Published On: Mon, Mar 3rd, 2014 on 2:38 pm

Shibden Park – Once known locally as the Happy Valley of Halifax

Shibden Park

Shibden Hall was a family home from 1420 to 1933

Shibden Park

Shibden Hall is still open to the public today for a small fee

Shibden Park

The natural environment brings tourists and sight-seers to Halifax

Shibden Park

The lake is frequented by boat-riders, especially in the summer

Shibden Park

The shepherd’s hut is one of the more recent features in Shibden Park

Shibden ParkShibden ParkShibden ParkShibden ParkShibden Park

Shibden Park, located a not too far from Halifax town centre, has a deep history to uncover and explore.

Visitors flock here throughout the year to visit the iconic Shibden Hall and the adjoining Folk Museum, to explore the parkland, to take a boat to the water, to ride the miniature railway and enjoy the view.

The park itself was created during the late 1830s by Anne Lister, who set aside 90 acres of what had been farming and mining land. With the help of an architect and a garden designer, Anne made many changes to the landscape.

In 1923, the last family owner, John Lister, who had inherited the estate for some 55 years, was in financial difficulties. It was only saved when it was purchased by his friend Arthur Selby McCrea and given as a public park to the people of Halifax.

Officially opened on October 1926, the park became known by locals as the “Happy Valley of Halifax”.

Perhaps the most prominent feature at the park is Shibden Hall, a Grade II-Listed house that is considered as one of England’s oldest.

It was a family home from 1420 to 1933, built five years after the Battle of Agincourt.

The Otes family were the first to live here, followed by the Savile family, then the Waterhouses who extended the property and improved it. Shibden was then sold in 1612 and transferred to the Lister family in 1619.

Open to the public even today, it offers visitors a journey through the lives of the wealthy families who owned it.

The Folk Museum can be found beside it, which depicts local crafts through its collections of local artifacts.

A mere walk down the Hall is the Wilderness Garden and Wilderness Cascade, which was a major part of Anne Lister’s developments to the grounds of Shibden. Some the trees were planted by Anne Lister herself over 150 years ago and have grown into maturity.

There is also an ornamental pond below the Hall, which was built by Dr John Lister in 1855, and an enclosed children’s play park which has seen some development in recent years.

Shibden Park has also seen the creation of a Visitor Centre, which now provides as a hub for visitors. It’s a building that has been made to reduce energy consumption and includes a “green” sedium roof that helps insulate the building from overheating during the summer and against the cold in winter.

Another new feature is the replica of a shepherd’s hut that can be found just a walk below Shibden Hall. 50 tons of stone from Huddersfield was brought in to complete its construction.

Shibden Park never ceases to impress. Combining a wealth of history and heritage with a beautiful yet natural environment, it is no surprise that people have come from across the world just to visit.

[Research compiled with the help of local archives and a visit to Shibden Park]

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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  1. Yorkshire Standard Wasim says:

    Didn’t spot the ice cream dude who used to park near the lake when I went down last. Is he there?

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