Tag Archives: wakefield

The Hepworth and Chantry Chapel

It’s not that I have forgotten this blog, it’s not that I have not been out an about…but it’s just life in general. Life sometimes gets in the way of life.

Plus, the weather has been complete shite here, as we say in Yorkshire.

But yesterday I decided, sod the weather, I am going “out”.  As it is coming up to the season to be jolly, there are lots of Xmas markets around. So off I trot to the one at The Hepworth Wakefield.

I put on my new winter coat and started walking, then after twenty minutes, I went back home. Ordered some waterproof spray, changed coats and set off on my cheapy bike. The stupid coat was supposed to be water resistant. My arse it was..gosh my language this post is atrocious. I blame it on the ridiculous coat. I could take it back and lighten my mood, but gosh..it was warm. I will try the waterproofing spray first. I am hoping resistance is not futile.

Anyway, The Hepworth was very bike friendly, welcoming even.

My cheap £30 bike, that I have used more than my much more expensive bike. No fear of it getting stolen.
See told ya, they welcome cyclists 🙂

The xmas fair (sorry not religious, just love xmas) was more like a good craft fair with a festive brass band and few xmassy items spread around. I enjoyed it for a few minutes…but then it got way to busy and I couldn’t move around or look at anything comfortably. I headed for the food tent and was jokingly insulted because I didn’t know what a ramekin was.

A stall was selling reuseable food covers and she explained the small ones were for ramekins. What are they I ask. The seller tilted her head in a pitying way and said, “oh love, they can also cover your tin of beans”. Charming!

So I went outside to the food vans and bought a Gin and Tonic.

The whole area is lovely and there is a free art gallery to boot!

Then I decided to trundle home, but when in that area I can never resist having a look at Wakefield Bridge and Chantry Chapel.

I might try to find the other three.

I used to work next to this building and have never seen the inside. I was even tempted to go to a service, just so I could see it. BUT, what was that??? Could I see the door open??? Holy Moly the door was opennnnnn!!!!

They were having their own xmas fair, bugger I spent all my money in the other one. Sorry, Chantry Chapel

Here are some photos of the inside and outside.

And now time to cycle home.

World’s comfiest seat.

Maybe time for some fish and chips too.

Cycle to Wakefield and Thornes Park

It was a lovely day today. I did think about going for a drive and a walk in some woods about an hour away, but then I remembered Thornes Park. This park is made up of a few different parks, but most people refer to it as Thornes.

Considering I have lived in Wakefield since I was 9 years old, I really haven’t made the best use of this park. Though I have spent time there, playing rounders, feeding the quack quacks, taking photos, it isn’t somewhere I go regularly. Maybe that should change.

It was a short cycle from my house and I took a couple of film cameras to try out.


I also took a small, older, digital camera. I read a few photography blogs and one I read regularly mentioned using older digital cameras. Then saw a camera I used to own on eBay for about a fiver. A fiver for a 5 megapixel camera.

I originally had a black version but sold it to a friend. I always regretted it as I loved the size and shape. Gosh, this is starting to sound like my other blog. Anyway, it fit into my trouser pocket perfectly so it was perfect for a cycle camera…ignore the bag on my back with 3 other cameras in it.

Wakefield is a lovely place during the day, it has a cathedral and many old buildings. Nearby are many museums and lots of beautiful countryside. And sitting near the M1 and M62, you can get to other parts of the country very easily.

I love the Queen Victoria statue. It has moved about a bit since I have lived in Wakefield. It used to be near Thornes Park, then in the bullring, now it sits near the civic buildings. This amazing video shows her when she was first installed and when she was moved to the park.

The building with the blue sign used to be the city museum. I often went in there growing up as there was a life-size Roman soldier that I was fascinated with….and it was free. So a great place, however…Wakefield is said to have one of the highest number of pubs per square mile of anywhere in the country, allegedly. Which was great for a night out when I was in my 20s, not so great if you don’t want your city to have a binge drinking issue of an evening. Though researching this blog, I couldn’t find any evidence of Wakefield even being in the top ten, and lots of evidence that the council is working on improving the issue.

Anyway, from the civic area I cycled the short distance to the park.

I love that tiled announcement. Somebody was seriously annoyed about Shaz and Matty if they went to the bother of actually making the tiles and putting them up in the shelter. Plus it is kind of funny that they have never been taken down. The black and white building is a bandstand and there are sometimes free concerts there.

The park was opened in 1891 and you can read more about the history here. I love that it was classed as a Grade II park because it survived! It is almost like someone said, “Good grief is that park still there? Ok, give it an award.”

The first place I visited was the duck pond, though I didn’t feed the quack quacks. However, it was a perfect place to test my film cameras. I will write about that on my other blog. These are from the Olympus u-mini.

At this point, I broke the kickstand on my bike, “someone” who reads this blog will like that as he has made a few comments about it before.


The little camera seems good for general shots, but not for closeups unless you change the settings which I did not do. I will in the future now I know.

From there I headed to the conservatory and rose garden. Just to note, while I was in the park I didn’t cycle.

I came here with my mum a few times, she loved the roses and ducks.

From there, I wandered through the woods to the pet cemetery, yeap, Thornes has it all.

There are other things to see and activities throughout the woods including playing fields, exercise equipment and a scavenger hunt.

But the best might be hunting CONKERS! This is the perfect place to go conker hunting.

And…where there are conkers….there will be nut eaters around, and I saw quite a few squirrels 🙂

Now to be fair to the little camera, these were not taken using it. I knew there might be squirrels so took my other small digital, just in case. The Olympus would only have capture a squirrel if it had literally come up to me and asked me for a nut. Even then it would have been too close to be in focus without changing the settings.

After a bit of squirrel watching, I headed to the ‘kids’ side of the park. This is where the cricket ground is. Here you will also find a playground, a skateboarding park, and a miniature train track.

The trains run at the weekend during the summer. I have been on them a couple of times many moons ago, but not in the past 20 years. They were not running today but here is another video.

And done for the day. So I cycled home and had a Japanese beer, which my local off-licence kindly started stocking for me.


As for the camera, if you are never going to print the photos then old digital cameras are perfect for blogs. Plus they are as cheap as fish and chips. Thank you Mr James for the idea.

Cycling Around Stanley Ferry

For the past few days, I have been thinking about buying a new mountain bike. Mine has dodgy brakes and is not a great make. I originally bought it to be a cheap bike to cycle into town and not worry about leaving it in a bike rack. My main bike is a Giant road bike and I would feel uncomfortable leaving that chained to a rack out of eye view. But many of the places I want to cycle are unsuitable for a road bike. That means I have been using the cheap run around more than I ever intended. Hence maybe I need/want a better one.

But before I spend any money I thought I would give my cheap bike another try. So off I trundled to a local cycle path, one perfect for a mountain bike. I also thought I would do a little geocaching along the way.

The Transpennine cycle route 67 is fairly close to my house. I am quite lucky.

Here is my strava map.

Part of the route was really tight, but being near water it was also fairly flat. Before and after the actual trail route was quite hilly though. That means you get a great workout.

The trail was fairly quiet apart from The Stanley Ferry restaurant area. And with it being Yorkshire I got the chance to chat with a few people along the route.

As for the bike. It is a bit rubbish, but it was fine for this kind of route. I will think on a bit more.


Finally, cycling Pugneys and Sandal Castle

Well, what a crappy run of luck. Influenza A and probably B, bad back yadda yadda yadda. I have not been running or hardly on a bike for a couple of months maybe more. To top it all, the day before I leave for my summer in the uk something happened to my back again and I was in excruciating pain in the mornings for over 4 weeks. I ended up with daily pain killers and a back brace.

BUT guess what. I am almost ok. I am finally able to cycle around and about, though for 20km at the most. I can work with that. I can build on that.

So where did I go for my first cycle?

Just around my home town in the UK, Wakefield. There are quite a few cycling routes around and a number of websites with details. Including this one. When I had to visit my mum in the hospice I had to go up Ouchthorpe Lane every day. Boy it was hard and it only got a little easier. I really struggled this time and almost gave up, but I didn’t. Then I trundled off to a local country park and a castle. There is always a castle somewhere nearby in the UK, though they are not always intact.

Sandal Castle is on a mound and you can see it from quite a way off. But for some reason I couldn’t find the road from Pugneys Country Park. I eventually stopped to ask an old bloke walking his dogs. In typical Yorkshire fashion he replied, “Can you not see it on top of the ruddy hill?” I said I could, but did not know the best route. So he then informed me, “Well, its best to go along that path, but hark on that bloody farmer has just ploughed the damn field again.”

True enough, I pushed my bike over the field and up the side of the moat. Once I caught a couple of pokemon on the castle I headed home. Feeling refreshed and happy.

Here is my route and stats. It turns out I wasn’t as slow up the hill as I thought. It was my second best time.


Ok, so barring a change of luck I will add more rides.


Newmillerdam ride and walk

I haven’t been posting much recently due to some family issues. Basically I returned to Japan from the UK at the end of the summer holiday only to receive a phone call 2 weeks later asking me to return as my mother had taken a turn for the worse. After a quick flight and train I was back in Yorkshire. Now mum is a tiny bit more stable I can venture out a bit. It is good for stress relief. I also joined a gym so I can do something during the day close to home while mum has the district nurse and carers change her meds.

Knowing how much I like cycling my parents lent me some money, plane rides are expensive, and I found a second hand Giant Liv on ebay. It is exactly the one I wanted and my size. The giant I have in Japan is too big, now I know why having a good fit really helps. When I return and pay off my credit card 🙂 I will invest in the same one there.

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Today I didn’t go far as I was hoping my sister could meet me with mum in our other ebay purchase, thank goodness for honest ebayers, a wheelchair adapted car. To be honest it didn’t look good as she had had extra meds in the night. So while I waited to see what happened I wandered around the reservoir. As you can tell by the route map as I forgot to turn my watch off. But here is the route non-the-less.


Newmillerdam is a great place to wander in English woodland. There is an easy trail around the water, but you are not supposed to ride around it. Though that rule doesn’t seem to apply to children and I am ok with that. You can read more about the area here, here, and here.

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This is the actual dam. I thought there might be cycle parking near here, but there wasn’t and the path with the fence is small so you can’t chain it there. In the end I decided to take it with me, it is light.

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But first a 99 ice cream.

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It is a short walk perfect for families, dog walkers, and pushers of wheelchairs.

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When I completed the shorter circuit I got a message saying that I would not be met later so I decided to have a late breakfast before my return home. Then just as I finished another message saying they are coming. Yeah! Such is life right now, no set plans can be made.

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Another wander around the water with a very red mother much to the annoyance of the Canadian geese.

Summer withdrawal and an Ebay bike

As I am an expat/international teacher I often fly home to England for the summer. That means I leave my bikes behind and go bike free. This summer I just couldn’t stand being bike free for a month. But what to do? I don’t want to spend loads of money on a bike I will use for only a short time and then leave for up to a year… Hello Ebay!

I did a bit of searching and looked for something that I could pick up locally, would be cheap, and in working order. That didn’t leave much room for movement. Eventually I got a bike for about $50 and my sister helped me pick it up. The guy we bought it from took off the front wheel, for that price there is no quick release.

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After I got the bike home I did a little more research and it has terrible reviews, but it is cheap, cheerful and will get me around. I have decided to call it Chav. I added lights and a spring lock, it may be cheap but I don’t want to replace it due to theft. The gears changed ok once you get use to them, but the brakes were none existent. So the first trip was a family ride to Halfords. A detour on the way back took us to Pugneys Water Park. By this point I had only cycled 18km, but I had forgot my cycling shorts and my butt was feeling a bit worse for wear.

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Also while I am away I can’t use my iphone and the Strava app, but my Garmin GPS watch worked fine and I downloaded the data from basecamp and uploaded it to the website with no issues. I have been careful to make my location private, blocking the start and finishing points. This is not Japan, though I have to say cycling on British roads was not as scary as I thought it would be. There has definitely been an increase in cycle awareness and use since I last rode a bike here.

Anyway, this may not be my best bike or one I will travel far on, but I am mobile and can trundle around when I want. Now I have fixed the brakes, with a bit of help from my brother-in-law who patiently gave me a lesson, I feel pretty happy and safer. I also feel much more relaxed knowing I can go out if I want.

Here is my first ride in the UK for a long time 🙂