park, especially along the riverbanks, and how people can do their part by pulling, breaking and crushing it, to stop it spreading.