(Photos by Olwen Edwards)
Something that has really supported me through the COVID crisis is going for a walk. It’s a simple pleasure that I took for granted before lockdown. As a working , single parent, my pre-covid pace of life was pretty hectic. Oftentimes I would put off going for a walk , because I felt tired or lacking in motivation. During lockdown however, I found myself really looking forward to the part of my day when I could get out for a stroll.
During this difficult period , I would daydream about all the places I would visit once the lockdown measures were lifted. Shaw Park in Holywell Green was one of them. https://thefollyflaneuse.com/shaw-park-sham-castle-halifax-west-yorkshire/
I have lived in Halifax all my life. In the 80’s, I lived in the village of Holywell Green. Shaw Park, (or deer park) was just across the road from where we lived. Myself, brother and kids from the village, played there literally every day. It was a place of wonder to me! It had a fairytale castle, an archway to a magic wishing well, a duck pond and a herd of deer that roamed the hillside in front of the park, leading up to the small hamlet of Jagger Green. The area that is now a nature reserve, was once a Lido, and back then it was fenced off and dilapidated. You could still see the rusty diving board and pool, green with algae. It looked so spooky! we invented stories about it being haunted by the people who had drowned there. Winter in the park was fun too – it has amazing slopes to sledge down also the duck pond would freeze over. I remember our dog and my dad, walking on it and falling through the ice. Ah the rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia!
In the lovely weather we had recently I introduced my friend to Shaw Park – she had never heard of it or indeed had ever been to the village of Holywell Green . My first impressions as we walked around the park, is that it’s much smaller than I remembered! other than that not much has changed. A family of Canada geese now occupy the duck pond and the castle is fenced off. There is still a herd of deer though they live in a paddock now, the nature reserve has replaced the haunted pool, and the wishing well is still there- a refreshing place to cool my feet.
It got me thinking how many other people don’t know about this hidden gem? Perhaps there are lots of places in Calderdale I’ve never heard of? Places of historical interest, forgotten communities? Glorious, green spaces?
What’s your favourite place to go in Calderdale? Do you like me have fond memories of growing up in a small village in North or East Halifax? We would love to hear from you.