The Man with the Silver Spade


Map from ‘Thornes Park’, a history trail (see link below).

Along the Victorian avenue of horse chestnuts in Clarence Park, Wakefield, a handful of trees that have been lost over the years have recently been replaced. The park is named after the Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, grandson of Queen Victoria (and second in line for the throne), who planted a tree – a ‘white chestnut’ – here on Thursday, 30 April, 1891, using a sliver spade presented to him by Lady Green, wife of Sir Edward Green, M.P., of Heath Old Hall.

The local fish and chip shop, Avondale Fisheries, is another reminder of his visit. Continue reading “The Man with the Silver Spade”


11.30 a.m.: In the woodland glade of the Menagerie at Nostell one nuthatch is chasing another. There’s an exchange of ‘tickety-tick’ type calls followed by a high-pitched repeated ‘Chuieee’ call.

What I take to be the male bird is posturing, following the female from tree-trunk to the bough of the neighbouring tree.

In subdued winter plumage, the yellow on the breast of a grey wagtail is a good match for the buff colour-wash on the buildings of the stable block that overlook the walled garden.