Welcome to KWAG's March newsletter
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The works of both man and nature are coming to quick fruition this spring!

Above: Early Spring at the Echo

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This month:

  • More volunteers required for Archaeology day
  • Working Party update 
  • Continuing works in the gardens 
  • From the archives
  • Mothering Sunday event 
  • Bulbs putting on a show
  • New steps to reinstate historic pleasure walk

Working Party Reminder - Postponed until Sat 18th

Reminder:   Because of the forthcoming archaeology day March's working party will be postponed until Sat 18th. Meet as last month at Shirehampton Road public car park at 10am. We will be doing lighter work than in previous months and be focussing on some "Natural spacing" and basic woodland tidying, . 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. 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.

More volunteers needed for Archaeology day on 11th March

Come along to our own Time Team experience! We're still looking for a few people to help out with next Saturday's free archaeology event. The day will run from 9am-5pm on Saturday 11th March. A maximum of ten volunteers will be able to attend an introductory seminar on Saturday morning, led by Phil Rowe of Bristol University, where they will be briefed on the geophysical survey techniques and process, including health and safety on site.
Above: Similar work with KWAG and University of Bristol in 2012
Below: The results from the first phase of work in 2012.
But this will mainly be a practical day where we'll get out into the parkland and start uncovering the hidden history beneath our feet! Volunteers will undertake a resistivity survey which will take in a series of areas marked out with pegs and lines on the house lawns. The rough area of the survey is outlined in this google map . The event will take most of the day and volunteers should plan to provide their own lunch. 

If you would like to be involved in this exciting project please email, or phone (or leave a message) on 07811 666671 as soon as possible. We will publish the results of the study as soon as we have them!

Working Party update

February saw an extended onslaught on the invasive laurels. The additional working party, focussing on woodland to the west of the existing clearance area, was intended to open areas for replanting with native woodland species by the City's One Tree Per Child programme. 

Below: Looking south from the main path through Penpole Wood before and after work. 

The area, lined by the main path through Penpole wood along its north edge, is encircled by several mature trees, including two yews, and the scarce white oak: the target for opening up works. This unusual tree formed part of the ornamental woodland planting at some point in the late Victorian or early Twentieth Century and has lain remote and hidden for at least two decades. Laurel clearance has renewed views of it from most directions and opened up the under-storey ready to be planted later in the month by a local school group. 

Below: View south from within the clearance area. The white oak appears from behind the laurels in the middle distance
Already, since the working party, a swathe of bluebells, previously hidden by undergrowth, has sprung up in the area of the oak and we hope that more species will enjoy the daylight that's now reaching through the trees. The damage caused by the laurel in this area has seen a large number of stunted and malformed trees growing through its suffocating blanket. We hope that the new trees will have a greater chance of returning this part of woodland to ts native state. 

Thanks, as always, to a record number of volunteers who helped us tackle this tricky spot. We believe that the eighteen volunteers represents our largest turnout yet! 

Below: looking east along the main path through Penpole Wood before and after work 

Continuing works in the gardens 

Norman Routledge of Kings Weston house has been continuing work on the gardens throughout the winter. The new plans and landscape design received planning consent in January and since then the area of the old building site ruins on the south-east side of the mansion has been transformed. The scheme includes a relaid lawn, new planting, trees, and a long water rill running down through the site along an old workman's trench. 

Below: View across the new lawn and garden works towards Kings Weston house 

These images show the site as it now looks including the concrete foundations of the new water feature and the recently planted beech hedge and shrubbery that will separate the gardens from the existing car park.  Some of the stone elements recovered from the ruins that once stood here have been reincorporated into a retained section of the old walls and turned into a secret garden for private use. 

Plans have been amended from since we last circulated them; the proposed second drive exiting onto Kings Weston Lane from the woodland car park has been omitted following consultation.

planting  along the south side of the water feature, alongside the new gravel path, will soon enhance the scene. Although the gardens are still incomplete it's easy to see the handsome effect they will have when finished, returning some of the lost formality to the setting of this Grade I Listed building. Norman would like to pass on his thanks to some of KWAG's volunteers who let a hand last month in getting the new trees an shrubs into the ground. 

Below: Looking towards the Echo with the secret garden to the left and the new water feature in development in the centre. 


From the archives 

Below: An attractive, if somewhat inaccurate, watercolour painting of the view from Penpole Point in around 1790-1800 showing the lost lodge and the house beyond. The artist was a well regarded landscape painter John Warwick Smith (1749-1831)

Mothering Sunday at the House 

Kings Weston house is eager to develop a new programme of events in the house and the latest comes at the end of this month for Mothers Day. The Bistro will be open for  special Sunday Lunch (£16)  or book for an afternoon tea an a tour of the historic house. All Mums will be treated to a glass of fizz & biscuits to take home! If you are interested in treating your mum then Email booking is essential. please contact Kings Weston house via or via the contact page on their website

Bulbs putting on a show

Volunteers who've helped with previous year's Big  Bulb Plants will be delighted to hear that the results are currently on show! Miniature daffodils above Shirehampton Road are already in bloom and the thousands of bluebells planted in the former laurel-infested areas are well on their way.

The big show of daffodils below the viewing terrace are shortly to explode into action. Whilst we can't lay claim to having planted the majority of those our work to clear out the copses has certainly revealed them and allowed them to thrive. 
Make sure you take advantage of the displays this year and take a visit, but don't worry if you can't we'll keep you updated!
Top: Miniture Daffodils overlooking Shirehampton Road car park.
Above: bluebells planted last year along the Penpole Wood avenue

New steps to reinstate historic pleasure walk

Below: The site for the steps marked on the 1772 estate plan.
Regular visitors to the estate will be well aware of  the poor condition of some of the paths. Whilst responsibility for these lies with the City Council we are keen to make enhancements where we can. A forthcoming project will aim to reinstate a section of Eighteenth Century pleasure walk near the Echo with steps.

The former alignment of the path has been lost over the decades, and whilst the well-trodden route is still used it has become slippery and treacherous in areas, and frequent shortcuts have worn less appropriate routes through the grounds. A new set of about fourteen steps will formalise the route once again and return the graceful sweep up to the viewing terrace beyond. The images here show the proposed route and we've marked it out to ensure we purchase enough materials. The paint will soon be scuffed up, so please don't worry too much about this act of graffiti vandalism!  

Work on the bay tree, originally planted as part of this Georgian landscaping scheme, will also be required as the upper boughs are threatening the urns and parapet of the Echo itself. As the project develops new evergreens may be introduced here to match the historic planting. 

Above and below: The steps marked out beside the echo

Development of the steps  is intended to begin in May and will form an additional working party event. Anyone interested in adding to the parks infrastructure is invited to get in touch so we can arrange dates for the work. 



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