Sketch of Bath from Kelston Roundhill by W Jeffs

This graphite sketch of the view of Bath from 1833 was recently sold by Sulis Fine Art

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Barn working party day 2

Grim weather receded and again we worked in sunshine. Won’t always be like this…

Can we rescue this from brambles and nettles and make it an area kids will want to explore?

Prepping the saws: filing, oiling etc.

If you want to join a guided land improvement working party up at the Old Barn email kelstonroundhill@gmail.com. Lots to do.

 

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Barn outdoor working party session 1

First it was unspoilt in gracious decline, reclaimed by nature. Then we refurbished the barn to make it usable but it left a building site. So now we’re undertaking a small programme of works on the courtyard and land immediately around the building.

We’ve got the view of Saltford. But can we open up a wider view? 

Will plants survive in the wall? Or will ravenous deer munch everything?

Rich sets about processing the storm-felled ash.

 

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Council’s Bathscape project shares geological and other analysis

B&NES’ Bathscape project has started to produced summaries and analysis of the landscape around the World Heritage City. See below for example for what they have to say about the geology of Kelston Roundhill:

The geology of this area is topped primarily by Fullers Earth Rock From the Greater Oolite Group of the Middle Jurassic Period. Kelston Roundhill stands proud of the Fullers Earth Rock and comprises a cap of Greater Oolite Limestone below which is Upper Fullers Earth and then the Fullers Earth Rock. Below the Fullers Earth Rock is a layer of Lower Fullers Earth and then below that a harder layer of Inferior Oolite Series limestone followed by Midford Sand from the Upper Lias Group and finally Lower Lias Clay. In terms of surface geology, the Lower Lias Clay and Midford Sand form the substantial part of the lower and middle slope of the escarpment, the Inferior Oolite forms the upper middle slope and the Fuller Earth the upper slopes with Greater Oolite limestone capping Kelston Roundhill.

The alternating layers of harder Oolite limestones and softer clays and sands has given rise to which are of key importance in shaping

the landform of the Escarpment and Enclosed Limestone Valley landscape types of the Bathscape area. Landslips have occurred through a long period of geological time right up to the present. In this character area landslips have affected the area as follows: below Prospect Stile; the Midford Sand belt just at the head of the tributary valley between Prospect Stile and Kelston Roundhill; all around the limestone cap of Kelston Roundhill in the Upper Fullers Earth band and then continuing downhill to the west and south of Kelston Roundhill in the Fullers Earth Rock and Lower Fullers Earth; over the whole of the south end of the escarpment between the Cotswolds Way and Kelston village.

These landslides and a process known as cambering where blocks of capping limestone break off and slip down-slope, are responsible for the highly undulating valley sides and escarpment within the Bathscape area. Undulations and bulges form both along the slope and down the slope where the softer clays and sands are squeezed out between and below the harder limestones; with steeper angles where the harder limestones are present usually at the top of the slope and then around halfway down where the Inferior Oolite limestone often forms bench-like outcrops.

In the Prospect stile to Dean Hill character area all these effects are present. In addition tributary streams of the River Avon form more marked indentations in the escarpment slope, in particular running down to the west from below Prospect stile.

Overall the escarpment is moderate to steeply sloping throughout with limited areas of shallower slopes in an uneven distribution over the slope. The highest points are at Prospect stile (238m) and Kelston Roundhill (218m) with the general top of the escarpment at around 170m decreasing towards Dean Hill down to 120m.

Kelston Roundhill forms a major landmark on the skyline where it forms a distinctive conical hill topped by a clump of trees. Its distinctive outline is visible for miles around including from many parts of Bristol city.

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Summer solstice celebration at the Old Barn

Kelston Records’ summer solstice celebration with Rachael Dadd and her band.

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Before and after: an architect’s impression of the Old Barn

Matt Somerville writes

Until last week the last time I was at the Old Barn at Kelston was several years ago. I was there to help develop ideas about how it could be adapted to support the life that would be breathed back into it by its new custodians. The building was a shell, but what a place! Hunkered into the side of the hill, it takes little imagination to appreciate how fierce it gets up there sometimes, but the views from Weston to Clifton are breath-taking.

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Photos by Matt Somerville

Fortunately, it was a calm evening that I last went back. A summery haze layered the view, making the sweep of fields laid out to the Mendips seem even more expansive. The perfect evening for a gig put on by RMT Music and Kelston Records with sets from Run Logan Run and Sloth Racket.

The Old Barn has been adapted for this kind of event now. It’s not a transformation, and nor should it be. There’s electricity for lighting and sound, a small kitchen, loos  and shuttered windows to keep the weather out and the warmth in. The big barn doors open into a walled courtyard – a half-sheltered space to spill out to, weather permitting; a threshold between the cosy interior of the barn and the vastness of its setting.

I can confidently say this is a venue like no other I’ve seen. The walk up through the fields seems to set it apart from the everyday world, building a sense of anticipation that I imagine will be rewarded every time. The music was well worth the walk too, and it’s tempting to think that those who perform here feel the inspiration of such a wonderfully atmospheric setting. Sloth Racket’s structured discordance gave a sense of anarchy with a meticulous plan. Run Logan Run, the Bristol drum and sax duo, captured and magnified the sounds they were making, spinning and distorting them in an evolving, amplified loop. Their music gave the impression of being on the edge of running out of control but always, and with great skill, kept in check.

There are musical events here regularly now, put on by Kelston Records. Based on my last visit, I will definitely be back. As long as the weather’s not too fierce.

Matt Somerville is the architect who pioneered the Feildbarn for Feilden Clegg Bradley studios. This helped inspire the Old Barn conversion. 

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Wildflowers in Hangman’s

Not oilseed rape. Self-sown buttercups and ox-eye daisies in an organic field that started out with rye grass and clover.

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