The Hepworth Wakefield is Yorkshire’s major new art gallery and the new social hub. Designed by the award winning David Chipperfield Architects it clearly puts Wakefield on the map. An artistic legacy set to inspire and enrich the lives of the residents and visitors alike from the UK and abroad. The Hepworth opened in May 2011 and is already a success with an exciting programme of contemporary art, sculpture and displays and a number of events to celebrate this opening year.
My recent visit with a friend was delightful and although we were not allowed to photograph the exhibits inside, the images not in the programme are fresh in our memories along with our different interpretation, likes and dislikes.
Another visit maybe next year and a picnic next time although the café served delicious food and drinks.
Rodley Nature Reserve: Wildlife and Wetland close to the heart of Leeds.
Rodley Nature Reserve
I visited Rodley Nature Reserve recently and had a lovely day on an organised ‘Nature Watch’ event. The reserve is designed to bring wetland wildlife back into the Leeds area and after around 10 years of sheer hard work of a number of volunteers they have done what they set out to achieve.
The nature reserve has been created on a floodplain in Kirkstall Valley, a recognised 'flyway' for wildfowl and waders on migration, the wetland habitats constructed here compliment the nearby River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Both me and my son, armed with cameras, arrived early for the ’Springwatch’ 8am start on this particularly sunny Saturday in June….perfect! After a quick coffee and a chat with people of all ages, we eagerly crowded around the moth traps, the first thing on the list. The traps had been set over-night prior to our visit and we were delighted to see a variety of moths. We were able to take photos of the sleepy creatures once identification of each species had been made and meticulously recorded by members of the reserve. Experts were to hand to ask questions and to talk about the various habits of each individual moth, which by this time were in clear jars to allow for closer inspection.
Mammal traps were next, which again had been set up the eve before we arrived. Small flags marked the spot in the undergrowth here and there where the traps were hidden and we all gathered around as the activated ones revealed either a mouse or a vole, which was deftly dropped into a plastic bag for us all to identify. The creatures looked none the worse for their stay in a ‘hotel’. All had nibbled sufficiently on slices of juicy carrot (which they had been tempted with in the first place) to sustain them over-night. The flags which marked the spot were not removed until the mammals were released exactly where they were found. Small flagstones were lifted to reveal newts and suchlike and records kept of significant finds.
After that, it was bird, butterfly and dragonfly walks in the sunshine which again delighted all and many photographs and a few bird hides later it was back to base to see the stalls with model otter holts, an active beehive and to buy honey....yum!
Tired out at this point and having other things to do back home, we reluctantly had to skip the pond-dipping etc……..
Note: My visit was a special event day. Please see the site for future events available and/or what is available on normal days for you to peruse at your leisure. Café and Disabled toilet on site. The next thing on the agenda for me is the 'Bat Walk' to join the 'West Yorkshire Bat Group' with special bat detector equipment in July 2011. See site link for details.
Entry is free for most things I believe but a donation to reflect your enjoyment and appreciation will help run the reserve now and in the future. The reserve also relies on volunteers to continue the good work should you have time spare to help out. I hope to help out in the cafe perhaps just as soon as my application to volunteer is processed.
Opening times are limited (see informative site below). Large Community groups of all kinds welcome with prior arrangements. The reserve is mostly wheelchair and pushchair friendly given good weather. No dogs apart from guide dogs allowed to prevent disturbance to wildlife. Well worth a visit or three at different times of the year. Click on link:Rodley Nature Reserve
The content within this website is varied and of interest to all ages and walks of life - fun activities for the young, information of latest sightings on the reserve, forthcoming events, newsletters, educational resources and information on how you can become a volunteer or friend of Rodley Nature Reserve.
A sellection of my photos of Rodley Nature Reserve below:
Yeadon Tarn (also known as Yeadon Dam) is a lovely place anytime of the year. It's the first place I think of if I want to take a walk locally. Over the years I must have done hundreds of circuits and taken as many photographs. Every time I go there I feel at peace and I never get tired of it even when it's cold.
On this Wintery day, the majority of the tarn is frozen over. A normally shy swan hurries over for first dibs of the breadcrumbs before the rush.
Just yards away the Leeds and Bradford Airport runway with the latest arrival and boats going snowhere.
More about Yeadon Tarnfield Park
Tarnfield Park is located between High Street and the airport runway and is open all year round. It is extremely popular with people of all ages. The tarn is used for sailing and fishing. Mallard ducks, swans and a sizable population of Canada Geese can be found here and there.
Most footpaths are suitable for the majority of manual and electric wheelchair users. Younger visitors can enjoy the playground and BMX track.
For the more active visitor to the park the tarn, the main feature of the park, is used for various water sports activities and is the base for the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre. For more information regarding the club and its activities, you can visit their web page by clicking on www.yeadonsailingclub.co.uk or contact them on telephone number 0113 250 3616.
If you would like to enjoy a day fishing in the tarn, you can get tickets from the Aireborough and District Angling Association, please contact them on telephone number 01532 784 445.
On occasional Sunday afternoons in the Summer there is entertainment from some of the region's leading brass bands. The ice-cream van appears as randomly as the sun shine.
The park is also an excellent location for great views of the planes taking off and landing at Leeds and Bradford Airport.
Open all year round, free entry and free car parking. No smoking or cycling ( small childrenon bikes etc seems acceptable) Dog friendly.
By car – from Leeds city centre take the A58 signposted for Ilkley and the Airport and continue forward onto the A65 until you reach Yeadon. Turn right onto Harrogate Road – B6152 and turn left onto High Street, the main car park entrance is on your right hand side (the car parks are free).
By Public Transport -The number 33 bus from Leeds stops on Yeadon HIgh Street. Walk away from the High Street and toward the roundabout. Take the next left and continue down the road for five minutes and the Tarn is on the right. 2 miles from guiseley train station.
My New Hobby
Exhibition October 2010
I recently joined an art club in Guiseley near Leeds and I have met some lovely people there. We meet every week in the Oxford Road Methodist Church hall for a few hours of artistic creativity.
We can either do our own topic with our artwork or follow the inspirational ideas in the programme for that week on what to paint. Last week the topic was 'Local area in the style of L.S. Lowry' which was fun. Next week we are having a demonstration on how to use pastels. Further on in the calendar, one suggestion that has really caught my eye is: 'Volcanic Eruption'..... looking forward to that one!
At coffee time we chat and peruse each other’s work. It’s an opportune time for me to ask other members of the club about techniques that they used to get the effect that they have achieved on their artwork of rolling waves or thunderous clouds for instance. Everyone is happy to share their secrets and helpful tips and they also give me lots of encouragement.
The Things I Get Up To In The Church Hall
I remember one particular session at the art club, much more than the very first, when we had the opportunity to draw a male model to broaden our life drawing skills.The group had quickly got down to work filling in large sheets of paper with their personal choice of medium. I had a small sketch pad and an array of pencils and managed a few simple sketches as the model posed ten minutes at a time before changing position.
The model was asked if he would recline for the last session to allow him a more comfortable pose so that we could take more time over sketching in the details. I struggled to know just where to start on this particular pose and someone helpfully suggested that I used the pencil and thumb method and look through one eye to measure the subject in a true artist style. I tried this but eventually decided to concentrate on the models head and shoulders where I could see a rather nice tattoo of a tiger. This distracted me from the rest of his anatomy and fortunately for the model, I ran out of time to do him any great injustice.
Our Autumn Art Club Exhibition
Exhibition October 2010
Guiseley Art Club had an exhibition recently to promote the club and entice new members. I felt brave enough to enter some of my paintings which you can just about make out on the photograph. I haven’t developed a particular style yet but I’m having great fun experimenting with different mediums.
From left to right ‘Blaze of Glory’ an Autumn tree done in acrylic paint from imagination. The second one is ‘River Arno in Pisa’ in watercolour which was copied from a photo taken whilst on holiday in Italy earlier this year. The third and fourth paintings in acrylic were untitled Zebras for a while but I have now christened them ‘Ziya’ meaning ‘Light’ and ‘Zulema’ meaning ‘Peace’. The fifth one ‘Purple Maze’ an abstract in acrylic….. the least said about that one the better!