Shibden's historic landscape
Shibden's landscape, set in Shibden valley, has developed over the centuries.
From the working landscapes of farming, coal and clay mining, the families that have lived at Shibden have added layers of history, culminating in the public park that was created in 1926. From the hall, step out onto the terrace and you will see how the landscape has evolved. Look out over the terrace walls down towards the lake and you will see remnants of the old field boundaries marked by mature trees, and may also see traces of old mining works in the parkland.
Anne Lister was an important figure in the development of the estate, commissioning many changes to Shibden Hall and the surrounding gardens during the 1830s. The terraces were part of a grand series of designs for a picturesque landscape. The wilderness garden, with its cascade and pools leads to the tunnel under Shibden Hall Road and on through to Cunnery Wood, the site of the old kitchen garden. Listen to the water cascading down to the lily pond and on through the woodland to the lake.
In the valley (whose name derives from “Schep dene” or valley of the sheep) the lake or "Meer" was created for Anne Lister to give the impression of a large river flowing through. She also commissioned the Gatehouse and Lister's Lane carriage drive.
Anne Lister died in 1840, in Russia and Ann Walker, Anne's companion, inherited a lifetime's interest in Shibden Hall. The estate was inherited in 1855 by Dr John Lister, who made further changes to the estate. In the 1850s a "Paisley Shawl" garden was designed for the terrace by Joshua Major, a leading landscape designer of the time. The design is planted with spring and summer bedding, viewed at its best from the West Terrace, above the hall.
During the life time of the last member of the Lister family, John Lister, the landscape remained as designed in the 1830s and 1850s. However, the estate was bought by Mr. A.S. McRea in 1923 and the parkland was donated to Halifax Corporation by him. On the opening of the park on 15th October 1926, new paths, walks and planting had been created, transforming the lower parts of the estate to formal parkland. This footprint remains today and is an important example of an early 20th century park.