A day with Bradford’s Carers

On 20th April, members of our local group spent the day with Carers Resource – a local non-profit organisation that supports unpaid carers in the difficult job that they do. A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability. They may even be juggling paid work with caring responsibilities at home. Carers have a tough job – it can mean unrelenting pressure, little chance to relax and a lot of worry. The system is complicated, and the issue is hidden.

In the latest of a series of walks undertaken with Carers Resource, we took a stroll around the Goitstock Woods area. Close to the village of Harden, it was part of private land owned by the Ferrand family, with access restricted to the general public in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A cotton mill had been built in the area in the late 18th Century but the decline of the industry saw the site lay empty for years from the mid 19th Century. The area eventually became a thriving pleasure resort known as Happy Valley in the 1920s with the old cotton mill turned into a ballroom and cafe. It attracted huge crowds until a major fire destroyed the mill in 1927 and the resort shut in the 1930s after failing to be restored to its former glories. Now part of what is known as the Hidden Valley, the beauty spot is now considered something of a local secret.

An easy walk to begin with, along a tarmacked road to the caravan park. On either side of the road we stopped to admire the carpets of bluebells and the wood anemones with their delicate, pale pink outer petals showing before the white flowers fully open. Glimpses of orange tip butterflies caught the eye along the edge of the stream, whilst watching out for a dipper. The highlight was watching a dipper feeding in the stream near the park, as well as two grey wagtails nearby. The path through the woods was a little uneven but everyone continued on, determined to reach the falls, where we stopped awhile to take in the beautiful surroundings. Rather than double-back, we took the steel staircase to the top of the falls and negotiated the tricky route to Hallas Bridge. We returned to our starting point along the east edge of the woods, some of us stopping at Hatties Tea Room for a light lunch.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the walk and appreciated the opportunity to be part of a group, learning a little about the local history along the way, rather than taking the walk alone.

Birds seen: blackbird, jay, pheasant, great tit, blue tit, dipper, grey wagtail, woodpigeon, robin, coal tit, chaffinch, magpie, chaffinch great spotted woodpecker (heard).

Later in the day, we visited the newly opened Carers’ Resource Allotment and Sensory Garden, located at the Undercliffe Allotments on Northcote Road. Volunteers have been hard at work over the past twelve months developing a very overgrown plot into “the perfect escape from the humdrum of life”. A newly established pond is already attracting wildlife and insect friendly plants and shrubs are being planted.

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The plan is for the allotment to be available for carers most weekdays. If you would be interested in helping out at this important inner-city site, or would just like to pop in for a visit, contact Becca on bmarshall@carersresource.org or 07842 312 719.