gullGreen Roof, Timber Castle

Wild West Yorkshire, Wednesday 17 November 2010

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gullsIngs Road, Wakefield, 10 a.m.: BLACK-HEADED GULLS are swooping and swerving in a chase for a chip, or what looks like a chip, in the beak of one of the gulls.


There are more gulls on the playing fields in Thornes Park. On Lawfield Lane, facing the park, there's a new building where a day centre used to stand; it's only the second building that I've seen in the city with a green roof, the other was a straw-bale building on an allotment site in Sandal. There's a gardening element to this building too as there are raised beds - raised to desktop height - in the grounds behind it.

Low Hill



Low Hill

The green roof and partial timber cladding help the building to harmonise with the wooded crest of Low Hill which rises beyond in Thornes Park. Low Hill was the site of a timber castle, which may have been built during the civil wars during the reigns of Stephen and Matilda (1139-54).

Lawfield Lane gets its name because it runs across at the foot of Low Hill. 'Low' or 'law' in a place name sometimes indicates that this was once the site of an ancient burial cairn. It's also possible that this isolated hill served as a landmark for meetings of Anglo Saxon or Viking people from the surrounding countryside. On the Isle of Man the mound at Tynwald is still used as the meeting place of the Manx Parliament, which dates back to Viking times in the eighth century.

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Richard Bell, illustrator

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