Heritage Open Day: Tall Trees and Tall Tales

Volunteer, Bruce Robinson, talking to visitors at the pole lathe

 The trees in Gisborough Priory Woodland Gardens are the focus of this year’s Heritage Open Day on Saturday 8 September.Between 11am and 3.30pm there will be lots of activities on offer for all the family, all organised by Gisborough Priory Project.

Visitors can help date some of the great lime trees in the \Monks’ Walk by hugging them or helping to count the rings on the stump of a fallen tree. Some of the trees may be as much as 200 years old – so there are plenty of rings to count!

Traditional green woodworking will be demonstrated by some of the Gisborough Priory Project volunteers.

For example, a pole lathe, made by Bruce Robinson, will be in operation. Powered by a treadle and spring, the pole lathe is one of the earliest known ways of producing wooden bowls and platters, its use dating back to at least 300BC. Bruce has made the pole lathe using wood from the gardens. Volunteers will be demonstrating its use alongside other homemade woodworking equipment, such as a shaving-horse.

Some of the wood from the gardens has been used to create a magical storytelling area. A number of tall tales will be told here throughout the day, a treat for young and old alike.

Historic tales about the gardens will be retold on a guided garden tour starting at 1.30pm, led by a volunteer. Visitors can find out about the great horse chestnut tree and the lime trees of the Monks’ Walk as well as the work in the gardens over the last few years.

To add to the attractions there will be a variety of traditional games around the gardens. Visitors can try hopscotch, jacks, ball and cup, oranges and lemons and more. Perhaps they will jog some memories of other old favourites to play among the trees.

The shady picnic area in the gardens will be available for visitors to enjoy their own picnics or to sample the homemade cakes and teas on sale from the Gisborough Priory Project volunteers. All the money raised will go towards the continuing volunteer-led garden restoration scheme.

Visitors can get to the gardens, free of charge, through the Gisborough Priory entrance on Church Street, next to St Nicholas’ Church.

St Nicholas’ Church will also be open for visitors to study the colourful stained glass and spectacular carving of the Brus cenotaph.

Gisborough Priory Project volunteer, Carol Robinson, said: “We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy and it’s all free, so come along and explore and find out more.”

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