There are currently ten Living Landmarks plaques installed in Bradley Stoke. We understand that a further four plaques will eventually be installed, once the relevant permissions have been obtained.
New: View our online interactive map showing the plaque locations.
Built in 1908, Woodlands Grange was a fine house occupied by Mr George Williams, a great benefactor to the church and school in Patchway and a churchwarden of St Paul’s in Bristol. Every summer he invited local children to a grand tea party and games in the grounds. Children would go again at Christmas to sing carols and receive a silver sixpence. The much extended Grange is now used as offices.
The small hamlet of Woodlands Green, comprising three farms and their tied cottages, is known to have existed in the 12th century. The pond probably dates from the 16th century and has been carefully preserved and restored. Planners prevailed on developers to retain it as an oasis of calm within the surrounding office developments and it is still home to geese and other wildfowl.
The Saxon Path
Double hedges at various points in the town indicate a probable Saxon track from Stoke Gifford (Rock Lane) through fields that succumbed to Bradley Stoke and Patchway Common. Recommended surveying techniques have determined the track must be over 900 years old, suggesting it predates the Norman Conquest (1066). Much of it remains although fragmented by modern developments. A Saxon spear has also been found.
Both the start and finish of Saxon path reveal a lot about the places where people first settled centuries ago. In a built up area like Bradley Stoke, hedgerows bring a bit of wilderness back into our lives, a breath of fresh air from the countryside. If we find a hedgehog snuffling around our town, a robin singing in our ornamental tree or bluebells blooming at the bottom of the garden, it may be that they have arrived in a hedge that runs behind our property.
Really, hedgerows are quite remarkable structures, taking up relatively little space yet representing an enormous area. They are a ribbon of nature reserves running through our town.
The Saxon path is a highway for humans as well as for plants and animals. It may only be a footpath linking a couple of parishes a mile or so apart but when you have set your feet upon one road, you are then linked to every road that runs across the earth. What journeys have started from this path in the past. And what journeys will mark from it in the future?
Saxon path stretches far back in the shadows of history. And with a little help from us, it can be extended beyond our time, providing beauty and richness for the future.
Text courtesy of David Chandler and Sharon Newton.
Manor Farm was an imposing residence by local standards but was demolished to make way for houses. The local hunt met by the pond beside it, which still remains and is looked after by the Patchway Conservation Group. Parts of the old orchards also survive here. Some of the rubble from the Farm has been incorporated in the foot bridges that now cross the brooks entering Three Brooks Lake.
Text courtesy of David Chandler.
Primrose Cottage was demolished to accommodate Bradley Stoke Way, and adjoined a cottage that was set up by a Mr Milliner as Patchway’s first commercial bakery that operated c.1900 and even supplied bread to Bristol. Parts of the cottage garden remain. The name ‘Primrose Bridge’ – for the footbridge across Bradley Stoke Way – was chosen by local residents in 1993 to commemorate the cottage.
Bowsland Farm stood nearby and the ornamental trees lining the banks of the stream marked the end of the farmhouse garden. The farm certainly existed in 1885 and was one of the last working farms before Bradley Stoke was begun in the late 1970s. The name is remembered in Bowsland Way, Bowsland Green Primary School and Bowsland Wood – the new wood to the north of Savages Wood.
Savages wood may be on the site of the ancient forest that covered Britain after the last Ice Age. A haven for plants and wildlife, it was maintained for many years by farmer Howard Davis for enjoyment by local people. During World War 2 a decoy airfield with cardboard aeroplanes was constructed west of the wood. Some of the fields were bombed during the War, leaving four large craters. These have been left untouched, you can find them as you explore the wood. New trees planted north of the wood compensate for those felled to create Bradley Stoke Way. Two ponds have been created as a habitat for protected newts.
Text courtesy of David Chandler.
Webb’s Wood dates from at least 1725 and was incorporated in Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve in 2005. Plants and wildlife flourish here and dense clumps of hazel coppicing indicate their poles were used for fencing and firewood, probably on a seven year cycle. Underneath is a 6ft diameter sewer constructed by Wessex Water to take waste from Bradley Stoke to Avonmouth, a by-product of which is Three Brooks Lake. Just north of the wood traces of medieval farm buildings have been found.
Sherbourne’s Brake is about 200 years old and completely protected by a tree preservation order. It was possible planted as a hunting covert following the Enclosures Act. Turkey Oaks, introduced from Turkey during the 19th century, are the tallest tress with their spreading crowns resembling cauliflowers, but their timber is a disappointment for building purposes. Stoke Brook flows through the Brake to Three Brooks Lake.
Baileys Court Farm
Baileys Court Farm was used as a site office for the developers and converted to a pub in 1988. The Pursey family once lived there, were hosts to the Berkeley Hunt and are remembered in Pursey Drive. Parts of Webb’s Farm, two hundred yards northwest, may have been 1,000 years old, was still inhabited in the 1950s, and Grade Two listed in 1984. However, it had been so neglected that demolition had to follow.
Watch Elm Close, nearby, commemorates a hollow Elm tree used as a meeting place and shelter because of its immense size (40ft circumference at 2ft above ground in 1766). Dating from at least the 16th century it was blown down in 1760 and all trace had gone by 1860.