Discover the heritage on your doorstep - walks, talks and events around Pontefract and Castleford

Thousands of volunteers across England have organised events this month to celebrate the annual Heritage Open Days festival and discover our country’s fantastic history and culture.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 9:08 am
Queen's Mill Castleford

Running from September 10-19, it’s a chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences either in your home town or further afield - all of which are free to explore.

In our district, the Pontefract Civic Society has put together a packed programme of events and Castleford Heritage Trust is throwing open the doors of Queen’s Mill and has organised a series of walks and talks covering all aspects of the town’s history.

Queen’s Mill, Castleford is hosting a day of heritage-themed events for all the family on September 18 from 10am-3pm.

Pontefract Buttercross

These include a community exhibition Castleford: Our Natural World in the Island Gallery.

The exhibition will feature a range of photographs of Castleford’s natural spaces, each sent in by a member of the community.

There will also be lots of special activities running on the day

Centre manager John Heywood said: “We are delighted that Castleford Heritage Trust will once again be taking part in the National Heritage Open Day Festival this year.

“It has been a long time since we last ran this event and we can’t wait to welcome you back to Queen’s Mill.

“What better place is there to visit than an iconic flour mill with over 1,100 years of history?”

Also planned is a heritage walk when those taking part can discover Castleford history as they take a gentle guided stroll along the waterways.

There’s also a talk on the history of Castleford rivers .

John added: “Take a tour around Queen’s Mill and discover why it was once the world largest stoneground flour mill.

You can find out about how Castleford Heritage Trust volunteers restarted milling on the site and how they are keeping up with this longstanding tradition.”

Children can take part in an activity workshop and take home a new creation.

For more details phone 01977 556741 or see Castleford Heritage Trust’s Facebook page for details of individual activities.

Pontefract Civic Society has put together a programme of 28 events for the festival with some online activities as well as 11 venues which will throw open their doors and gardens.

Pontefract Heritage Group’s town crier John Turner will be making proclamations throughout the event and the Liquorice Singers will be performing by the Buttercross on Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 18.

Civic society chair Paul Cartwright, said: “We have three new walks, one on the theme of Edible England based on the cookery writer, Elizabeth Moxon, another in Pontefract Park, and a third is a glimpse into the Holmes printing dynasty time capsule on Gillygate.”

“We are really pleased that we have the support of venue owners and volunteers to make this a great series of events.

“We hope that visitors and local people will wish to explore, and if you pick up our booklet at the library, museum, castle, Magistrates Market and other locations such as shops, cafes and bars, then you’ll be able to plan your visits to several of these great events.

“Look out too for Judge Crier sentences at the court.

“As well as our usual offering from St Giles’ Church, and All Saints Church, we’ll be adding the interior Georgian splendour of St Joseph’s RC Church which is well worth a visit.

“St Andrew’s, Ferrybridge and St Edward the Confessor Church, Brotherton, both make a welcome return to the festival, as does Ackworth School.

Paul added: “We’ll have some online videos and children’s activities, as well as historic buildings.

“It’s equally important to bring stories of places and people to life with talks, tours, music, and displays.

“These include tours of Pontefract’s Market Place conservation area, Tom Dixon’s liquorice fields and Friarwood Valley Gardens.”

Visit the civic society website at or call 01977 708658 for further


Programme of events this weekend in Pontefract

Friday September 10;

Elizabeth Moxon’s Edible England Walk (1 hour) 1pm

Market Place Conservation Area Heritage Walks (1 hour) 11am

Beyond the Façade - Past Retail and Social Gillygate (30 minutes) 2:30pm, 3pm

Liquorice Singers at the Buttercross (drop-in) 2pm

Saturday September 11

Market Place Conservation Area Heritage Walks (1 hour) 11am

Beyond the Façade - Past Retail and Social Gillygate (30 minutes) 11am

St Giles Church (drop-in) 10am to 2:30pm

St. Joseph’s Church (drop-in) noon to 3pm

Tom Dixon Liquorice at Home (30 minutes) 1pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:15pm

Judge Crier Sentences Outside (& inside?) the Courthouse (Drop, in & out) Between 1.30pm & 2.30pm

Sunday September 12

Market Place Conservation Area Heritage Walks (1 hour) 2pm

Beyond the Façade - Past Retail and Social Gillygate (30 minutes) 12.30; 1pm

Ackworth School External Tour (1 ½ hours) 11am

Friarwood Valley Gardens (drop in) 11am to 2pm

All Saints Church (drop in) 1pm to 5pm