Welcome to KWAG's November Newsletter
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Planning problems persist at Penpole Lane 

Above: The avenue to Penpole Wood giving a glorious show of colour this year   


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This month:

  • Bulb Plant  complete!  
  • More Planning battles at Penpole 
  • Secret Nature walk report 
  • WWI remembered

Working Party Reminder - Saturday 10th November - new laurel clearance 

Reminder:   November working party will take place this Saturday 10th.Following a few months of alternative work we will be returning to the main task of tackling invasive cherry laurel close to the main path through the woods, and above the former Quarry Garden.  PLEASE NOTE this Month we meet again at SHIREHAMPTON ROAD CAR PARK at 10am. We will be working here:

Please feel free to come along any time during the day, but we do prefer to be able to do health and safety briefings as a group at 10am if possible. There will be tasks to suit most abilities though this month it will be principally focussed on felling vegitation. 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.


Bulb Plant Complete!
Over 8000 bulbs were planted as part of our now-annual Big Bulb Plant last month. Volunteers were invited to come along and lend a hand planting 5000 native bluebell bulbs, and 3000 daffodils along the line of the ancient avenue leading from The Circle to Kings Weston House. We’re grateful for all our regular working party volunteers and a number of new faces in having helped out with this event.


As with previous years the bulbs went in quickly and we were finished by lunchtime. Fortunately the stormy weather that had been forecast didn’t materialise during the morning and we remained dry until the bulbs were in, and then helpfully assisted in giving the newly planted bulbs a good watering in that afternoon.

More Planning Battles at Penpole
You will probably recall the proposed use of the site on Penpole Land for van-living for YardArts. The application has now been registered and is available online. KWAG maintains it’s objections to the use of the site and the proposed structures and development within the Grade II Listed historic landscape and will be lodging our formal objections soon.

The application no longer includes the originally intended café or workshop units but intends a site for x20 caravans a portacabin, and 10m performance tent and denser fencing around the perimeter and within the site. Already there have been over 90 public objections registered against the scheme including Local Councillor Matt Melias. The application has been “called in” by Councillor Jo Sergeant which means that it will now be heard at full planning committee, so it is important that your concerns, should you have them, are made clear to the committee.
This proposal represents an intensification of development within the Conservation Area, and would be visually intrusive on the historic landscape and the setting of  the Shirehampton War Memorial, setting a precedent for development of this site that could ultimately cause permanent harm. KWAG and park users would welcome your objections to the inappropriate development of the land without the Grade II Historic Landscape via the planning online website. Note also that this is a permanent development, not temporary as previously reported.

The application number is 18/03220/F and you can search for it HERE.
We have also had notice that there has been  an appeal launched against the refusal of the proposed shipping containers and use of part of the site as storage. If you had already made an objection to that planning proposal you will have been contacted by the Planning Inspectorate and invited to make further representation. The appellant has submitted a new document stating their reasons for taking it to appeal and if you have further comment on that in relation to your original objection your support would be welcomed.  If you use the above link and look for the original application you will find the appeal documents are those most recently added to the list. 18/02279/F 

Secret Nature Walk report                            

Our Secret Nature walk took place on a very cold, but sunny morning, last weekend.

This was something new for us, a family friendly nature journey around the woodland. Our guests found out about the best places on the estate to see autumn wildlife, heard some unusual nature stories, and learnt about the lives of some of King’s Weston’s animal residents, including badgers, roe deer and buzzards; and how to spot them!
Thank you to everyone who came along. We’ve had some great feedback from those who took part.
There will be another opportunity to discover more of Kings Weston’s Secret Nature, when Jules leads another walk in the spring.   

WWI remembered

This month marks the Centenary of Armistice Day. We would like to take this opportunity to remember the First World War and its impact on the estate, Shirehampton, and those caught-up in the conflict on the home front.   

At the outbreak of the First World War the owners of Kings Weston House, Philip Napier Miles, and his wife Sybil, wanted to help the war effort and turned the house into an auxiliary hospital caring for injured soldiers returned from Europe. The hospital was run by Sybil, who would later be honoured with an OBE for her efforts. Hospitals across the south of England were put to use in caring for troops brought back from the trenches, but the most heavily injured soldiers were taken to established hospitals. Kings Weston provided care for less serious wounds and for patients who needed time to recover, often before they were returned to their regiments fighting on the Continent. Most of the rooms in the house were turned into hospital wards and, under Sybil’s direction, Red Cross nurses cared for the wounded. The main ward occupied the library, now known as the Vanbrugh Room.  

The gardens around the house were ideal for fresh air and relaxation that soldiers needed to recover. It was though that seeing other soldiers in uniform might upset those wounded very traumatically; Instead they wore “Hospital blues”, though soldiers were permitted to wear their regimental caps. The gardens were also put to use in raising money to run the hospital with open days when visitors would pay a fee to enjoy the historic grounds and know they were helping the Red Cross at the same time. An influx of soldiers in the summer of 1916, probably from the Battle of the Somme, curtailed charitable events meaning the house was not open to visitors. The programme for one of these events can be found here. Soldiers from the nearby Remount Depot regularly put on fundraising tournaments in front of the house where troops would compete in events using the depot’s horses, and inviting paying members of the public to visit.  

The hospital closed in 1919, after the end of the war. It’s not clear whether it was PN Miles, or some of the soldiers how had been treated there, but a plaque was made that still sits over the front door of the house commemorating the happy times that recovering soldiers spent there.

PN Miles donated the land, and supported the erecting of Shirehampton’s War Memorial at the junction of Park Hill and Penpole Lane; this is now a Grade II Listed structure. It was officially unveiled in 1921 with a memorial service, and has continued to be the focus of local remembrance of those from the Parish who were not fortunate enough to return.

 KWAG put together a series of exhibition panels focussing on the area during the First World War and these can be found via our website


07811 666671
KWAG, c/o 75A Alma Road, Bristol, BS8 2DW
Copyright © 2018 Kings Weston Action Group, All rights reserved.

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