A CENTRE at a beauty spot is looking to expand its service after making a plea for more volunteers.

Bracken Hall Countryside Centre, which is managed by Baildon Town Council (BTC) with the support of the Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre, is looking for a group of volunteers to help run the site at weekends.

It is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between noon and 4pm and for Wild Wednesday events every week during the school holidays. The centre’s sessions enable people to visit the wildlife garden and exhibition room and take part in family drop-in activities.

It is hoped if enough people sign up as volunteers that the centre can remain open on Wednesday afternoons on a more regular basis. It is hoped the centre will also become a destination for school groups who want to learn more about nature.

A group of 14 volunteers already help out, but organisers would like another 12 to sign up.

Richard White, Bracken Hall Countryside Centre manager, said: “We want to make the centre the focal point for all other outdoor groups in the area. Groups like Baildon Walkers are Welcome could use us as its base.

“We are looking for people to sign up who are interested in the outdoors.

“We are keen to get more schools on board with us.”

Events at Bracken Hall change monthly and include guided walks and opportunities to learn about a whole range of outdoor interests such as bats, bird-watching, rocks, fossils and archaeology.

Since the 1980s the centre, based on Glen Road, has provided a space for people to learn about Bradford’s environment.

Council cutbacks led to the Bradford Council-run facility being closed in 2013. However, a group of volunteers, the Friends of Bracken Hall, kept activities outside the centre going, with countryside walks and children’s activities on Shipley Glen, and BTC had looked at ways of re-opening it.

The building was sold to Stuart and Sally Illingworth, who hoped to open a bed and breakfast, and when they were granted planning permission to convert the site they agreed that a section of the building would be set aside as a classroom and countryside centre.


The centre’s volunteers have wide-ranging knowledge on plants, insects, rocks, history, walking and crafts.

No previous experience for new volunteers is necessary as a full induction and ongoing training and support will be provided.

For an application pack, email Rachel Gallagher, volunteer co-ordinator, at vc@baildontowncouncil.gov.uk or call 07759 104565.