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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New splash of colour in Kelston clump

This was nice to see after our December bluebell planting efforts.

We’re very much hoping these are Hyacinthoides non-scripta and not the other ones; we love Jamon iberica but Hyacinthoides hispanica not so much…

Here’s the key to distinguish them…

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Middle Ground Growers’ equinox celebration at Roundhill Barn

We were pleased to welcome our new neighbours the Middle Ground Growers from the other side of the hill for an equinox celebration of their new venture and successful fundraise.

Their Weston Spring project is a new market garden growing local organic fruit and veg, with local delivery by e-bike. In an age of mini-courgettes flown in from Kenya and asparagus from Peru they’re taking the World Heritage City to the old ways in an outstanding, natural and beautiful way. Let’s not forget this is how Bath’s earlier Roman and Georgian residents would have fed themselves.

Starting a new venture is always risky, and earning a living from local farmland is hard work. Their worthwhile project is something we’re happy to support.

Weston Spring project supporters wandered up to the clump as drinks were served, with local cider and beer from the Electric Bear brewery .
Anticipation building as the bands soundcheck while Robbie cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
World music legends Baka Beyond – our local friends Su Hart and Martin Cradick with a superb Senegalese rhythm section – dishing up mellow danceable traditional Cameroon sounds. Excellent support by Easy Peelers.
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Spring, and the lettings season restarts for Roundhill Barn

Spring and beautiful weather has seen increased visits to Kelston Clump. The Roundhill Barn is again available for short-term hire: see dedicated web site here. Apologies if the lettings team has been hard to contact for some weeks: we had admin and staff issues (all now happily resolved).

This weekend two lucky 16-year-olds had a memorable birthday weekend of sunlight and moonlight with dozens of friends. Adult supervision was kept at a safe distance with the elegant solution of a 1967 Airstream Trail Wind from Nick at Glamstreams: all mod cons in a classic aero-engineering aesthetic.

Heating, shower, loo, cooker, super-comfy double beds; LED lighting and USB power throughout. The refurbished and modernised classic Airstream from Glamstreams is the business.
Who says 16 year olds aren’t responsible? Roundhill Barn beautifully cleared up by young people after an intense evening of exuberant celebration.
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