Star field bridges – a poem for Solstice

by Jon Hamp

Walk on star-field bridge-
fur long, sea-swept grasses,
here at this wheeling world’s end,
the long year shrugs,
and passes.

Luminary cities throw
telegraphed jabs of light,
over the star-field bridges
to fracture
winter night.

2022 winter Solstice just after sunset

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Paths closed Tue 20th and Weds 21st Dec for essential tree works

Attention walkers: the permissive paths from the Cotswold Way to Kelston clump will be closed all day Tue 20 Dec and Weds 21st Dec (until 1430).

This is for essential tree works inside the clump, undertaken for reasons of public safety and also for the longer term health of the trees more likely to survive and thrive.

Maintenance work on the ash at Roundhill Barn. We’re cutting it right back so it doesn’t overhang the courtyard.

Ash dieback is affecting trees across the country; for more information on ash dieback see eg here. The hope is that some ash will simply survive, but that picture is not yet clear.

It’s a crying shame to have to cut back ash when there are relatively few trees on Kelton Roundhill and ash is one of the main species that succeed here. But we have to take into account how badly the ash appears to be affected, and how often people are likely to walk near the ash tree in question. We take into account Forestry Commission guidance on management (see here).

The only parts where we expect the public are on the permissive paths round the clump and in the Roundhill Barn courtyard, and therefore for the second year running we’re cutting back ash which seems even slightly affected in those two areas.

Since Wed 21st is Solstice we’ll try to reopen the paths by 1430 in case anyone wants to see the sun set on the shortest day.

Next week 20 and 21 Dec the paths around Kelston Clump will be closed.

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Memorable evening coming up at Roundhill Barn Sat 8 Oct: exceptional music, food, refreshment

There are – for our money – no more accomplished and exciting musicians in the south west than Modulus III, the improvisation trio of Dan Moore, Drew Morgan, and Matt Brown. Dan and Drew are multi-instrumentalists covering synths, cello and Rhodes keyboard; Matt is a drummer in a class of his own.

Modulus III will sit down in Roundhill Barn this Saturday, look at each other, and start to play something no-one has ever played before. It’s edgy, it’s atmospheric, you can lose yourself in it, and you can dance if that moods sweeps over us all.

It’s their first time at Kelston Roundhill since their memorable gig in 2017 – see 20-min video here; you get the idea. If you’re susceptible to this sort of music Modulus II is absolutely the best of its type. Even if you’ve never experienced improvisation you’re guaranteed a memorable evening.

Come join us! There will be simple food (bread, soup, the award-winning local organic cheeses), a cash bar and we’ll light the fires for a warm welcome. Tickets via Komedia.

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Childhood recollection of Kelston Roundhill

Tom Teague discovered this web site which evoked childhood memories. He writes

When I was a boy in the 1960s, once or twice a year, I remember being taken with my younger brother and sisters from our then home in Liverpool to visit relatives in the Bristol and Bath area. I have a vivid memory of a small hill with what always seemed to me to be a very distinctive but rather sinister clump of trees at the summit. You really couldn’t miss it. It almost always seemed to be on the skyline. I have seen it from Bristol and from Bath, but I have a particular memory of seeing it from the car as we drove between Keynsham and Bath. Not having made that journey again since about 1970, my memory of the feature may be unreliable.

This week I happened to be working in Bristol. For some reason I can’t explain, I have often thought of that hill during the intervening decades. This time I asked a lady where I was working and she told me she thought it was Kelston Round Hill. The position of the hill on the map does accord exactly with my memory, but the photos I’ve seen on the internet are all fairly recent and they don’t quite match what I recall having seen. My memory is not of a particularly dense clump, but of a small number of trees, at least one of which was a little misshapen. That may be the feature that made the sight so distinctive and unmistakeable. I’m as certain as I can be that it was Kelston Hill that I remember seeing, and it occurs to me that some changes may have taken place during the 50+ years that have elapsed since I last saw it. For example, more trees may have grown to maturity since then, making the older trees less noticeable or even masking them from sight. I’ve considered whether it may be that I saw the hill when there were no leaves on the trees, but I don’t think that explains the discrepancy. We most certainly did visit the area during the summer, although I seem to recall one visit in late winter or early spring.

An old photo of Kelston Roundhill, more as Tom recalls it (from the Internet, no attribution given)

I can’t explain why this peculiar landmark should have continued to fascinate me for so many years, long after I last saw it, but the fact is that the memory is still quite vivid. Incidentally, we never once visited the hill. I only ever saw it from some distance, on the skyline.

Do you happen to have any old photographs from the mid to late 1960s by any chance? Can you shed any light on why the trees now seem more numerous and dense than they did then?

Of course, it may just be the unreliable memory of an old man!

Incidentally, I was delighted to make my first ‘modern’ sighting of Kelston Hill (i.e.since 1969-70) yesterday afternoon, from the top of Clifton Observatory. It was very far away, but the approximate bearing (about 30 degrees south of due east) seems to match the position of Kelston Hill, and I’m sure I correctly identified it.

Tom asks if anyone can send in more photos of Kelston Clump as it used to be, in its more sinister state…

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Roundhill Barn hosts Kelston Records’ fest

Roundhill Barn hosted the Kelston Records fest – a simple celebration of life and summer – 15-17 July. Around 100 guests from locally, Germany and as far away as New Zealand enjoyed Bath Soft Cheese meals, local lamb, a specialist Kenyan feast, local beer and cider.

Music was provided by the Marick Baxter Band, Anna Kissel, The R.A.M.O.A.N.E.R.S and Anunaki Fan Club; consistently excellent in very different ways. Brocks Adventures treated guests to archery and axe-throwing. Fairfield House provided logistics support and two excellent table tennis tables.

Kids were entertained with a craft workshop and firing lemonade bottles into the sky with the “Wacky Chad” custom water rocket engine. Thanks to all involved for organising, support and clear up.

Roundhill barn prepped and ready for the Kelston Records fest.
Sound-checking the Anunaki Fan Club who did a breathtaking set. Catch them if you can.
Morning campers. We keep six bell tents on site; you can hire them in also.
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Roundhill Barn set up for a local wedding

Ali and Tom used Roundhill Barn for a wedding reception, with a stretch marquee and furniture from local firm Abbas Marquees. We commissioned a second generator for backup just in time to make sure their home made cream cakes stayed safe in the heatwave.

For details about hiring Roundhill Barn see roundhillbarn.com

Roundhill Barn with courtyard covered by stretch marquee for a July wedding.
The Missus models the comfy sofas, part of the furniture hired in from Abbas.
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Roundhill Barn all set up for senior medical colloquium

We’ve got some senior doctors from Bath’s Royal United Hospital using Roundhill Barn tomorrow for a medical charity strategic awayday. We’d love to more for the local NHS, and we’ve tried to set up a soothing and creative environment for them.

The beautiful new boardroom table was a generous gift from Neal’s Yard pioneer Anya Saunders when she finally closed her long-standing practice. Weighs a ton.
Pallet sofas for chilling and chatting, round a fire if needed.

For details on hiring Roundhill Barn for strategic awaydays or celebrating life events visit https://roundhillbarn.com.

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Hah hah! the bridges say

Jon Hamp writes:

HAH HAH!

the bridges say,
You do not walk in Wales today….

But I have walked and I have seen,
your rain, your light , your grey, your green.

A gentle ‘SO?’
these Cotswolds say….
we hold close counsel here today.

and hide our jewels in folds and pleats,
where green cloaks; beech and alder meet.

So, let your mountains hold their height,

We sleep in folds and pleats tonight.

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Solstice: Kelston Roundhill

The Kelston Laureate Jon Hamp sends us these words:

Through

The gate latch
falling lifts the head.
Antlers reach to touch the veil
resting soft against it.

The key is entered, upside down.
Lock turns, and time
breathes outward, through
to somewhere else.

And gently, dust and antlers
sift downward through the mesh.

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The Whale are back Saturday – tickets still available

This Sat 21 May Three Cane Whale are back at Roundhill Barn for an intimate concert. The trio play delicate, original instrumental folk tunes, and deploy rich array of original instruments many of which would be unfamiliar.

“It’s fantastic: Three Cane Whale are very talented musicians playing 20 or more instruments…what they do is to capture the natural environment. So to record them on a hill – Kelston Roundhill – seems perfect”

Verity Sharpe on BBC Radio 3, about the album Three Cane Whale live at the Old Barn recorded on Kelston Roundhill

Tickets £15 available here. Cash bar with excellent food available on the night.

https://komediabath.ticketsolve.com/shows/873625175

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