Jade’s fruitful summer Sunday Roundhill visit

Here’s a heart-warming story from last summer on the Roundhill. Jade writes:

Since being at primary school, I’ve always had a fascination with Kelston Roundhill which has continued into my early 20’s. My dad told me for years that he’d take me to the top of the hill, but I’m still waiting!
About a year ago, me and my partner decided on a Sunday adventure with our dog to get to the top of Kelston Roundhill and wow…I’m so glad we did. The views are just stunning and our dog loves it! Since then, it has been our favourite place to go and I love being able to see it from our home in Hanham and on my daily commute to work.

We love it so much in fact, that last Friday 31st July my partner surprised me with a proposal at the top of the hill! So Kelston Roundhill is even more special to us.


Congratulations both!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kelston summit digital supper 7 Oct 2015

Slide1The old barn on Kelston Roundhill is finding a new purpose threshing ideas, as Graham Padfield puts it so well in his poem The Barn on the Hill. The old name for Kelston Roundhill is Henstridge Hill, the “gathering place of stallions” in time of need. Last week a bunch of us who work on digital ideas felt the need for a gathering of the clans.

We met because while massively optimistic about the possibilities of the digital world or information age we share some concerns:

  • individuals are suffering loss rights and of agency. This problem is getting worse;
  • and organisations aren’t going through digital transformation at the pace or in the manner we hoped for – this is not getting better fast enough.

The concerns are well expressed for example in Sarah Gold’s TEDx talk or Martha Lane Fox’s Dimbleby lecture. There are many insights to be had from the experiences of the Government Digital Service GDS. Martha’s dotEveryone project expresses the ambition to make Britain brilliant in the digital age. If that’s to happen we need to understand the problems and know what each of us can and should do about it in practice.

It was wonderful. The tribe gathered. The location, setting, furniture, food, walk worked. A good time was had by all. In terms of concrete results the afternoon produced excellent and clear problem statements, and many memorable epithets – see below.

If you want to use the Old Barn at Kelston as a workspace for threshing ideas or a bunkhouse click here or email kelstonroundhill@gmail.com.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Barn on the Hill by Graham Padfield


Photo by Sarah Prag

Below the hill, where buzzards glide,
All alone the stone barn lies,
And people walking care not why
The  barn’s alone and still.

The barn has seen splendid  times
When masons made her walls with lime,
To garner grain to grind
From  fields upon the hill.

Men and boys and wagons wheeled
Hauled the sheaves from nearby fields,
And thrashed the crop between tall doors
The produce of the hill.

Across the floor, the wind’s cool draught
From heavy grain lifted chaff
That floated on the sunlit shafts,
Until the barn was filled.

Now the fields around the barn,
Too steep and small for growing corn
Grow grass for cows on valley farm
And sheep across the hill.

The waving wheat no longer yields
Head heavy sheaves from stubble fields,
Hauled on wooden wagon wheels,
That creaked across the hill.

So empty now the barn it lies,,
No more the flails and shovels fly.
The old slates slip, and slowly slide
To rest upon the hill.

On the beams step pairs of doves,
Cooing, keening, making love,
As if they, to the barn, must prove
There’s still life on the hill.

But Fortune’s wheel turns around
And better uses must be found
Than lying empty ‘mongst the sounds
Of nature on the hill.

Builders come with latest tools,
Installing bunks and showers and loos,
For the convenience of those who choose,
To walk upon  the hill.

To breathe the air and drink the view,
Philosophise and be improved,
Above the valley’s buzz and hue
And venerate the hill.

So the barn that’s watched the country age
Now finds itself at centre stage,
So young and old henceforth engage
In the story of the hill.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prepping for Kelston summit digital supper

Rufus from OpenKnowledge started a series of “digital suppers” and we’re doing one at Kelston. This requires something to sit on and something to eat off so we’re assembling some trestle tables and benches.

2015-10-04 12.17.06The trestles are made by our friend Ed Strutt

2015-10-04 12.58.21The beech came from Abbot’s Copse (see Storm damage – one beech down)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unknown c19th landscape artist busted by c21st Matt Prosser

So here’s a thing. Matt Prosser saw the picture below and went to repeat the same view with a contempory photograph. But guess what: there is no vantage point that offers that view. Matt writes:

Your last blog of the early 19th Century view of Bath and the Clump got me thinking so I went along to Prior Park with my son to see if we could find the vantage point.

I’m pretty convinced that the unknown painter set his easel in the grounds of Prior Park, which was laid out in the mid 18th Century.

However, it would appear that he used some artistic license to ‘squeeze’ the clump into his view of Bath as my ‘photographic evidence’ shows.

The perspective of the Abbey, the position of Pultney Bridge and the heights of Lansdown in my photo all correspond well with the painting but the Clump is way off to the left.

I surmise that the clump was too good a feature to leave out of the painting so suitable adjustments were made

And here’s his evidence. Thanks Matt!

20150821-IMG_9283-Pano-1Prior Park Viewpoint (small)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

View of Bath (artist unknown, c 1820) from Jane Austen exhibition

IMG_20150816_150550(rather poor photo by me, with permission. Where’s Matt Prosser when you need him??)

This view of Bath skyline form the south west shows the clump was already prominent in 1820. The print appears in the current Jane Austen exhibition at Victoria Art Gallery. The text the curators chose to acccompany it it from Northanger Abbey:

‘”For six weeks I allow Bath is pleasant enough, but beyond that it is the most tiresome place in the world.”

You would be told so by people of all descriptions, who come regularly every winter, lengthen their six weeks into ten or twelve, and go away at last because they can afford to stay no longer.’

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Picnic and ceilidh at the old barn

20150801-IMG_8322-1 Kelston Picnic


Photo: Matt Prosser

We’ve been working on the old barn for a year to make it secure, give it a floor, loos showers and a food prep space. The idea is you can open up the space for workshop, bunkhouse type use, then close it up again and it’s a shuttered rural barn. We’d like to see it used for schools, NGOs, appropriate small businesses, family and friends.

Today we had a picnic and barn dance in the refurbished space, then watched the sun go down with friends from Bath, Germany and Australia.  We had new ideas for what needs doing and what to use it for; if you’ve got more ideas or needs get in touch.

Next steps: returning to rural feeling after the disruption of the works; sorting out energy so it works off grid with little or no use of the diesel generator.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment