Roundhill field at its finest

Late June summer meadow: Roundhill field photo by Doc Searls (via Flickr)

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Unprecedented concert by and for deaf and hearing-impaired music lovers at Kelston

On 5 July Kelston Roundhill hosted the first ever concert for aural diversity.

Conceived and presented by the composer Andrew Hugill (who himself suffers hearing loss and tinnitus) the concert was performed by musicians themselves in various stages and types of hearing loss.

The audience that came to hear the groundbreaking event were as aurally diverse as the performance. All present were profoundly moved; one man reported this was the first music that had ever stimulated his inner ear.

The needs of a hearing impaired audience were met in a variety of ways including sign language interpretation, haptic feedback through vibrating floors (shown above) and silent disco headphones and silent applause and cutlery. The event was supported by ReSound Audio, makers of specialist hearing aids which have proven particularly helpful to musicians suffering hearing loss.

Hard-working Craig who puts on the Kelston Records events takes a rare moment of relaxation during the set.

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Spotted: Focus on Kelston Roundhill

 

“Hello Kelston!” Geert sets up Focus for a set of sizzling prog.

In case any bemused walkers were wondering about the classic sounds coming up from the Old Barn last Saturday yes it was indeed the legendary Dutch prog rockers Focus, helping us celebrate some milestones. They were in superb form.

Here’s part of their sound check (HT Harry).

At the end of a superb 90-minute set Thijs van Leer told the guests “We feel very at home here.”

Focus on Kelston Roundhill: Menno Gootjes (guitar), Thijs van Leer (keys, flute, vocals), Pierre van der Linden (drums), Udo Pannekeet (bass). Photo: Dorothee Jung Giedroyc.

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Kelston Roundhill: two photos taken from Widcombe, Bath

Photos by David Goode, June 2019

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Poem for Solstice by Jon Hamp

The Oak king and his circus folk
They brought a marching band.
And felt this barn, below these trees was the fairest place to stand.

And Holly, the preacher who led them,
As the summer light held sway.
Removed his hat and stopped the crowd,
Then he turned to them to say,

‘May the winter never gather
Or those deep dark birds amass,
May these thoughts that might defeat you
Dissipate and pass’

Now there’s only bare earth
Where the elephants stood
And waited by the door.
Just yesterday their city stood here,
And the winds smelt of canvas and straw,

And miles ahead there was rain in sheets
That washed their coloured tents 
And the clowns playing cards in the corner 
Could’ve told you what this meant.

Kelston Laureate Jon Hamp reads his new poem at the Bard of Bath’s Solstice celebration inside Kelston Clump

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Bard of Bath’s Solstice event: poetry, storytelling and a Barn Dance on Kelston Roundhill

Thanks to Conor Whelan, the Bard of Bath, to Jon, Graham Tic and all the other poets, to Craig, Marick and the band and everyone who came.

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Wind array trial due to start on Kelston Roundhill in July

Kelston Tump LLP (the partnership of William, Klaus and Clare, the owners of Kelston Roundhill) has just authorised a small-scale test of a new prototype wind array half way up the hill. The Old Barn and the borehole providing water for cattle on Kelston Roundhill are off grid, currently powered by an ageing 27kw diesel generator. We want to use the abundant wind and sun to provide the modest amount of power needed for farming and events at the Old Barn.

The first Spinetic prototype on trial at a farm in Wilts (with car & tractor to show scale)

Designed and commissioned by Spinetic, a Wilts-based startup, the wind array is a lightweight, low-cost flexible way of harvesting wind resource. Wind arrays are drastically lower in height, have less visual impact and appear to have much less impact on wildlife than traditional turbines. We hope to test all that and more in the trial.

The wider policy context is that the UK now by law must be “net-zero” on carbon emissions by 2050, ending Britain’s long-standing and disproportionate contribution to climate change. Bath & NE Somerset Council declared climate emergency in May 2019, and is committed to carbon neutrality by 2030. B&NES commissioned some years ago two very pertinent reports. In 2010 CAMCO delivered the latest update of its report Renewable Energy and Planning Research. In 2011 Land Use Consultants delivered a report Landscape and Visual Issues for Areas with Technical Potential for Wind Energy Development in Bath and North East Somerset. The TL:DR is that Bath and surrounding areas are reasonably rich in wind resource (as any walker on the Kelston Roundhill could tell you), and that it’s a sensitive landscape (the reports mention Kelston Roundhill several times) with important sight lines, vulnerable wildlife and sites of special scientific interest. Wind is our biggest resource, but B&NES is not suitable for large scale wind farms.

B&NES Adopted Placemaking Plan sets out the existing framework (248pp); this is set to be superseded by a new Local Plan which takes over from 2020/1 (draft here: see p130 onwards for climate change related matters).

The 2010 CAMCO and 2011 LUC reports opine on the sensitivity of what they describe as large, medium sized and small wind resources. By this they mean

large (2.5MW, 135m to tip and 100m rotor diameter); medium (600kW, 61m to tip and 42m rotor diameter); and small (15kW, 25m to tip and 12m rotor diameter)

There is absolutely no way anyone is erecting such insanely massive wind turbines on Kelston Roundhill. It’s not even a controversy; we just wouldn’t think of them. But what the B&NES consultants are describing, remember, are turbines. What we’re going to trial is a prototype wind array. The maximum height is just 6m. These are better described as low-impact or modular; they are under a quarter the height of what B&NES’ consultants designate as “small”.

Kelston Roundhill is an iconic spot, visible from far away. It’s part of the skyline of the World Heritage City, clearly visible on any photo, painting or engraving made of Bath from the south west. It’s AONB and green belt. It’s sensitive, and we need to tread carefully towards a sensitive way to harvest renewable energy. It’s a good place to do the right thing. The wind speed is good (location is key, and Spinetic has been measuring it over the last year).

The trial prototype is 25m long by 6m high, and will be located along the hedge between Barn Ground and Seven Acres. There’s no public access there so if you want a close inspection or have any questions please contact us: kelstonroundhill@gmail.com.

We’ll do an online consultation survey shortly after installation so all interested parties can express their views based on the reality an actual trial installation.

Before and after the prototype trial: crude artist’s impression

Before: the hedge between Barn Ground and Seven Acres (photo taken from the hedge between Hangmans’ and Barn Ground)

An impression of the scale of the 6m high wind array. But artist’s impressions can be misleading; soon we can show the prototype trial for real.

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