Friday, 28 April 2017

A Weekend in Bristol - St Anne's Wood

Paul Gulati gateway 
We made a beautiful discovery in Bristol last weekend and, best of all, it was free! St Anne's Wood in Brislington is relatively new in natural history terms having grown up since the Second World War when the majority of this area was farmland. It languished for a while, but was subject to an ongoing regeneration effort in 2013 which is resulting in a serene natural space. Himalayan Balsam plants have been ripped out and coppicing undertaken, and regular cleanups now help keep litter to a minimum although we two two instances where, in a practice we commonly see in Spain, people must have deliberately walked a distance into the wood, past a number of bins, simply to dump an armful of their rubbish. Sometimes I really do despair! The trail, workshops and new paths and entrances were joint funded by Bristol City Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, the Neighbourhood Partnership’s Wellbeing fund and the Heritage Lottery. Ideal for getting away from the city bustle for a while! The Wood follows Brislington Brook and there are maps and further information from 2013 and 2014 on the Brook Trail blog.

St Anne's Well 
I loved the whimsical entrance gates. These were created by local blacksmith Paul Gulati and are great fun. Fairly steep steps lead down from the pictured gateway to the brook. I was amazed how traffic noise seemed to just vanish as we descended! I would have been easy to imagine ourselves way back in history, especially as a small re-enactment group appeared between the trees dressed in Medieval garb! This area was once part of one of the most important pilgrimage routes in Britain with the now neglected St Anne's Well being a focal point for locals and travellers alike.

For a much shorter 'pilgrimage', you can spot each of the nine plaques set up within the Wood. They each give brief information about historical sites such as the well, or about flora and fauna that can be seen nearby. If you are visiting with children, take paper and pencils with you because these plaques are apparently also intended to be used for the ancient practice of brass rubbing. I remember doing that on a school trip many years ago!

Brislington Brook 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to increased spam, I've turned on comment moderation for the time being. Genuine comments will appear after I've checked them!