Happy New Year from KWAG
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Winter view across the Severn vale from kings Weston house

2016 is KWAG's first major anniversary; this Spring we'll have been going for five full years. It will be an opportunity to look back and reflect on what we've achieved over a relatively short space of time, but also we hope to offer some public events to help celebrate.

If you value our work please consider donating to help support our projects. Follow THIS LINK to donate safely and securely towards KWAG's work

This month:

  • Bad news on the ancient avenue
  • Working Party Progress in Penpole Wood
  • Planning application relief
  • One more Listed building; Another on the way?

Don't Forget! - Working Party Reminder

Reminder:  December's working party will take place next week, on Sat 16th. Meet at Shirehampton Road public car park at 10am. This month we continue our new project to naturally-space the woodland close to the Circle. Come with bow-saw, loppers, sheers etc if you have them.

Our ongoing work  will involve the removal of self-seeded saplings and light undergrowth, but there will be tasks to suit all abilities. Please come along with suitable clothing for the weather on the day, bring hand-tools if you have some suitable,  and we hope to see you there.
Please keep an eye on our Facebook Page in case of any change of location, or call 07811 666671 on the day to find us.

Bad news on the ancient avenue

Last week we received the very bad news from Bristol City Council that four of the ancient Lime trees on the main avenue in front of Kings Weston house need to be felled. The trees, planted originally in the early Eighteenth Century by Sir Robert Southwell, are succumbing to serious and irreversible disease; for the safety of the public they now need to be removed. We've seen that there is extensive growth of bracket fungus all up the main trunks and bleeding canker on another. The Council's tree officer has given us the following detail:

The four trees really are in very poor condition and it is not feasible to leave them standing because there is a real possibility of collapse. The Ganoderma applanatum/australe decay fungus has been present on all four for some time and is now advanced and extensive. It feeds off the lignin in the wood and will have degraded the lignin within the main stem to leave a spongy mass of white cellulose. The fungal brackets are normally at the root plate and lower stem level but the fact that brackets are emerging higher on the stems indicates that their food source is depleted in the lower stems.The Kretzschmaria deusta decay fungus is present on one of the four (in addition to the Ganoderma). It feeds off both the lignin and cellulose within the lower stem and/or roots."

The Council have affixed notices to the affected trees. We've asked that the trunks are removed from the avenue after felling so that they don't cause maintenance problems, and there may be possibilities to use the wood for benches or similar. We will also be considering sponsorship of replacement trees as soon as possible which will require the grinding-out of the stumps and replanting with suitable specemins. If anyone is interested in helping us with this please get in touch.

Working Party Progress in Penpole Wood

2015's final Working Party started off our natural spacing of parts of Penpole Wood. This work is essential to retain a healthy and biodiverse woodland. Our focus was on clearing competing undergrowth and saplings from around the more mature trees, and thinning out other areas to allow the better young trees space to thrive.

The work also enabled us to help conserve the avenue leading from The Circle into Penpole Wood. These trees were planted in 1856 after a great storm blew over an earlier avenue of elms along the same line, and with the area tidied and encroaching undergrowth cleared between the trees we've restored their earlier formality. This will have the additional benefit of revealing the thousands of native bluebells along the path come spring.

Below: Before and after looking along the Penpole Avenue


Planning Application relief

Shortly after our last newsletter of 2015 we received some reassuring news: that the year-old planning application for the "Karakal" land on Peopole Lane had finally been refused. Proposals for the site, forming the backdrop to Shirehampton's war memorial, have been submitted several times over the years and been refused on each occasion. The latest planning application sought outline approval to turn the open car park space over to business units.

As the proposal was located within the nationally Registered historic parkland we objected to the proposal and were joined in our opposition by the National Trust, Historic England, Georgian Group and many, many, private individuals. Our objection was to the principle of inappropriate development in the park, but there were also concerns over traffic and over-development of the site. We're very grateful to everyone who helped fend off this most recent application and we'll let you know if it goes to appeal, or returns in a new guise.


One more Listed Building; Another on the way?

Also coming before Christmas was confirmation that our application to have the Georgian Viewing Terrace behind the Echo Listed has been successful! It now has Grade II Listed protected status. To take a look at the final description go here: Listing Description. The terrace has quickly been added to the fantastic Know Your Place website run by the Council and this link will show the entry: Know Your Place. Listing will strengthen our chances of securing grants to repair the structure.

Historic England also approached us to help improve the Listing description for The Echo, which we've since provided, and we've also submitted a package of research and new information that we hope will lead to better recognition of the stone dial on Penpole Point; presently the listing describes it as a Nineteenth Century garden ornament rather than in fact a Seventeenth Century navigation aid for the Merchant Venturers. This may lead to the structure being upgraded from Grade II to either Grade II* or Grade I.
Below: The War memorial shortly after the dedication in 1921
Finally, we're grateful for one of our members (who would prefer to remain anonymous) for approaching us and providing a well-researched portfolio of information that we hope will lead to Shirehampton War Memorial receiving Listed protection. The monument stands at the junction of Shirehampton Road and Penpole Lane, at the top of Park Hill. As well as sitting within the historic park boundary it also has a strong connection to the history of the house. It was built on land donated by the then-owner, Philip Napier Miles, and  placed to terminate the axis from the main entrance front.

The War Memorial was designed by the distinguished English architect Ernest Newton F.R.I.B.A. (12th September 1856 - 25th January 1922). He was one of the most successful domestic architects of his generation, articled to Norman Shaw before establishing his own practice in 1879. He was appointed President of the Royal Institute of British Architects 1914 - 1917, and in 1918 received the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. In 1919 he was elected a Royal Academician, and in 1920 he was awarded the C.B.E. It has not been possible to identify any other war memorials by Ernest Newton. Hence the Shirehampton War Memorial is most probably the only free-standing, war memorial in the country designed by Ernest Newton.

At a ceremony on 4th September 1921 the Memorial was unveiled by Brigadier-General Charles Granville Bruce C.M.G. D.S.O. (1866 – 1939), and dedicated by the Archdeacon of Bristol. The first part of the service was held in Shirehampton Parish Church, from where a procession made its way to the Memorial. The
Western Daily Press reported that: Following the singing of the National Anthem by the large gathering present in the park, Mr P Napier Miles called the roll of those who had made the great sacrifice and whom he described as “the glorious dead”…. Brigadier- General the Hon. C. G. Bruce, before unveiling the memorial, said when he was invited to perform the ceremony he accepted with pleasure the honour. Their cross showed how the men of Shirehampton did their duty by their King and country, but it also fulfilled a greater purpose for it was typical of the spirit of the community to do its duty at all times when called upon. Though their memorial was to those who had fallen, there were many others who were worthy of everyone’s remembrance. Brig.-General Bruce then released the Union Jack and as it fell from the monument he stepped to the front and reverently saluted.”

(above: Napier Miles at the dedication ceremony)

Historic England are prioritising the Listing and protection of war memorials during the centenary commemorations of the First World War, and we hope that our submission might bring new recognition of this monument.

Copyright © 2016 Kings Weston Action Group, All rights reserved.

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