Working party 6: getting down to the heavy lifting

Hayley, Harry and Lorna set out plans and assess the need for some heavy lifting.

Hawthorn down. Now we’re really opening up the view to the south.

Help comes over the hill in the form of Gerald and his big digger.

Gerald makes quick work of the pile of big wood. Tomorrow: earth-moving.

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Working party: day four


Photos: William Heath

Bonfire, clearing, strimming and trimming in bright summery late September heat.

We discussed location of new walnut tree, hedge cutting and laying, bramble management, drainage and tracks with our very knowledgeable and practical neighbour Paul.

Daisies in the walls seem to be surviving. We’re looking at a swing in the ash tree.

Photos: Harriet Tayler

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Images of Kelston Roundhill by Rachel Wilcox

Kelston Roundhill Autumnal Glow: etching by Rachel Wilcox.

We came across this striking image of Kelston Roundhill online, and contacted the artist Rachel Wilcox. We were pleased to hear back from her, telling us her work and how she sees the landscape:

The image of Kelston Roundhill Autumnal glow is a large sized etching that I made last year in October measuring 50×50 cm.

I have lived nearby the hill in Upton Cheyney for many years so I am fortunate to see and visit it during the differing seasons of the year.

For me it is a dominant part of my local landscape and it shows many different characteristics throughout the year and time of day and night.

In the winter it is a backdrop for bright silver moons and dark skies. In the autumn it glows in low sunsets which inspired this image .

Its surrounding hillside provides me with wonderful textures to draw – especially from the north side where new woodland has been planted.

From this racecourse access side you can also see the hill with its relationship with other hills …I am particularly thinking of Stantonbury Hill which you can view beyond Kelston Roundhill.
They seem to have some mystical connection!

Kelston Roundhill Winter: etching with aquatint by Rachel Wilcox.

Rachel also sent this second image, printed in black to emphasise the hills’ distinctive nature in winter, and writes:

I continue to be fascinated by this Roundhill and will continue to make further works around it.

Rachel’s prints are for sale: her web site is here. She prints by hand on a etching press at Bath Artist Printmakers workshop in Larkhall Bath where she is a co director. She can also offer greetings cards of the black image for sale.

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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 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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