Published on: 24 Jun 2016
There is little doubt that the Stoke Park Estate is one of the jewels in our crown.
This sprawling estate of 108 hectares, awarded Grade II listed Historic Parkland status is a superb example of open grassland, semi-ancient woodland with a wealth of historic features and stunning views; and is the largest surviving example of the work of the 18th century Landscape Designer, Thomas Wright.
Anyone driving down the M32 cannot help but notice it’s two most visible landmarks, the yellow ochre-coloured Dower House and the BT Tower situated on Purdown. There is so much more to it than that though, regular visitors enjoy the three woodland walks, Duchess Pond and it’s fishing, and a variety of wildlife. It has become a centre of education in recent years through the tireless work of the award winning Steve England.
It would be very easy to associate the Stoke Park Estate with the Metrobus controversy but at the same time a much more positive story has emerged with the creation and installation of a Sculpture Trail in the woodlands.
Horfield resident Ruth Revell is one of the estate’s greatest supporters and regularly gives her free time up to do those jobs in the estate that no-one else will do. She adds, “Despite living in Bristol all my life I’ve never really appreciatedthe open space that is Stoke Park until around five years ago when I attended one of the Evening post columnist Steve England's walks. He taught myself and my young daughter about the nature and wildlife in the park, we felt less isolated and made friends with other park users. I've become more involved with volunteering in the park in the last few years including organizing a monthly litter pick with a friend. I wanted to give something back to the park, and encourage others to explore and appreciate the area. I applied for funding from our Neighbourhood Partnership and received a small grant, topped up by the Co-operative Supermarket. Five local groups ran competitions to design the sculptures including Stoke Park School, Filton Avenue Primary and Nursery, 'The Vench' and the Hub Craft Group. With the winning designs chosen local wood Carver Andy O'Neill carved the sculptures from dead wood during the school holidays. A trail map has been created by local designer Marton Gosztonyi, and Avon Wildlife Trust are working with me to create an activity sheet for families and schools. We had a stall at the Love Lockleaze Festival and a walk around the trail was held at the end of July”.