Autumn at Skelton Grange

I’ve been wanting to visit Skelton Grange for ages. It does in Leeds what our St Nicks does here in York. Both are environment centres in urban settings offering, amongst many other things, conservation volunteering opportunities and the chance to frolic (or stomp around – as you prefer) in nature and learn more about it.

St Nicks held its Autumn Fayre on Saturday 15 October (where I presided over the creation of a community poem). The Saturday before that, Skelton Grange held their Big Green Weekend Open Day, and invited me to come and put on an event for visitors. An invitation I couldn’t refuse!

So, I got to Skelton Grange at last! And took families with younger children on Rhyme Time Rambles round their grounds.

The setting for Skelton Grange is urban. Very urban:

The approach to Skelton Grange Environment Centre

The approach to Skelton Grange Environment Centre

But step inside, and you’re in a different world, with woodland and ponds and fruit trees and bird hides …

A bird hide at Skelton Grange

A bird hide at Skelton Grange

… and minibeast hotels and mosaics and sculptures …

A Skelton Grange sculpture

Skelton Grange sculpture

and, and, and!

There was *lots* going on at this Open Day, from spinning to willow weaving to charcoal making to … a tug of war. Oh, and spoon-making, of course, by Dan of 2carvedspoons!

Dan with his carved spoons

Dan with his beautiful carved spoons (and bowls)

Thank you to everyone who came and joined in my Rhyme Time Rambles. And to the Robin that came along for the ride!


Thank you too to Freya for suggesting me to Skelton Grange in the first place. And to Toby for all his admin and organisation.

Freya busy serving freshly baked pizzas

Freya busy serving freshly baked pizzas

If you live in Leeds and haven’t been to Skelton Grange, then I thoroughly recommend it as a place where both you and the kids can run around through bird- and minibeast-rich woodland and meadow and get a real sense of being in the great outdoors slap bang in the middle of a big city. A place where you can breathe.

They run all sorts of activities and courses too. Check out their website for more details.

Skelton Grange Environment Centre

Skelton Grange Environment Centre

And if you’d like me to put on some Rhyme Time Rambles for your upcoming outdoor event, then just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


After-dinner entertainment is Buzzing!

Thank you to the ladies of Adel Ladies Luncheon Club in Leeds for making me so welcome last week. I greatly enjoyed meeting them, sampling their delicious food, and then entertaining them with a ‘Garden Heroes and Villains’ Buzzing! show.

I have had some lovely feedback from the ladies about the show, including from Margaret who wrote that it was:
‘Fantastic. The best talk ever!’

Speaker secretary Maureen wrote that it was:
‘Excellent. Bright and colourful and lively and very interesting.’

Meanwhile, it was also very enjoyable to meet the Senior Tours Canada party who were visiting my home town of York last month. I entertained them after their evening meal at the Dean Court Hotel with a ‘Bugs of York’ Buzzing! show. I introduced them to, at one end of the spectrum, our beautiful Tansy beetles (only found in York) and, at the other end, the Death watch beetles that are trying to eat their way through some of our historic buildings. And there were plenty of butterflies and bees inbetween.

Tansy beetles, unique to York. Photo copyright Anneliese Emmans Dean

Tansy beetles, unique to York. Photo copyright Anneliese Emmans Dean

The Senior Tours Canada Tour Leader, Jane McKay, wrote afterwards that the show was:
‘Really fun and interesting!’

It was very interesting for me too to hear from members of the party about the wildlife they have in their gardens in Canada, including Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds …

If you’d like your after-dinner entertainment to be Buzzing!, then contact me to discuss your requirements.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life