Welcome to KWAG's AprilNewsletter 
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Happy Easter from KWAG. 

Above: Kings Weston house with daffodils on The Circle last month.. 


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This month:

  • Working Party future projects 
  • Coronavirus and Kings Weston - current information  
  • Daffodils put on incredible display 
  • Easter at Penpole Point in past times 

Working Party Reminder - Saturday 18th April

Cancelled -  Sorry. All volunteer works in Bristol parks have been canceled until further notice. 


Working Party - retracing our steps at the Echo
So far half our planned volunteer working parties in 2020 have been cancelled, so our expectations of what can be achieved this year will also have to be limited. However March’s work went well and we achieved everything we had hoped.

Above: Looking up towards The Echo in the distance, before and after work 

Our ambition was to get back on top of cherry laurel regrowth below The Echo and around the ponds. This work was first done over an epic series of events in 2014 when work started at the pond and moved uphill, taking most of the second half of that year.  The Council followed in our wake and poisoned many of the stumps, but six years there had still been significant revival in the laurel.

Above: Looking in the direction of the ponds and Kings Weston house from the woods.

We started, as before, at the pond and worked our way towards the Echo. This was lighter work than the usual felling, but still kept us employed for the full day with plenty of searching-out of runners and saplings that could poses problems in the future. We also attended to some boughs of laurels along the outer edge of the path that had taken advantage of the space and begun to grow over it.

The result was less dramatic a change than regular followers will have seen, but the whole area is again neatened up with plenty of native undergrowth reviving after decades of suffocation.   

Below: View west across the working party area from the back path through the Echo wood. 

Coronavirus and Kings Weston - Current information  
As the national emergency continues many of you will already be aware of recent impacts on Kings Weston park and house, but here’s a short update:
All volunteer working party events by parks groups have been cancelled by the City Council. KWAG working party will not take place until it is safe to do so. All working parties are likely to be cancelled until Government guidance changes, but this is unlikely to be until after our intended May date. We will keep everyone abreast of any changes as we go.

Morgan’s Coffee Shop at Kings Weston house is now closed to protect staff and the public. We hope that the café will reopen as soon as conditions allow and would like to offer all our support and good wishes to Paige who runs it. We’re sure everyone will join us in that and we hope that he business can get back on track after this all passes.

The planned History walk scheduled for 25th April is cancelled. We will publish details on the 23rd May walk next month and will follow Government guidance. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for further information on this too.

Bristol City Council announced the closure of ALL car parks for the city’s parks and open spaces. They have confirmed that, although not noted in the official list, this includes the Shirehampton Road public car park. There is no barrier here and it is still being used, as is the car park at the house. Following guidance we must ask you not to drive to the park to take your daily exercise. Local residents who live nearby will find the park open as usual and are encouraged to carry on enjoying it, but please note it is quite busy at the moment. We recommend local residents explore some of the less-frequented parts of the 300 acre estate to avoid overcrowding on the usual circuit.  Please, please, make sure you follow appropriate social distancing measures to help stop the spread of the virus.

Our leaflet box at Shirehampton Road car park is now empty, and will remain so until the risk of passing the virus on from the dispenser or leaflets has gone. If you would like to read or use one of the guides please download a copy from our website.  

Daffodils put on incredible display.                       

Above: Looking across The Circle from the Penpole Avenue. 

We know we showed you some daffodil pictures last month, but we really couldn’t waste an opportunity to show you how they turned out; the display was pretty incredible! These photos were taken before the recent restrictions, but show what a massive impact they’ve had on the area around The Circle. These were a huge attraction in the days after our last update and have been the subject to a lot of admiration. We hope that all the volunteers will be as proud of the work as we are.

Above: The view across the width of The Circle, towards Shirehampton Road, from behind the new carpet of flowers. 

The carpet planting of bulbs has worked really well in this area, and we hope that we’ll be able to host another Big Bulb Plant this year in October. We have some locations in mind, but if anyone has suggestions for where might benefit from this sort of planting, or of bluebells and other natives, please let us know.   

Easter at Penpole Point in past times

For a few brief years in the prelude to the First World War Penpole Point became a popular place to offer praise over the Easter weekend. In 1910 the then vicar of the parish of Shirehampton, Rev Hector Powell, began the practice of holding open-air services on the grassy slopes of the point. Powell was an enthusiastic evangelical figure who stood in contrast to some of the more traditional clergy of the time, but were welcomed and attracted followers from the city beyond the village.  

Above: Penpole Point, Easter 1913, looking north with Penpole Lane on the left. 

Evangelical gatherings at Penpole Point were held on Easter Monday and were less formal than the Sunday church services. They were very popular locally and attracted great crowds. There was singing by a special choir and Powell noted “the natural formation of this valley-like spot lent itself to the sound of many voices”. The spot this 1913 photo records hosting the services does indeed offer a well-appointed amphitheatre for crowds to gather on, with the service taking place on Penpole Lane on the left. Just visible on the horizon is the tower of Penpole Lodge.  

After Reverend Powel moved to a new parish in 1912 he continued the tradition of Easter Monday services at Penpole, but there was increasing conflict between him and the new incumbent at the local church over the events. Eventually, after 1914, these open air services ceased, at least in part due to the First World War.

After the war services resumed, but took place on Rogationtide, the fifth weekend after Easter, when a good harvest was prayed for and the parish boundary was often walked. The Tower of Penpole Lodge often acted as the pulpit for these open-air services, before its demolition in 1950. After that year the parish gathered in front of its ruins. In her book Shirehampton Story Ethel Thomas records that the BBC came to Penpole to film the Rogationtide ceremony which was broadcast across the UK. We wonder does anyone remember this event, or whether the BBC might have recorded it? It would be fascinating to see it again.
Above: Penpole Lodge in the early 20th Century. 
Below: Rogationtide open air service taking place outside the ruins of Penpole Lodge in 1950. 

07811 666671
KWAG, c/o 75A Alma Road, Bristol, BS8 2DW
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