Trees for Life

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If you’ve managed to make it to the park recently, you’ll have seen some new kids on the block. As well as the thousands of young whippersnappers putting their roots down on the golf course, there are now 30+ more mature new arrivals.

The addition of these most recent trees was made possible thanks to a generous £4,000 grant from Bettys Trees for Life Fund, administered by the Two Ridings Community Foundation, and a valiant planting effort under lockdown conditions by Craven Council’s very own trees officer, Michael. There will be a second phase of planting in the Autumn, when we hope members of the public will also be able to get involved.

Each tree has been carefully picked and positioned to be visually exciting and to enhance the park’s natural offerings. Along the grass verges and canal, there will be trees that flower at different times, providing a vital pollinator corridor through the town. Native trees such as oak, hornbeam, alder and willow will thrive in the wetter areas of the park, alleviating the waterlogging and chances of flooding. In Autumn, maples and American oaks will put on a fiery show of reds, while the evergreen pines will add some winter structure when leaves drop.

Many thanks to local residents who came to the rescue when the newly-planted trees were in need of a long, cool drink through our unusually warm, dry Spring. The council now has the tree hydration under control, with the handy help of Skipton Fire Station. Some of you may have already witnessed the unusual sight of a fire engine slowly making its way up the grassy slope. Fear not, there have been no fires – just the resourceful use of a very long hose!


Purple for Polio

Rotary club members marked annual World Polio Day on 24th October by planting 4,000 crocus bulbs beneath the cherry trees in the centre of Aireville park, with the help of SELFA and Friends of Aireville Park.

The crocus flowers represent the purple finger dye used by polio immunisation teams to indicate which children have received the polio vaccinations. All profits from the sale of the crocus bulbs will go to the worldwide Rotary campaign.

In addition to planting the bulbs, former rotary club president, John Exley, handed over a cheque for £1,000 – his Presidential Award – to Fiona Protheroe, chair of Friends of Aireville Park. 

This generous donation will be used towards the group’s ongoing work to improve facilities in the park, including paths, a potential bandstand cover and improved wildlife areas.


There are so many fabulous things going on in our park, from the new playground, skatepark, pump track and Raven Tree Top Adventure (all built within the last five years) to the community picnics, litter picks and cross-country runs. Just this weekend, 4,000 crocus bulbs were planted along Cherry Tree lane – thanks to many awesome volunteers – as part of the Rotary’s Purple for Polio campaign.

But the plans for the park don’t stop there! Craven District Council and Friends of Aireville Park are consulting with park user groups and the local community to find out what the main priorities should be for the next five years. The aim is to draw up a new park masterplan and as part of this process, we would like YOU to complete this short survey.

We hope you agree that Aireville Park is a major asset to the town and surrounding villages, as well as an important green space for wildlife. Please help us continue to improve it by filling in this survey – and asking local friends and family to do the same.


EVERYONE is welcome to join us in Aireville Park this Sunday, for fun and games and a Great Get Together picnic in memory of Jo Cox MP. Read on for Plastic Free Skipton’s Top Ten Tips on making it a zero waste picnic. The best picnic-maker on Sunday will be awarded a gorgeous bamboo lunch box.

Great Get Together

TIP #1 Reusable packaging
Avoid clingfilm and plastic bags where possible. Simply pop your rolls or sandwiches in a tupperware box or re-use a bread bag, cereal liner, margarine tub, etc. Carry everything in a backpack, cloth bag or even a picnic hamper.

TIP #2 Homemade is best
Make your own pasta or salads in your own containers – that way you’ll avoid lots of plastic supermarket packaging. Just remember to pack your own (reusable) plates and cutlery. Try making your own dips too – houmous is a simple one to whizz up. Scoop it into a glass jar, chop up some veg to dip in it and you’ve got a healthy, yummy starter.

TIP #3 Nature’s packaging
Many foods come in their own natural packaging – bananas, oranges, hard-boiled eggs. Any peel or shell can then go in a compost bin. Apples are a great fruit for transporting without needing packaging.

TIP #4 BYO drinks
Take a metal water bottle with you – and maybe a flask if it’s likely to be chilly. If you’ll be passing a cafe, you could take a keep cup for your own waste-free takeout.

TIP #5 Home baking
Food items that don’t need individual packaging are always a winner. Bake cookies or slice up flapjack and carry them in a tub or tin.

TIP #6 Butchers and bakeries
If you’re running late, you could always pick up a tasty sausage roll, pork pie or veggie alternative from one of our many yummy butchers or bakeries. Take your own container with you and you won’t even need a paper bag to put it in.

TIP #7 Food to share
Avoid leftovers by bringing food that you can share around. A tray bake always goes down nicely.

TIP #8 Ban the baby wipes
Why add to your plastic waste (and shopping bill) by using disposable wipes when a damp face cloth does very nicely. Just store it in a small tub for the journey.

TIP #9 Take recycling home
Recycling bins are harder to find when you’re out and about so if you do have some recyclable waste then take it home to your own blue bin. Collect crisp packets and biscuit wrappers and take them to Steep & Filter’s recycling station on your next trip down Otley Street.

TIP #10 Spread the word
Share these top tips with others and we’ll be able to eliminate even more plastic waste from the system.

In a nutshell, think REUSABLE rather than DISPOSABLE and you can’t go wrong.

Willow Weekend


Come and join us in Aireville Park this weekend! The Friends of Aireville Park are thrilled that we are going to be building this installation alongside the fantastic new play equipment, under the supervision of local Forest School Leaders. There will also be activities for you to join in yourself, all family friendly.

The new play area reopened to all in time for this weekend, so even more reason to come down and experience it. We will be on site from 10am to 3pm both days.


The new children’s playground in Aireville Park is now open – with an exciting range of play equipment including climbing frames, slides, swings, tunnels, a spinning swing, a den-building area, a sand-pit, and musical instruments.



Thank you to all our generous donors, together with Craven District Council,  we raised over £160,000 to pay for Phase One of the play area, with generous grants and donations from a range of organisations, businesses and individuals.

Two sections of the playground are still fenced off, awaiting Phase Two, which should be completed later this spring.

We’re absolutely delighted to see the playground open – we’ve been working towards this for so long and it looks fantastic.

We’re very grateful to all those who have supported and sponsored our fundraising campaign and it’s brilliant to see so many children and families enjoying the new equipment already.

The jungle bridge and cargo nets are currently fenced off and need to stay closed for a little longer until the grass turf has taken.

The playground will be quite muddy for the next two months until Phase Two is finished and the bare soil is seeded and turfed. Please wear wellies and outdoor clothes, to keep to the paths and hard standing areas and keep off the bare soil. It is also advisable to take some wipes for cleaning seats on the equipment.  We will make sure there is a full spring-clean of the equipment when Phase Two is completed!

We hope you are all as delighted as we are!


Work has started on the play area

Thank you to all our wonderful supporters!

The creation of a new children’s playground in Aireville Park has begun.  Together with Craven District Council, we have raised a total of £160,000 so far, with generous grants and donations from a range of organisations, businesses and individuals.

Pic for launch

Yorventure gave a grant of £48,700 to the project for a large selection of play equipment, and focus on the woodland area.

Skipton BID have given a grant of £7,500 to the playground, which will pay for a “Wobbly Sheep” play sculpture and musical play equipment.

Walk For Jodie, set up in memory of Jodie Willsher, has raised almost £5,000, which will pay for the playground sandpit and a bench.

The council has contributed capital funding of £15,810 to the project, along with £52,791 of planning gain, with a further £62,500 of planning gain which will go towards Phase Two of the project.

A zip wire has already been installed at the top end of the park, paid for with £12,000 from Tesco Bags of Help. The Tesco scheme has also given another £4,000 grant to provide a wooden tractor in the play area.

We have received funding from Craven Trust, Tarn Moor Trust, Grandmaster, Skipton Mechanics’ Institute, the Police and Crime Commissioner Fund, and local councillors Chris Harbron, Andy Solloway and John Dawson via their Ward Member Grant.

Several local businesses and members of the community have also been sponsoring or making donations towards the new play area, including local companies Holt Doctors Ltd, J N Bentley, Mewies Solicitors, Peter Watson Ltd and Skipton Self Drive Hire, Keelham Farm Shop, RKB Electrical Ltd, Keelham Farm shop and Walker Foster Solicitors.

Skipton Craven Rotary Club donated £813 for benches in the area. Skipton Rotary Club also raised £1,200 from their bike auction, and own funds for the play area.

Skipton Ukulele Club have also been fundraising for the Friends of Aireville Park and have raised more than £1,000 for the scheme.

Water Street Primary School, Otley Street Nursery and Christ Church School all donated to the play area.   Pupils dressed up in Green for the Park

People in Skipton have helped with cake sales, coffee mornings, and cafes, including  Trinity Methodist and Skipton Building Society staff.

Work started on Monday, October 8, and contractors have started landscaping the area of the park between the zip wire and the bandstand, in preparation for the new equipment to be installed.


Craven District Council Budget Consultation 2019/20 – Have your say!

Craven District Council want to hear your views about how they spend Your money. As FOAP we have made a Committee response, which we have shared with you below.

But we would encourage you all to fill in the questionnaire as individual residents too and have your say, and if you feel that Aireville Park is important as we do, please let them know, and feel free to use our response for any inspiration.

The survey takes less than 15 mins to complete and the deadline for responses is midnight Sunday 14th October 2018 and is available to view here


As the Friends of Aireville Park (FOAP) we appreciate that the council faces continued cuts and financial pressures but we would like to clearly state that FOAP are a small group of volunteers who juggle this role alongside family commitments and other paid employment and would not take on the responsibility of landowner or service provider for Aireville Park. Frankly, we do not have the relevant resources, experience or skills to replace the number of Craven District Council Officers and departments that currently cover Aireville Park.

We can continue to support the Council and fund raise toward the capital costs of improving Aireville Park and would like to see a continued commitment and financial forecasting from the Council within this budget to cover the ongoing revenue and maintenance costs of both existing and any new assets. Including the new play area, that was identified by, and delivered as part of the agreed Aireville Park master plan.

As we have highlighted with previous consultation responses to the Draft Local Plan and previous budgets, Craven District Council now have an agreed Master Plan for the park, developed after widespread stakeholder consultation. With increased development proposed, and here prioritised, for the District we want to ensure that as well as improvements to the park for local people there are sufficient resources for these to be managed in a sustainable way so that any increased pressures in the future from a growing population does not have a negative impact on the park. Aireville Park is a key community asset for the people of Skipton and the surrounding area and also provides an amenity for visitors and tourists from further afield. The new play area will greatly enhance this offer and attract even more visitors. It is an important green space, free and accessible to all, that provides an important health and well-being function for our community.

We hope you will take these comments in to consideration as part of the budget consultation


Sheep Day

sheep day 2

One of the highlights of the year along Skipton’s award-winning High Street is the Sheep Day festival. This year, Friends of Aireville Park were delighted to have our own stall, with face painting, a lucky sheep dip and a unique sheep tombola. Daring customers were invited to put their hand in the sheep’s fleece-lined bottom to see if they could bring out a winning token.

Alongside our chocolate prizes, there was an impressive range of alcoholic ones, all generously donated from local companies Keelham, Dark Horse, North Brewing Company, Booths, Growling Shrew, Naylor, Goose Eye, Beer Monkey, Wine Rack and Majestic. Thank you!

In total our stall raised over £1,000 for the new playground in Aireville Park – thanks in large part to match-funding from Barclays (known as Baaa-clays for the purposes of Sheep Day).

Phase 1 of the new playground build is due to begin in the Autumn (yippee). Many thanks to all our wonderful supporters so far. Any donations towards phase 2, to help us secure all the exciting play equipment we so dearly want, would be very gratefully received!

Fitness in the park

A couple of weeks ago we saw the Skipton Triathlon return to Aireville Park. A great day by all accounts and very well subscribed. To help keep the athletes hydrated, and raise awareness and some funds in the process, our group along with some friendly supporters handed out water from the water stall at the turning point in the run. It gave us a first class view of how competitors of all abilities were able to master the mindset having already swum 400 meters in the pool and cycled over 20 kilometers to undertake the final 5 kilometer run. Well done to Fiona our chairperson who completed the event AND make it back to help on the water stall in the afternoon – fantastic effort.

We really enjoyed hosting the water stall, and if you stopped by to say hello, thank you too. We were glad to play a small part in another great event, and thanks to Bruce Dinsmore from CDC for all the organisation. If you would like to have a go next year, do keep in touch – it’s a friendly event and really supportive regardless of your competitive level or experience.

To get started with running, as many people do in Aireville Park, don’t forget about the Park Run held every Saturday morning at 9am. This is a slightly different route to the Triathlon run, but still 5 km and a great way to start a regular fitness plan. You can read about our own Katie’s first park run experience too.

We hope you get to enjoy some time out and about in Aireville Park over the coming months, whether heading for a swim, using the pump track, taking your scooter to the skate park or just enjoying a pleasant stroll through. If you fancy a fitness challenge, maybe we’ll see you at next year’s triathlon!

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