Signs that Spring is coming are all around the estate
Above: Drone view of Kings Weston House and Severn levels, courtesy of Bob Pitchford
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- Working Party update - Above the quarry garden III
- Iron Bridge update
- Sad News
- Third edition of our popular estate guide
Working Party Reminder - Saturday 16th February - more laurel clearance
Reminder: November working party will take place this Saturday 16th.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: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VkCHs0l2fMQptasM1Vb1gWTXB5xS4OOa&usp=sharing
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.
Working Party update - above the Quarry Garden III
Continuing work on clearing laurels made good ground last month. Blessed with better weather than the previous two events we made good progress in opening up the forest floor again. The area we focussed on continued on from last month, working east along the top of the former quarry.
Above: the view west along the top edge of the former Quarry Garden in Penpole Wood. The trunk of one of the plan trees on the left
There is no ground cover in this area aside from the laurels. No native species have been able to compete and the trees in the area, like those in similar zones we’ve tackled, are stunted and unhealthy. Fortunately there are some good mature trees in this area that will ensure a continuity of canopy; Two large plane trees are particularly characterful.
This month we are continuing work through the area and, although barren right now, the tree canopy will soon make things look a little less bare. The area has also been earmarked by us for native planting of groundcover that we hope will replace the invading laurel.
Above: A similar view looking across the working area
Below: Views from the main path across the area now stretch as far as the former Quarry Garden itself.
Iron Bridge Update
There has been an update on the iron bridge over Kings Weston Road; but it’s not all good news. The Council have announced that they intend to raise the whole bridge by 1m; this will require the construction of newly engineered abutments, access ramps, railings, and steps on both sides of the bridge which may make a considerable impact on the landscape surrounding the Grade II Listed structure. More information can be gleaned from this recent piece in the Bristol Post.
Perhaps most disappointing is that the promise made by Councillor Mahri Threffal in June last year, that there would be public consultation on the next steps following a report on the options available, has evaporated. The proposed “workshop or community meeting" has been abandoned and there now appears to be just a single option on the table from the highway’s department. Whilst everyone is keen to see the bridge repaired and reopened we are currently in the dark over what’s proposed, why less invasive options have been discarded, and how decisions that affect both the historic parkland and community have been taken. It’s also unclear why the community outreach originally offered, and where public input could have helped shape the best solution, has evaporated and the public shut out of the decision making process.
Above: Community protest over the Iron Bridge closure held this time last year.
The Council are still awaiting reports required to support the intended planning and Listed building applications. We may not see what’s actually proposed until the planning applications go in. The planning process is not the “public consultation” originally offered, and gives no scope to make constructive input on design proposals, just the option to support/object. With the timescales of the determination period we are unlikely to be able to consult with our members and supporters to gauge opinion before compiling our KWAG response. We will make sure you are aware of the application when it goes in and our committee’s view as soon as we have convened to discuss it.
We are sorry to announce the passing of one of our most loyal volunteers, Colin Kirchell. Colin had been a regular working party volunteer since spring 2014 and helped us in many of our greatest challenges including step building through Penpole Wood, and installing a number of benches in the park. Colin was famous for his incredibly neat log piles, something he’d picked up from his other volunteering exploits with the National Trust. We were delighted that Colin was able to join us in London in 2015 when KWAG were shortlisted for the national Heritage Angels awards. Always friendly, modest, and hardworking Colin will be greatly missed by those who worked beside him. His wife Sharon writes “Colin was very sad that his pancreatic cancer prevented him from taking part in the KWAG activities, including installing the benches with you. Whenever he felt up to it, we walked around the Kingsweston grounds, checking out the things that Col had had a hand in and noting other areas that had received attention.” Colin passed away on the 12th January after a short illness.
Colin Kirchell: 5th Sep 1956 - 12th Jan 2019
Above:right: Colin, standing second from the left, at the completion of our steps near the Echo.
Below: Colin seen on the far right at our Heritage Angels Awards in 2015
Third Edition of Popular Estate Guide
Our familiar guides to the park and house have been absent from the estate since September last year when the last of them were given out at Doors Open Day. Now the third edition of the fold-out map and history has just been published and will shortly available again from the dispenser in Shirehampton Road car park, and at the café at the house. In total we’ve already distributed around 13,000 free guides. 8000 copies of the leaflet lasted us just under two years, so we hope the new run of 8000 will take us until at least 2021! We’re very grateful to Norman Routledge of Kings Weston House for contributing towards the cost of the third edition.
Below: KWAG volunteers have been keeping on top of brambles over the winter. These daffodils below teh Georgian Viewing terrace will again be able to be seen