Garden Archaeology – Wednesday 2nd October

Throughout September we are asking the people of Brislington to look for interesteing object in your back garden! Anything from broken pottery to clay pipes and coins. You will then be able to bring along your finds to an ID session with experts Kate Iles and Kurt Adams from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. The garden archaeology finds session will be held at St Anne’s Junior School, Langton Court Rd from 4-7pm on Wednesday 2nd October. For more information on how to go about your garden archaeology visit the Brislington Community Archaeology Project’s (BCAP’s) website and download their garden archaeology factsheet:

Kate Iles from the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery said “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn more about Brislington’s history. Recording artefacts like fragments of pottery, clay pipes and old coins found in people’s gardens can help us to build up a picture about the archaeology underneath. This joined with the other archaeological work planned could reveal some very exciting results.”

If you are interested in joining with other volunteers to do archaeological (geophysical and augering) and historical (visiting the Somerset Heritage Centre) research in October and November this year please email BCAP at and let us know your contact details.


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New Wildlife Survey of the Brislington Brook

Discover Brislington Brook recently comissioned Bristol based ecologist Phil Quinn to do an in depth wildlife survey of the Brislington Brook and its main tributaries. During May and June, whilst England was undergoing an unusal heat-wave, you may have encountered Phil traipsing up and down the brook in waders with sampling equipment in tow repeating a survey first done in 2009.

This year the survey was completed in early summer and so gave a good indication of the flora and nesting bird species that exist along the brook.

Amongst other things, Phil discovered that Otters (Lutra lutra) are still present on the brook; At least 3 pairs of grey wagtails are breeding in the brook and (as I’m sure you’re aware if you’ve ever walked down there) Kingfishers use the brook to hunt.

Unfortunatley Phil aslo discovered a number of areas that looked more like a rubish dump than a stream and several points where foul water is being discharged into the brook….So there’s still lots to do! Come along to our next Friends of Brislington Brook meeting if you want to get involved

If you want to read the full report, you can download it and the associated maps by following the links below:

Wildlife Survey of Brislington Brook 2013 -report

Figure 1 – Survey Sections

Figure 2 – Points of Interest and Recommendations

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Grant us success!


Discover Brislington Brook and the Brislington Community Archaeology project have been successful in our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and have been awarded £9,500 to undertake various archaeological and community activities in St Anne’s!

The main outcomes of the project are as follows:

  • Undertake archaeological surveys with community involvement (Geophysical and Augering)
  • Undertake historical research at the Somerset Heritage Centre and Bristol Records Office with volunteers
  • Publish a book about the history of St Anne’s Chapel and Holy Well.
  • Publish teaching resources for Primary Schools
  • Run workshops with teachers and school children based on the teaching resources
  • Put on a celebration event, commemorating the Pilgrim’s Way in July 2014

The first date for the diary will be an ID session with Kate Iles from the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery who will identify finds from people’s back gardens. This is on Weds 2nd October 4-7pm at St Anne’s School. We need to publicise this as widely as possible because there’s no point in doing it if nobody turns up!

WE NEED YOUR HELP! BCAP’s Rosie Tomlinson an DBB’s Rowan Matthiessen will be hand-delivering lots of leaflets to houses in the vicinity of St Anne’s next Thursday. If anyone is available to help we are meeting at the Langton Court Hotel, Thursday 5th Sept at 6pm, aiming to set off at 6:15pm. It would be amazing to have your help and support! Even if you can’t commit to next Thursday then please come and pick up some leaflets to do on another day. Let us know if you’re planning on joining us.

There are also some exciting opportunities for you to get involved in. This Autumn/Winter we are planning a Geophysical and Auger survey of St Anne’s wood (the area around the well and brook) as well as trips to visit archives in both the Somerset Heritage Centre and Bristol Records Office. If you or anyone you know is interested in these opportunities please get in touch by emailing

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Pilgrims Way 2013 Workshops and Pageant

Pilgrim's Way 2013 copy

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Nightingale Valley – by Richard Bland

A massive thanks to Richard Bland who led a brilliant early morning bird walk this Saturday. he’ll be back to help out with the Bioblitz on the 29th May. In the meanwhile, this is what he’s got to say about our lovely local gem!

“We are so lucky in Bristol that at the end of the last ice age the sea level was 150 feet, that is 50 metres, lower than it is now. The result is that even very small streams run through very deep valleys, and Brislington Brook is no exception. Steep sides are hard to cultivate, and difficult to build on, so as Bristol expanded the developers usually left them alone. Brislington Brook rises in Hengrove Park, cuts through the village below the church, and then starts to fall very rapidly through Nightingale Valley and past St Annes wood to join the Avon just above Netham Lock. There are, alas, no Nightingales now, but a morning walk began with a Mistle Thrush, these days uncommon, and a Song Thrush in loud song nearby. Nearby a Great Spotted Woodpecker started drumming as we went past the grand old London Plane that must be two hundred years old, and dominates the valley. A silted up pond, probably filled in the great flood of last November led on to an ancient bridge alongside which was huge old coppiced Small-leaved Lime. A Chiffchaff sang, and then four Jays appeared, chasing one another. In the blue sky above a Sparrowhawk was flap- gliding across the valley, looking for breakfast, and a Green Woodpecker gave its call that gives it its name of Yaffle. At the flood relief site, where, after the 1967 floods, a tunnel was cut through a hundred metres of rock to reach the River Avon on the other side, a Goldcrest was gathering moss from streamside stones, and a London express thundered past into one of Brunel’s many tunnels. To make the day a pair of dainty Grey Wagtails posed briefly on a streamside thorn, and a Grey Heron made its graceful way across the valley to the Eastwood Farm heronry.”

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Something for the Easter Holidays?

Entrance design days 2013

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Forage and Feast Photographs

Have a look at this wonderful photo montage produced by Paul Blakemore and Karen Dews with help from children and their parents at St Anne’s Park Primary School! These were taken at the Forage and Feast event we had back in October and were a pilot for a youth photography project that Karen and Paul will be leading at the school in the new year…Watch this space!

Discovering Brislington Brook

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