About Us

Friends of Fryston Wood

Friends of Fryston wood began in 2003 as a community group trying to improve access to local woodlands of Airedale and Fryston.

It has now evolved over the last few years into a class leading, award winning organisation, offering woodland events, outdoor education and instilling the community with a sense of pride and respect for their surroundings.

We continue to evolve and grow offering further and more involved events and courses but of course always striving to improve access.


4 days of celebrating on demonstrating the traditional woodland skills and crafts of the English countryside. In the middle of a Yorkshire spring, Frystom wood saw its first annual Woodfest. Nestled in a clearing of silver birch surrounded by ancient yews and established ash.

A green parachute canopy high in the air became base camp, consisting of a circle of straw bales surrounding an inviting fire, where the coffee was always hot. Hundreds of people came to see us over the 4 days to ‘have a go’ at various woodland crafts. From turning on pole lathe, cutting logs with a 2 man cross cutting saw, light a fire with a flint and steel or rubbing sticks together with the bow drill.

Food was available throughout in the form of burgers, hot dogs, venison and chorizo kebabs along with a traditional bacon and beans stew cooked over a fire in a cast iron pot. The adults were keen to carve their own eating spoons using axes and knives too. 4 full days of hard work later, dens made in the woods, bows and whistles made, not a trace of camp was left.

Rest assured Woodfest will return to Castleford next year with more activities and stalls than this year. We look forward to seeing you there.

Forestry Schools

‘When I was a lad, we used to play out in the woods, we’d make dens from branches and rope, go fishing, whittle wood and cook bacon and eggs. None of that nowadays, its all Facebook and Playstation’....... EXCEPT ......... The Friends of Fryston woods have been running a forest school scheme in the woods around Fryston and Airedale.

A scheme where kids aged 8 to 16 get the opportunity to relive all these things in a safe environment under expert supervision leading to the kids learning invaluable skills and re introducing risk to this cotton wool wrapped society. We will restart our Outdoor education sessions in 2015 with a host of new activities and areas to learn.

Fryston Memories

Talk to anyone passionate about where they grew up is infectious and you want to find out more. In our case the catalyst was talking to Prof Dave Waddington of Sheffield Hallam University, who not only wrote a book about his early days in Fryston but whose research emphasised the rich history in Fryston, the community strengths and the highs and lows of a mining community. There were also the contrasts to the residents and workers lifestyle to the landowners who owned the pit and lived in Fryston Hall where they entertained noted nobility, academics, even royalty.

Charged with this interest, plans for ‘Fryston Memories’ began. With encouragement from Prof Waddington, Sheffield Hallam University, and other locals whose families came from Fryston, a journey of discovery was begun. First hand information came from surviving elderly family members and photographs and family stories and original copies of information began to surface.

The project could not have happened without a successful application to the Historic Lottery Fund and the group are grateful to them for their funding and support which has helped us buy equipment and to engage Straw Jonny Ltd. This local firm of web designers looked at the Website Outline we had created and transformed all the Data, Interviews recorded and copies of Original Photographs and Documents we had gathered, into a form where it could be put on to the website in four sections for People, Places, Events and Maps which it is hoped will inform all website visitors and researchers attracted to our site.

New houses are again being built and Fryston is expanding. The Hall and the Pit may no longer be there but the spirit, achievements and Memories from the Past are very firmly part of the Future. We hope the pictures, and information now on this site, which incidentally will be regularly added to and updated, will inform and interest all visitors. We believe it shows that the past, one to be looked back on and celebrated, and the future being created, will be a testament to the foundations our fore bearers built, and one for future generations to enjoy and be proud of.