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News Index

Celebrating Age Festival looking for ‘Unsung Heroes’

KWAG Working Party Update

Nova Primary School End The Year With A Splash!

A Forgotten Landscape Free Events

Free Summer Holiday Activities

Nature Notes…

Letters to the Editor

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

Two New Blue Plaques in Shire

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The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Councillor Lesley Alexander visited Shirehampton in July to unveil official Bristol Blue Plaques at two of Shirehampton’s most popular Pubs.

On Saturday 8th July along with Bristol Provincial Grand Junior Warden Stuart MacKendrick and The Provincial Grand Librarian Gary Williams The Lord Mayor unveiled a Plaque at the George Inn. A large crowd of Bristol Freemasons, enthusiastic locals and pub regulars witnessed the event. The Plaque celebrated the Lodge of Jehosaphat that first met at the newly built original George Inn on 24th June 1791.

Stuart Mackendrick said 226 years ago Bristol Freemasons first met here. We have a long association with the community in Shirehampton and I welcome you all here today. The Lord Mayor said I am delighted to unveil this Plaque and went on to thank everyone for such a warm welcome.

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On Saturday 15th July The Lord Mayor arrived at the Lamplighters to a performance of traditional English dance by The Bristol Morris Men.

Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Bristol Joe Davis welcomed the Lord Mayor to The Lamplighters. On unveiling the Plaque the Lord Mayor Lesley Alexander said, I am proud to be asked to unveil this plaque. Joe Davis said I would encourage you all to read the history of the Lamplighters on the Pub’s website. It has a remarkable history and Bristol Freemasons are proud to be part of that history

I would like to thank Bob Hollins from the George Inn and Dominic Gundry-White and Richard Livingstone of The Lamplighters for their hospitality, wonderful food and their support in ensuring that the history and involvement of Bristol Freemasons in the community of Shirehampton is celebrated in this lasting way.

Gary Williams - Provincial Grand Librarian and Archivist

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Note from the editor. There is another Blue Plaque at 34 Priory Rd, Shirehampton in honour of Sir Robert Graham Stephens (14 July 1931 - 12 November 1995). He was a leading English actor in the early years of Britain’s Royal National Theatre, was one of the most respected actors of his generation and was at one time regarded as the natural successor to Laurence Olivier. He was also married to Maggie Smith from 29 June 1967 to 6 April 1975 when they divorced with 2 children.

Devastating Fires at Community Farm

Arsonists struck again at Lawrence Weston Community Farm and Firefighters were called in shortly after 9pm on Friday 21 July. An Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said that the fire had been started deliberately in some portable toilets at the farm, which is still recovering from a devastating blaze earlier this year that wrecked the main building.

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No-one was injured in the incident and none of the animals on the farm were harmed. The fire service spokesman said the toilets had been completely destroyed in the fire but was prevented from spreading to other buildings.

Celebrating Age Festival looking for ‘Unsung Heroes’

If you know of an ‘unsung hero’ who is a shining example of what can be achieved in later life - there’s still time to nominate them for an Older Achievers Award.

The Celebrating Age Festival (CAF) is looking for people living in Bristol aged 50 plus who help others, have overcome adversity or who go that extra mile.

Nominations must be in by Monday 4th September 2017 and winners will be announced at this year’s CAF Launch at City Hall on Saturday 23rd September - where they will receive an award for their achievements.

CAF Chairman and Age UK CEO Mark Baker says: The festival has been going for 10 years now and is an excellent event to engage older people in diverse activities. Bristol is full of people who don’t get the recognition they deserve and should be getting an Older Achievers Award. Look at the people you work with, people who volunteer and people who keep things going and tell us about them.

Isobel Jones, Business Development Manager for Alive! says, Older people make a huge contribution to the wellbeing and life of a community, caring for family and friends and helping people engage. If you know someone contributing in these ways, in helping people live a richer and more fulfilling life - nominate them

The five categories are:

  • Sports and Physical Activity - this could be a sports player, coach or dancer
  • Caring Award - for someone who looks after another
  • Challenge - for the person who has overcome illness, shown bravery or risen beyond expectations
  • Community - a volunteer or charity worker
  • Group - an older person’s group that ‘enhance lives’

Nomination forms can be obtained from Shelley Hankins, Services Manager, Age UK Bristol, Canningford House, 38 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6BY, email

Local rising basketball star Molly gains international honours

Fourteen year old Molly James has had a busy Summer with yet more International basketball experience. The former Shirehampton Primary School pupil has recently travelled to both Denmark and Poland to play basketball.

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In June Molly flew off to Copenhagen to represent England at U15 level playing against Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden in an International Tournament.

The England team performed well winning five of its seven games in what was a tough competition against good European opposition. The Tournament is a platform working towards next year’s Great Britain U16 Squad selection which will happen in the Autumn.

More recently Molly captained the South West U15 girls team at the Gneizno International Basketball Tournament (Poland) in what was a hugely successful trip. The South West girls faced off against teams from across Europe including Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus and Russia finishing a fantastic fourth out of 12 teams.

Although the basketball season is over in terms of League games, the Summer provides a tough schedule of training as the South West team prepares to play all of the other regions in September in the Regional Development Tournament in Manchester.

This tournament is where selections for next year’s England and Great Britain teams will take place. Molly will visit Manchester twice in September as she will not only Captain the Regions U15 Team she will also be playing for the U17 team as both teams look to build on 4th and 5th place finishes last season.

Molly will then return to Club action with Bristol Academy Flyers Senior women’s team in National League Division I and with Gloucester Jets u18 Women in the Junior National League.

It’s a busy and ultimately very tough schedule for the Shirehampton native which also includes many hours spent on the Beechley Walk outdoor court homing individual skills amongst team sessions across the region.

Molly has ambitions to go to the USA to further her education alongside basketball with a scholarship to University. She then hopes to join the professional ranks of players in the distant future.

Her journey may only have just started but she has certainly made the right steps and has a bright future in front of her.

SCAF AGM Wednesday 4th October 7-9pm

Notice of Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) AGM

SCAF will be holding its AGM on Wednesday 4th October 7-9pm at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, BS11 9TU.

We would welcome new trustees coming forward to join our board. If you are interested, or would like further information about the AGM please contact Ash Bearman on 0117 982 9963 or email

Everyone Welcome.

Sad news from Charity Search

It was with great sadness that the Trustees of Charity Search recently announced they are winding down the charity, and closing their Avonmouth office and the shop in Station Road, Shirehampton.

Charity Search was founded 30 years ago by Mrs Auriel James, who will be remembered by many in Shirehampton and Avonmouth. In an age before the internet, mobile phones and instant information, Auriel discovered from personal experience how hard it was to find sources of help, especially for the over 60s. With knowledge gained from her research, she established a new charity which would act as a resource centre; in the years since then, thousands of people both locally and nationally have been directed towards help and support. In 1999, Auriel was honoured to receive an MBE for her work.

Today, technology and changes in lifestyle mean fewer people are looking for help this way and, coupled with the long-term problem of lack of volunteers (a problem shared by many charities and organisations locally) the Trustees believe this is the right time for closure. Help will continue, however, by links to a well-established national charity.

Many people have loyally worked for Charity Search, both in the office and the shop, and ‘thank you’ doesn’t come anywhere near to expressing how grateful the present and previous Trustees are to these care workers, administrators, shop managers and volunteers. Thank you to The Shire for all your support. And, of course, to you, the people of Shirehampton, who’ve donated items and money over the years, and boosted funds by purchasing many a raffle ticket!

AGM for Shire Advice Service

The AGM will be held on Wednesday 13th September in the Tithe Barn, Shirehampton at 7.15pm. Avon (University Settlement) Community Association runs the Shire Advice Service. This is an open meeting and we welcome anyone wishing to know more about our organisation.

Scout sponsored walk for LW Community Farm

At the end of May, children from the 191st Bristol St Mary’s Scout Group completed a sponsored walk in aid of Lawrence Weston Community Farm.

They followed the cycle track from Nova Primary School, where some children are also pupils, all the way to the farm. Once there, they were treated to the spectacular sight of the animals being returned to their pens, and were also able to feed the chickens.

We are proud to present a cheque for a farm-tastic £550. Group Treasurer Darren Burke said This was a brilliantly supported event by the children, especially with the unseasonably hot weather on the day! The 191st Scout Group is always keen to help fellow community groups and were saddened to hear of the damage caused to the farm. The amount raised is testament to the strength of feeling for such a worthy cause.

Tynings Field News

It’s never too late to start preparing a veg plot. Time to enjoy the late summer sun and come down to Tynings field community acre.

We are harvesting blackberries, raspberries, redcurrants and our veg is coming along. We have a plot available due to one member decreasing the size of theirs.

Bees are behaving themselves this year and are busily making honey which is for sale. Our honey is derived from borage, lavender, rose and blackberry flowers plus a host of others found in the Avon Gorge. The difference between our wild bees and honey bees are illustrated in these photos as they enjoy the borage flowers.

Two traditional cider trees have born first fruit this year, a Dabinette and a Kingston tree. Our token replacement to the many local orchards lost over the years.

KWAG Working Party Update

Looking across Shirehampton Park from the South Walk before and after work.

South Walk views restored -Usually we plan working party events to last us the whole day. Often a task is so daunting that it’s difficult to believe we’ll finish it; but last month our planned work went so quickly, with such a good number of volunteers, that we’d finished by lunch time!

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Our target in June had been to reopen views across Shirehampton Park from a second location on the South Walk. The results were as impressive as the speed in which we accomplished them. This side of the walk was a tangled thicket which has now yielded to reveal views as far as Somerset on the far side of the Avon.

The panoramas are framed within four mature parkland trees that were barely appreciable before, but now stand revealed as landmarks along the walk; Two cedars, a Scots Pine, and a lime tree all formed part of an avenue that mirrors the one on the north side of the walk.

After lunch, to make use of willing hands while we had them, we moved the short distance west and tackled ivy and brambles that had partially regrown along the Georgian viewing terrace since first we revealed it five years ago. It’s reassuring to know that it’s taken that long for us to need to perform light maintenance again!

Local Produce by Local Children!

Shirehampton Primary School’s Eco-Council have been hard at work growing fruit and vegetables in the playground and at the School’s Green space.

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Each class has a raised bed in the playground and they are responsible for maintaining the plants and watering them. It has really taught the children in the school to respect plants and their environment. On Monday 19th June the Eco-Council sold the vegetables that they had grown in the Green Space. It was very popular with the Parents and Carers. They managed to raise £22!!!

One of the teachers said that the potatoes were the best that he has ever eaten!

The Eco-Council were extremely pleased with what they had sold. The children have decided to spend the money on more plants and seeds for the Green Space.

On Friday 14th July they visited Blaise Nursery to have a tour and see what they would like to buy!

An innovative inspiring approach to childhood education in Bristol

New September 2017 - 3-5yr olds up to 30hrs per week fully funded places for working families

All 3-5yr olds & eligible 2yr olds, up to 15hrs per week. See

At Sansway House Day Nursery in Lawrence Weston the children have for the past year and a half been experiencing the Reggio Emilia approach inspired by preschools in Italy. The Nursery has incorporated Bristol Forest Nursery into the setting offering sessions with a fully qualified Forest school leader and have created beautiful natural environments using open ended resources, light boxes, clay, woodwork, high quality tools and materials.

Sansway children are respected and valued as competent capable learners who work together creating a happy peaceful learning environment, where they are free to develop enquiring minds whilst early reading and writing are integrated into play with authentic items. You will see kitchen scales, tea pots, saucepans, china tea sets, silver trays, baskets, scarves, handbags, dressing up shoes & hats. The rooms are free from clutter and every space ever evolving. The space is cared for by the children and adults but without the pressure to ‘tidy up.’ Children can return to the tower they built, tea party or den they made and continue to play after lunch or the next day at nursery.

Our experienced team guide the children, document and observe them during play and from these records we can plan the environment around each child’s own interest and allow them to lead their own learning journey. The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is incorporated into this and each child’s footsteps learning journal .

We have photographs of the children’s family, local community and beautiful art work displayed around our rooms communicating to the children how valuable their work is and creating a sense of belonging.

The nursery has an on site forest school area and fire pit amongst the trees. We are privileged to have the use of the community farm and its forest area next to Sansway. With safe risk assessed outdoor activities within our safely roped area children benefit from increased confidence, raised self-esteem and a respect for the world around them. It’s truly wonderful quietly observing babies and children playing in the forest.

The team recently achieved Millie’s Mark and The Bristol Standard. Millie’s Mark is an exceptional achievement for a nursery as it shows they are going above and beyond minimum requirements in keeping children safe . The Bristol Standard demonstrates commitment to reflective practice, self-evaluation and continuous quality improvement. We welcome visitors to Sansway by appointment, to safeguard our children. Please do come and spend time with us, you will be made very welcome.

Oarsome New boat for Brightstowe’s young rowers

Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Shirehampton became the first state school in the city to take delivery of a state-of-the-art boat for its fast-growing rowing academy.

Students have the chance to try out rowing after it set up its own academy in conjunction with City of Bristol Rowing Club. Now, after an anonymous donation, the academy has unveiled its own coxless quad boat, named The Dalesman. The boat was due to take to the water on 20th June at the Brightstowe Academy’s regular’s rowing session in Bristol’s Floating Harbour.

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PE teacher Adam Camilleri, who runs the academy, which is sponsored by local employer Nisbets, said the aim was now to reach a standard where Brightstowe could enter a crew into a competitive race next year. A dedicated group of our boys and girls from Years 7-11 have taken up the sport since we teamed up with City of Bristol Rowing Club and now we are the first state school in the city to run a rowing academy with its own boat for students’ use. We are developing a highly committed group, none of whom has ever rowed before. The aim is to develop a sustainable academy that has a profile in the community and now with our own boat, it can go from strength to strength.

Year 10 student Ella Darling said: I’ve been rowing for a while now and I love it. I want to keep rowing after I leave school and my ambition is to go to Cambridge to study veterinary sciences and to row for the university. Andy Wiberg of City of Bristol Rowing Club added: Our club was formerly the Bristol dockers’ rowing club and it has always been about inclusivity. The Brightstowe students are fantastic to coach and having their own coxless quad is a tremendous asset that will enable them to go on to the next level.

Nova Primary School End The Year With A Splash!

Nova Primary School, on Barracks Lane, Shirehampton basked in a term of watery themed activities, culminating in a dress-up day for the charity ‘WaterAid UK’.

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The theme was the brainchild of the school ‘Rights Respecting Council’ who oversee the school’s fundraising for children all over the world, as well as ensuring that Nova is a truly Rights Respecting community. The chosen charity also inspired a whole term of assemblies linked to water in some way; the children reflected on the power of water as an inspiration for the arts and also what a precious resource it is and how lucky we are to have it ‘on tap’.

The term began with an Art week, designed also to develop children’s skillsets in basic techniques such as sketching and watercolours. The year groups were mixed together and moved around a total of four workshops over the week. The children loved learning tips and tricks to become better artists, but also the chance to respond to sea creatures and water in their own, creative style. The week culminated in an after school art trail for families. Continuing the water theme, the school also set the children a poetry challenge. All children worked hard on their entries with the best in each class selected for a ‘Poetry Slam’ on our water-themed dress-up day. The finalists blew our judges away with the depth of thought and imagery that their poems evoked. The Key Stage 1 winner was Bethany from Year 1 and in Key Stage 2, Emily from year 4 stole the show. This showcase of poetry was even more special because of the array of imaginative costumes children wore, some of which were feats of engineering in their construction! Each child contributed a small amount of money for WaterAid UK, bringing the term to a close in a meaningful, but enjoyable way.

Deputy Headteacher, Anna Morris, said, As always Nova children and their families threw themselves into this term’s activities with generosity, fun and enthusiasm. This enables and inspires us to put on events that both educate and excite our school community. We couldn’t be prouder!

Applying for a Secondary School Place

Will your child be in Year 6 from September 2017? If so, you may be interested in attending an information session that is being held at Nova Primary School, Barracks Lane, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9NG on Monday 11th September 2017 at 3.45pm and is expected to last for 45 minutes.

This event is being run by the admissions team at Bristol City Council and will cover the following; How to apply; The importance of using 3 preferences; How the process works; What has happened in previous years in terms of chances at various schools; The timetable.

Autumn Events Coming Up At St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth

Car Boot & Table Top Sale - Saturday 16th September 10am - 1pm

Free entry, everyone welcome! Cakes, bacon butties and refreshments. Sellers £5 per car or table. Set up from 9am. There will be some tables available if you need one on a first come first served basis. Toilet facilities available. In the event of bad weather stalls will be set up in the church hall.

Centenary Harvest Service, Lunch and Exhibition - Sunday 24th September

The Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield (Suffragan Bishop of Swindon) is speaking at this special service. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of St Andrew’s, Avonmouth becoming a separate parish. This is also our final Sunday in the church building before we move our worship into the church hall, ready for church building renovations to start.

Refreshments from 9.45am, Service starts at 10.15 (there are groups for children as part of the service). From 12.30 there will be a lunch and Avonmouth photo exhibition in the church hall.

St. Mary's News - August 2017

Hi Folks!

Just where has this year gone? Already this month you can see the nights gradually drawing in compared to those wonderful long days in June!

Well, our Summer Fayre and Patronal Festival went off very successfully and the Fayre and cream teas in the afternoon for our Flower Festival brought in £1,370.00 towards much needed church funds. Thanks to all who supported the Fayre - I certainly enjoyed the hot-dogs which were being sold in the churchyard. I would have liked to have tried the cakes too, but my diabetic blood sugar readings would have made my testing machine explode!!

A Beetle Drive - a favourite with many of you - is being held on Wednesday 2nd August commencing with lunch at 1pm. Tickets are available at the Church Office price £5.

On Saturday 12th August we shall be holding a Bric-a-Brac Sale in church from 10am until 12 noon, please do come along and have a rummage. If you have any items which you no longer have any use for, which we could sell, then please drop them off at the church prior to the 12th. Thank you in anticipation.

On that very same evening Tim Forder has arranged another of his magnificent Car Treasure Hunts. If you have been on one before you will know how brilliant it is, great fun and with some right brain teasers as clues. The ultimate destination is a hostelry with delightful food. If you are interested in taking part there is a menu at the back of the church, where you can indicate the meal of your choice. The Treasure Hunt will commence from the Health Centre Car Park at 5.15pm with individual cars leaving at five minute intervals. In the interest of Road Safety I must point out this is not timed and careful driving is most important.

There is NO MESSY CHURCH this month as it is holiday time, but normal service will resume in September on Thursday 21st.

Our Seniors Summer Sensation Week this year is from Monday 21st August until Friday 25th August - both dates inclusive. On these five days the church will be closed for tea and coffee as it will be occupied with activities for the Seniors. Also there will be no Holy Communion Service on Thursday, 24th August.

Monday, 28th August, is the last of our Bank Holidays until Christmas time and I am delighted to tell you that we shall be holding another of our Open Church Days. Once again Lunches will be served from 12 noon until 2pm, and thereafter until 5pm cream teas and cakes will also be available. You will have a wide choice on the menu for lunches, all again at very reasonable prices. I know this event is always very popular with the elderly folk, who are unable due to mobility problems, to go rushing off to the seaside or elsewhere and they have the joy of delicious food and the company of others, whereas they may have been confined to four walls whilst everyone else was away enjoying themselves.

Before I go, have you come across the best mathematical equation ever seen? It is - 1 cross plus three nails - equals four given! ‘Bye for now!

Chris Eynon

Shire Craft Exhibition - October 2017

Calling all local crafters. This is to remind you that the longest day is now past and it’s the run down to the craft exhibition. So the date to put in your diaries is Monday 23rd October, have your exhibits in, doors open on the exhibition Tuesday 24th October for 5 days, closing on Saturday 28th October.

Whilst we welcome all local crafters we are also looking for people who would like to spend a few hours during the week helping us keep an eye on exhibits, chatting to visitors generally supporting this local event.

So crafters get working, time will go very quickly. Keep your eyes open for application forms in future issues or just email us your details and we will contact you directly. On the other hand if you would like to help set-up or steward then do please get in touch, our contact details are below.

The most important thing is to tell family, friends and other crafters about the exhibition so together we can make it a great week.

Discover the Severn Beach Line

We've been working with Severnside Community Rail Partnership, GWR and several schools to develop our ‘Discover the Severn Beach Line’ project - and now we’re ready to share!

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Bring your family out on a voyage of discovery on the Severn Beach line. At each of its 10 stations (with the exception of St Andrew’s Road), you’ll find an interpretation board showing you what you can discover in the local area. But that’s not all! There are downloadable maps and activity sheets for each station and for the journey as a whole.

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Shirehampton station

Tested by pupils and teachers alike, we know you’ll enjoy discovering the Severn Beach Line.

The Great Get Together

To mark the first anniversary of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP, on the weekend of 16-18th June events throughout UK were held to remember her and the inspirational words from her Parliamentary maiden speech - We have more in common and are far more united than that which divides us.

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To mark this occasion and in the light of the tragic events of recent weeks, a group of neighbours in Pembroke Road got together to bake cakes and provide cold drinks to hand out to passers-by on Saturday 17th June. The aim was to get people talking to each other, to get to know our neighbours and generally make connections (as well as confections!) and say we like living in this community. Two hours passed by and some amazing conversations were held with people who lived in close proximity but had never really spoken. There was a buzz and desire to ‘do this more often’.

Shirehampton has a great village community but clearly there are many, especially recent incomers, who simply do not know their neighbours - this event was a start. We are certainly up for a repetition.

A Forgotten Landscape Free Events

A Forgotten Landscape is a large-scale natural and cultural heritage project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The project seeks to conserve and enhance the Lower Severn Vale Levels, improving community access to and engagement with the area’s unique natural and cultural heritage. The project stretches from Shepperdine at the northern end to Portishead at the south including Avonmouth and much of Lawrence Weston. But we can’t do it without your help! Learn more about how you can get involved with our exciting volunteer opportunities or come and meet us at one of our events.

  • 30th Birthday Family Fun Day - 12:00 -16:00 2nd Aug Lawrence Weston Community Farm

    Lawrence Weston Community Farm’s 30th birthday is approaching. To celebrate, they are planning a day of fun for all the family and A Forgotten Landscape will be there. Activities for the day include - Bike Swap and Bike Mechanic; Pedal power sound system with Energy ALW; Nature Activities with A Forgotten Landscape, Avon Wild Life Trust and RSPB; Quiet Book Corner; Music; Games; Face Painting; Juicy Blitz Smoothie Bar; Pizzas from the Clay Oven (£2.50); Dinosaur Activities with Museum Service; Birthday Cake; Make Your Own Time Capsule - Bring ideas for the farm’s Time Capsule Project. The event is free but please consider making a donation if you are able. We look forward to seeing you there!

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  • Fossil Foray - 10:00am - 11:45am 5th Aug - Aust

    Come to Aust and be a fossil detective with local expert, Ed Drewitt. The fossil-rich rocks contain the ancient remains of sea-going animals that once lived in our region, 200 million years ago. Wear suitable outdoor shoes (and boots if it has been wet), clothing and sun cream. Bring a trowel if you have one, old newspapers to wrap your fossils and bags to carry them. Directions and location given on booking. Booking essential. No dogs except guide dogs.

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  • Willow Sculpture Workshop -11 am - 4 pm 8th Aug Severn Beach Village Hall

    Recalling the past, creating planters and large sculptures out of willow withies. Workshop is free but please book a place using If you cannot manage the whole session you can come for less, if you contact Deborah on 07796 172033 to arrange. Refreshments provided. Bring a packed lunch or buy it from the nearby cafe.

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  • Bush Craft Workshop - 10:00am - 13:00pm 12th Aug Lawrence Weston Community Farm

    Learn how to survive in the wild! We’ll be discovering how to use plants, what we can eat to survive and how to light a fire. Steve England, a multi-award winning conservation educator who specialises in wildlife, geology, history, and woodcraft skills, will be leading this workshop. This session is for 7-18 year olds. All participants must be accompanied by an adult. This event is FREE but booking is essential.

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  • Fossil Foray - 10:00am - 11:45am 13th Aug - Aust - As above

    As above

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  • Practical Day - Grass Cut - 10:45am - 3:30pm 26th Aug - Campbell Farm Drive

    Join Avon Wildlife Trust for a practical day using hand tools to improve Salt Marsh Drive open space. Today the focus will be on cutting grass. This day is being run by Avon Wildlife Trust. You will need to book by emailing or texting 07458091432.

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Bristol Doors Open Day 2017

Shirehampton Public Hall opens its doors as part of citywide festival of architecture and culture

This September fascinating community buildings in our neighbourhood are throwing open their doors to both the local community and beyond, as part of Bristol Doors Open Days 2017.

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Shirehampton Public Hall

On Saturday 9 September, the Grade 2 listed Shirehampton Hall, designed by architect Fredrick Bligh Bond, will be hosting a community open day including family activities, building tours, A Forgotten Landscape project, stalls, refreshments and a live performance of ‘Lark Ascending’ by local musician Anneka Sutcliffe.

The hall has a wealth of original features such as a working clock tower, original Edwardian seating and a beautiful balcony overlooking the stage where Vaughan William’s ‘Lark Ascending’ was first performed. It is home to a wealth of local groups and organisations such as the Firebird Theatre, the Grainger Players and the Seamills Art Club. Bristolians near and far are welcome to come and explore this striking building.

Further afield

Nearby Kings Weston House and Kings Weston Roman Villa will also be welcoming curious visitors as part of the city wide festival of architecture and culture.

Bristol Doors Open Day is free, with over 120 Bristol buildings to explore over 4 days (7-10 September). Many venues will be offering family friendly experiences complimented by a festival wide poetry activity and competition for children.

For full venue listings and booking details visit: . Printed festival programmes will be available from Shirehampton Hall and libraries across the city.

Venue Opening Times:

  • Shirehampton Public Hall: Sat 9 Sept, 10-4pm
  • Kings Weston House: Sun 10 Sept, 10-4pm
  • Kings Weston Roman Villa: Sat 9 Sept, 10-4pm

Free Summer Holiday Activities

  • Farm’s 30th Birthday Family Fun Day, Wed 2nd Aug 12 - 4pm

    This event is part of the Community Farm’s 30th Birthday Celebrations. It is free but please donate if you are able to. For other events and workshops please see:

    Bike Swap and Bike Mechanic - Pedal power sound system Energy ALW - Nature Activities with A Forgotten Landscape, Avon Wild Life Trust and RSPB - Quiet Book Corner - Music - Games - Face Painter - Juicy Blitz Smoothie Bar - Pizzas from our Clay Oven (£2.50) - Dinosaur Activities with Museum Service - Birthday Cake - Make Your Own Time Capsule - Bring ideas for the farm’s Time Capsule Project.

  • Tues 8th Aug 2 - 4pm Woodland Play with Ape Project.

    An adventure play trail and swing balance scramble in the Water Vole Woodland. Please wear long sleeves/trousers. All ages.

  • Tues 8th Aug 2 - 4pm Kid’s Bike Workshops

    Bring your bike along to learn how to mend, adjust and clean it. Drop in to this session or any other Tuesday through the holidays. All ages.

  • Tues 15th Aug 2 - 4pm Kid’s Bike Workshops

    Bring your bike along to learn how to mend, adjust and clean it. Drop in to this session or any other Tuesday through the holidays. All ages.

  • Wed 16th Aug 2 - 4pm Woodland Play with Ape Project.

    An adventure play trail and swing balance scramble in the Water Vole Woodland. Please wear long sleeves/trousers. All ages.

  • Fri 18th Aug 1 - 4pm Children’s Centre Farm Afternoon

    Join staff from Long Cross Children’s Centre to explore the farm and take part in simple fun activities. Under 8yrs

  • Tues 22nd Aug 2 - 4pm Kid’s Bike Workshops

    Bring your bike along to learn how to mend, adjust and clean it. Drop in to this session or any other Tuesday through the holidays. All ages.

  • Tues 29th Aug 2 - 4pm Kid’s Bike Workshops

    Bring your bike along to learn how to mend, adjust and clean it. Drop in to this session or any other Tuesday through the holidays. All ages.

  • Wed 30th Aug 2 - 4pm Woodland Play with Ape Project.

    An adventure play trail and swing balance scramble in the Water Vole Woodland. Please wear long sleeves/trousers. All ages.

Sessions are ‘drop in’ unless otherwise indicated - no need to book. Under 8’s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Ageing With Style

Do you have a favourite outfit, love showing off your style or have you always dreamed of the catwalk? The celebrating Age Festival is looking for models of all ethnicities, identities, sizes and shapes to take part in our up coming fashion show.

We want to celebrate the diversity of our city, with a focus on breaking down stereotypes surrounding older people and appreciating the variety of cultures which make Bristol the vibrant place it is today.

If you’re over 50 and would like to get involved, please contact Alice or Tanya at the Celebrating Age Festival for further information, before Friday 1st September 2017

To participate you must be over 50, resident or currently working in Bristol, able to supply their own outfit(s) on the day and be available for the Celebrating Age Festival launch on Saturday 23rd September 2017.

Nature Notes…

This fox is one of a family which regularly visits a friend’s garden in the village. They are now so comfortable there, that the pups are brought along too! How lucky are my friends? The foxy cuisine probably helps of course!

waiting photo
waiting photo
Elephant hawk moth

The Elephant Hawk Moth arrived on my living room wall a few nights ago, as all doors were still open to allow the cool evening air in. I am just a little bit jumpy around flying insects, so kept an eye on it until hubby arrived home, then asked if he would kindly escort him back to the garden! This proved to be very straight forward, except it was reluctant to take wing! However that gave me the chance to grab the tablet and get a shot. What beautiful creatures they are!

Just the day before composing these notes, my afore mentioned hubby brought home a baby hedgehog, which had somehow become trapped all night inside the PBA Club’s entrance hall!

As this meant it hadn’t been able to eat through the night as it normally would, I gave it some moistened dried mealworms and a dish of water. We then weighed it and found it was just 117gms. I then rang Secret World for advice, and they immediately said that even though it’s still summer, the little hog was too small to be released.

So off we went down to Secret World as we did last year, and the lovely folk there were only too happy to take it in to fatten up before hibernation time. Updates will follow dear reader!

Plenty of seed going out of the sparrow, starling and blue tit feeders! However the goldfinches are not coming to the Niger seed in great numbers, which is unusual. Hopefully it just means there is plenty of seeds in nature for them.

That’s all for now, so happy nature watching all!

Shirehampton, Sin City

Well, enjoy the headline but the truth may be even more unlikely. One of my stranger discoveries while fiddling with Google Earth has been Shirehampton Drive in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

This is a short residential street in Rhodes Ranch on the western fringe of the city, in the Mojave Desert close to the edge of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is a tourist destination rated with 4.8 stars/5, so it can’t be bad! Why Shirehampton Drive? No idea. The area looks as though it has been named with a shuffled pack of English names, or a roulette wheel with names instead of numbers.

Well, some of them are English, but the only nearby one with even a sniff of the Bristol area about it is Trowbridge Street. The rest are a weird mixture: Warwick Castle Drive, Trumpington Court, Merseyside Drive, Stonehenge Walk Avenue, Canary Wharf Drive, London Eye Court, and swanky Royal Victoria Drive. There is even a Connex Court. Can this really be named after the defunct train operator that used to run south of London till it lost its franchise in 2003, the one with the nastiest pale grey trains I can ever remember seeing anywhere? I prefer to believe not, but you never know. If anyone can tell me how Shirehampton came to travel west with these sorts of companions, do let me know at I’m not expecting a flood of answers. Most likely a desert.

I’ve been totting up our other commemorations. I mentioned the slave estate of Shirehampton in Jamaica a few months ago. But nearer home you could seek out Shirehampton Close, a two-pronged estate road at Webheath in Redditch, just this side of Birmingham. You could also head for Avonmouth Drive at Alvaston on the south side of Derby, or Avonmouth Street on the fringes of Southwark in London. Or you could stay at the Avonmouth Hotel in Christchurch by Bournemouth. (Whoops, just noticed the hotel is now called the Christchurch Harbour Hotel! Anyway, it was named after the river Avon at Christchurch. That’s the way the dice rolls.) But I hope I’ve given you some ideas for your holiday if you can’t risk Las Vegas.

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton Area

Water Buttercups (sometimes called Water-crowfoots) are just about as hard to find as they are to name. Instead of the familiar yellow flowers of dry or damp ground buttercups they have white flowers.

They can occur in ponds, lakes and reservoirs, and in ditches, streams and rivers. They generally have feathery underwater leaves.

Three different Water Buttercups were recorded in Shirehampton ditches in Horace Swete’s list of Bristol plants published in 1854. A century ago, a Clifton pharmacist with a passion for botany, James Walter White, found only one of these - but in his Flora of Bristol (1912) he added six new ones. The fact that one was called ‘confusus’ rather proves the point: his seven probably resolve into four different sorts. Even now, experts have been known to throw up their hands in despair at trying to name them, as one sort almost seems to blend into another.

In the next extensive survey, the Flora of the Bristol Region (published in 2000, but mostly based on fieldwork in the 1980s), there are three different species mapped in the Shirehampton area. One is a specialist plant of brackish pools and is currently known near Bristol only on the Severn Estuary. The other two I recently found in one of the Barrow Gurney reservoirs (thanks to Bristol Water), and one I’ve seen in the remnant ditches of industrial Avonmouth but none of these Water Buttercups are nowadays to be found by the river in Shirehampton. Un-grazed marshes quickly become overgrown with couch grasses. The ditches we have by Lamplighters Marsh are over-shaded and dry. There was a pool which held some uncommon pondweeds up to the 1990s south of Lamplighters Inn, but it must have been filled in for safety reasons. Walking as I have recently been doing in the rural landscape of Gloucestershire close to the Severn, every old field on the map seems to have a pond in it, but when you get to them, most are redundant and overgrown and only a precious few have Water Buttercups at all.

Letters to the Editor

Have your say eMail ‐>

Memories of Dr Archer ‐ Keith O’Neill - Perth - Western Australia

Dear Editor,

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Peter Archer. I have many fond memories of Dr Archer and his wife Jean (Mrs Archer) from well over 40 years ago and especially visiting/staying at their home in Station Road when I was young. I was practically there most weekends hanging around with Mark, Paul and Simon playing tennis and other sports and especially in their swimming pool.

I would be most grateful if you could pass on my sincere condolences to the ‘Archer’ family in your next edition of the ‘Shire’.

Hello to all of my family and friends in Shirehampton and surrounding areas.

Regards Keith O’Neill - Perth - Western Australia

Bus, Service ? ‐ Matthew Pearce

Dear Editor,

I had a hospital appointment to attend Southmead Hospital on Thursday afternoon (15th June). As a resident of Shirehampton the bus service is the Number 18 and the bus stop is right outside my house! As such you’d think it would be easy to get the bus to my appointment. You’d be wrong! I was at the stop five minutes before the bus was due and I waited with my three year old son for 40 minutes with no sign of the bus. I checked the app to see when it would arrive but it just showed the number three and four service. I must say since the app was last updated it’s utterly useless. I can’t use it to find out when any bus I use is due to arrive. The 902 just never shows an eta!

Anyway, I rang the customer service line which kept me on hold for over 10 minutes and irritated me immensely by directing me to the app that didn’t work or facebook which I don’t use. When finally someone answered they kept me on hold for five minutes on a silent line, making me wonder if they had just hung up.

They finally came back to say they couldn’t tell me where the bus was or when it would turn up as there was no tracking!! Basically I was told to sit and wait as long as it takes!

So my question is, how am I supposed to get to a hospital appointment with a three year old in tow when I can’t rely on the bus turning up? Do you want customers sitting at bus stops (especially in this heat) all day until one finally arrives (assuming it does)?

I have heard from several people that the 18 is a very unreliable service. In fact my wife joked that it wouldn’t turn up!

I don’t find this funny at all. You’re supposed to be running a service that customers can trust and rely on! When that service takes people to such a critical location as a hospital I would expect your business to show greater consideration for the public they are serving.

Please can you advise what actions are being taken to improve this situation so others don’t find themselves in a similar situation?

Yours faithfully Matthew Pearce

‘Betty Marten’s drawling’ ‐ Lin

Dear Editor,

I was reading your July edition of Shire and wondered if you were ‘having a laugh’? On page 10, there is an article on ‘The Orchards, Shirehampton’. Did you really mean to type ‘Betty Marten’s drawling’?

These days, with Spellcheck, there’s really no excuse.

Your paper is vital to the residents of Shirehampton, Sea Mills and surrounding areas. Please keep up your good work.

Kind regards, Lin

Note from the Editor. Whoops!!! I could say it was dictated with a ‘Brizzle’ dialect but, yes, the error should have been picked up during the proof reading. As all editors are volunteers, working to a pretty tight deadline, mistakes do happen. We are currently very short handed on the Editorial side and any additional help would be most welcome. If you have basic computer skills and are interested, please get in touch.

John Family History - Can You Help? ‐ Julie Harrison Mrs

Dear Editor,

I am wondering if anyone can help me. I am researching some family history, the surname being JOHN. In 1960 William John would appear to have had a motor car hire service at 79 Dursley Rd, Shirehampton. William and Lily May JOHN were married (2nd marriages) and lived at 12 Horseshoe Drive, BS9 for many years. He died age 61 on 5th March 1961. Probate awarded on 21st April to Elisa (not Lily) May John, widow, she must have changed her name or it was wrongly written. Lily May John, of flat 3 Jim O’Neil House, St.Mary’s Rd, Shirehampton died 24th Jan 1984.

Lily had a daughter by a previous marriage, Margaret Elaine FRY, father Harry Frederick FRY. Margaret married my husband’s father William Morrison HARRISON (his 2nd marriage) at Bristol Registry Office in 1955 and Lily was a witness.

Thank you. Julie Harrison Mrs

Shire Readers, can you help please?

Dear Editor,

The Shire committee has recently acquired a box of archive photographs collected over the years but some are not marked with any information.

They may well have appeared in earlier copies of the paper. We will be running a series of these photos over the next few months and need help in identifying the occasion, dates, and names of those pictured.

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

For the second season in succession a club visited on the previous season Summer Tour accepted the invitation to play a return game at the City and Port of Bristol Green.

This year’s visitors, Bexhill, themselves on a tour, based at Weston-Super-Mare brought six rinks of bowlers to enjoy an afternoon in the sun at Shirehampton and to renew some acquaintances made in East Sussex last summer. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and great to see the whole green in use and full of bowlers.

waiting photo

Two days later, on Monday July 3rd, 43 bowlers and their families set off on the 2017 Summer Tour, based at the Whitehall Hotel in Bournemouth. This was the clubs 12th Summer Tour and a return to Bournemouth for the first time since 2011. Four games were enjoyed in glorious summer weather at Argyll, Broadstone-Wessex, New Milton and Knyveton Gardens. Two of these were won and two were lost, but on tour, results are less important than the pleasure taken from being on the green, with likeminded people and all enjoying the game of bowls. Lis Davies, with help from Bill Hatherall was Tour Leader once again this year following a break through illness in 2016.

The tour was successful and enjoyable, with prizes each day for the best winning rink and a weakest rink medal for the rink losing by the most shots. After the Gala Dinner on the

final evening prizes were presented to the top Man and Top Lady based on shots scored over three games. This year’s winners were Mervyn White and Lin Burand.

Apart from bowling there was plenty of time to explore the area or to make the most of Bournemouth and its splendid beach. For some it was a paddle or even a swim in the sea. The Bournemouth Big Wheel and the Landtrains were an attraction too good to miss for some bowlers and the hotel provided excellent musical entertainment on one evening and a Horse Race night on another - all good fun.

Prior to the tour the men’s League Team had a very successful June winning three successive away games, two at Begbrook and the third at St. Anne’s Park. But further progress in the Gloucester Two Rink ended at Cotswold on June 10th when, despite leading for much of the game and having a winning rink the eventual result was a loss by five shots.

The Ladies progress in the Inter Club, following a great win over Page Park, ended when they met Ardagh on Tuesday June 20th. The away rink drew but the Ardagh came out on top in Shirehampton and won the game overall. Visiting a previously unvisited green always creates a little extra interest and the first ever trip to Banwell on Sunday June 11th was no exception. The green is unique in that it is L Shaped. Until the 1930s it was the site of the village pond and water still flows beneath it, with a pump house in one corner to create the unique shape.