All the latest news & events from the garden and the National Trust in Bath


Easter Eggs

This week was all about Easter eggs. All week the Skyline team were painting and decorating some egg-shaped blocks of wood, which were kindly cut up by Ranger Rob Holden. These ‘eggs’ were then covered in a white base coat before being decorated by the artistic minds of the volunteers. That being said, I’m sure there is more paint on them then there are on the eggs!


On Thursday, these masterpieces were hidden among the trees for all of you lot to find for Easter. As well as these, there is an extra special egg waiting to be found when you arrive at the quarry mid-way through the wood. The assembly process for this definitely had us in giggles!


Remember to go look out for them over Easter, starting Monday 25th through to April 7th. I’m sure you will have as much fun looking for them as we did making them!

Den Building

The week of half-term meant the people of Bath could celebrate, and the Rangers at Bath Skyline were more than happy to help by hosting an excellent day building dens over in Larch Wood. Camped out in a small quarry, members of the public came with their children and enjoyed a day of making a variety of lovely dens out of branches, trees, logs, leaves and hay. From giant structures with log furniture to lean-to’s thatched with hay; the kids of Bath busied themselves becoming budding builders with the help of their friends, family and, of course, the overly excitable National Trust volunteers!

Great thanks has to been given to Emma Jones, a Prior Park volunteer, who not only joined in and brought a bunch of willing den builders with her, also entertained the kids later in the afternoon with the telling of a brilliant story. Involving a group of mischievous elves and one rather grumpy, smelly troll, the kids were not short of laughs (and suggestions!)

If you do happen to be walking that way anytime soon, do check these amazing dens out for yourself. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Wild Garlic Pancakes with Balsamic Vegetables Recipe, by Bath Food Cycle

This is Food Bath Food Cycle’s excellent

Wild Garlic Pancakes with Balsamic Vegetables

10 wild garlic leaves
100g plain flour
2 eggs
200ml milk
50g butter (extra butter for cooking)
Pinch of salt
1. Melt 50g of butter in a pan. Once melted transfer into a bowl. Add the eggs, milk and flour and blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
2. Wash, destalk and finely chop the wild garlic leaves. Add to the pancake batter and blend until well mixed.
3. Meanwhile… Take ANY vegeatables! Yes ANY! Use up what you have. Courgettes, tomatoes, asparagus, and peppers all work nicely but any combination will do. Fry on a medium heat and add salt, vinegar and balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking.
4. Now heat a dry pan on a high heat and add a blob of butter. Once it has melted and is about the size of a 50p piece ladle in some pancake batter and allow it to expand letting the oil remain on the outside (for crispy edges!)
5. Cook as normal gently easing up the edges to loosen the pancake. Flip, cook and serve with your balsamic vegetables. Yummy additions are: pesto, tomato relish, goats cheese!

Gorgeous Garlic First Weekend

Here is a message from Alexa our Catering manager

Prior Park would like to say a HUGE thank you to…

Simi’s Kitchen

Lemon’s and Honey Cookery School

Bath Soup Co. and

The Thoughtful Bread Company

Fantastic cooking demos. on Sunday guys! So much energy and lots of fresh ideas on how to make yummy wild garlic delights. There’s something very special happening in Bath at the moment with a lot of momentum behind local, ethical and wholesome food and we’re so excited to be part of it. We will be trying out every one of your wonderful recipes this fortnight and look forward to working with you again.

Thank you also to the crowds that braved the uncertain forecast and turned out to watch, taste and get stuck in. It was a lovely friendly atmosphere and we hope you went home inspired! Remember if you come up with any culinary masterpieces at home you can email them to us at for the chance to win a free evening cookery course worth £45 at Demuth’s Vegetarian Cookery School.

Anyway, big love to all involved and don’t forget that there’s more to come next Sunday 29th… Tyntesfield Estate will be cooking up a mouth-watering lamb with wild garlic crumb and savoury spring custard at 12 noon. And at 2pm volunteers from the charity Bath FoodCycle will be improvising a feast from waste food and making leftovers into wild garlic wonders!

Hope to see you there,

Alexa Bingham

Catering Manager

She adds a STOP PRESS

There will be face painting during the second demo next Sunday from 2-3pm to raise money for FoodCycle

Thanks Alexa, here are some pictures she and Katy took.

The Thoughtful Bread Company showing us how it is done

A member of the Bath Soup Co. demonstrating his skills

Some of the visitors braving the weather and thoroughly enjoying themselves watch ing the demonstrations.

Wild about Garlic

This coming Sunday (22 April) we are having some cooking demonstations on how to cook and use Wild Garlic. These will be at 12pm, 1[m, 2pm, 3pm. The 3pm slot is an additional one by the Thoughtful Bread Co. who are going to show how to make Artisan Wild Garlic Bread, Griddled crackers adn Blue Cheese Muffins. You can almost smell the delights already. Oh and do not worry if it rains we will have shelters.

Our Wild Garlic flowers are bursting out all over the garden at present. Well worth a special visit. Picture taken last year!

Gorgeous Garlic

Here is a little bit of publicity for our ‘Gorgeous Garlic’ event

We are haveing a series of wild garlic cooking demonstrations by the lake showing you how to use this delicious and abundant plant. Gather it from the slopes as you walk through the park, then watch wild garlic go from picked to plate before your very eyes!

Take home recipe cards and experiment at home or enter your own Wild Garlic recipe into our competition for your chance to win a £45 voucher for the Vegetarian Cookery School. All demos and tastings are completely free and shelter will be on hand in case of rain.

Sunday 22nd April
(World Heritage Day – free entry to the garden)

12 noon – Simi’s Kitchen.
Local chef and organic food advocate Simi Rezai introduces us to wild garlic and shows us how to cook up two mouth-watering dishes. Her stunning wild garlic saag aloo will be served all fortnight at Prior Park’s tea kiosk.

1pm – Lemon’s and Honey Children’s Workshop
Julia Handel of Lemon’s and Honey Cookery School in Wellow specialises in cooking for children. At the moment she is getting youngsters excited about local and wild foods. Her hands-on workshop is for kids of all ages so come prepared to get messy!

2pm – Bath Soup Co.
Social entrepreneur Dominic Povey of Bath Soup Company and his head chef will demonstrate how to make a delicious and hearty wild garlic soup. Tasting sessions with wholesome wild garlic bread from The Thoughtful Bread Company.

Sunday 29th April
(Normal garden entry rates apply)

12 noon – Tyntesfield Estate Chefs
Talented chef James Blakemoor from National Trust’s Tyntesfield Estate will share his tips and tricks, whipping up a rack of lamb with wild garlic crust among other delights

2pm – Bath FoodCycle
FoodCycle is a charity dedicated to reducing food waste and redistributing edible food surplus to those in need. Volunteers will demonstrate ways to turn your leftovers into yummy meals – using wild garlic as the secret ingredient!

Why not come along and enjoy the garlic in all its forms.

The Wild Garlic (Ramsons) in the green.

Ralph Allen’s Legacy

This coming Saturday 24 March together, with The Museums of Bath, we are going to celebrate the life and work of Ralph Allen. This will be held at Prior Park College (by kind permission of the Headmaster). This is a rare opportunity to see inside Ralph Allen’s mansion.
It will cost £10, including displays and talks by Bath Museums, a walk around the Park and tea before leaving. All the proceeds from this splendid day go towards the restoration of Ralph Allen’s Mausoleum at St. Mary’s in Claverton.
For further details please call 01225 833422

Ralph Allen, by kind permission of Bath and North East Somerset Council

The (Small) Big Bird Day

We had our Big Bird Day here in the Park today. While we did not have huge numbers of people or birds great fun was had by all. The splendid people from the RSPB were in attendance. They gave great advice to a lot of budding young ornithologists who went away even more enthusiastic than when they came. These same young ornithologists managed to see the likes of Goldcrests and Dunnocks. Here is the full list of birds seen:

Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Great tit, Grey heron, Herring gull, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh tit, Moorhen,  Mute swan, Nuthatch, Raven, Robin, Song thrush, Woodpigeon.

A total of 27 different species of bird. Let us know if you spot any others!

You can see Black-headed gull, Marsh tit and Coot in the pictures below

Big Bird Day

Don’t forget tomorrow, Wednesday 15th February, is our big bird day. Come and see and learn about the birds we have at Prior Park. You will be able to walk around the park with members of the RSPB spotting a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Also why not adopt one of our many a nesting boxes around the gardens. While you are at it,

One of the many birds you might see here on Wednesday

you will be able to see our newly crowned champion tree, a Norway Maple that is now officially the tallest Norway Maple in the country.

Bird boxes

On Wednesday 15th of February we are having a Bird day with the RSPB in attendance. Visitors will be able to adopt a nesting box, and thereafter be able to keep an eye out for nesting birds in their own box. I have been spending the day making boxes of various sizes and types so that we can place them around the park next week. I will keep you informed on how many are occupied in the coming months.

Various types of bird boxes in the process of being made.

Christmas Holly

It really has been a bumper year for berries on our Holly this year. This is normally because we have had a good Summer with plenty of sun and rain, well at least we had the rain. The berries are a particular favourite of  Thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwings and the leaves and flower buds are one of the main larval foods of the, rather unsurprisingly, Holly Blue Butterfly.

But of course this time of the year it make great Christmas decoration. So with that in mind, have a Very Happy Christmas and see you next year.

A Very Merry Christmas

Rainy day

We’re all warm and cosily tucked up in the office today but I ventured outside to take a few pictures in the rain. All our Halloween decorations are looking a bit bedraggled and forlorn but I managed to find some red berries that still looked cheerful! Huge respect to all the brave visitors who have ventured out into the garden, at least we have some lovely spicy pumpkin soup in the tea kiosk to warm them up!

The end of the 3 Parks and a Court walk

The team finally arrive outside of Bath Abbey at the end of a very enjoyable walk.

End of the Trek

Just a quick note to say we all finished the walk from Newark Park to Prior Park, via Horton and Dyrham, and no one got any blisters (to my knowledge). More on this when I return from my Holidays.

Three Parks and a Court Walk

For the next three days most of the outdoor staff for Bath & South Cotswold and lots of the volunteers are going to walk part of the Cotswold Way. We are starting at Newark Park and finishing here at Prior Park. On the way we will be taking in Horton Court and Dyrham Park. All rather nicely connected by the Cotswold Way. We will hopefully be having fun, as well as informing people about the work we do and the properties we look after.

The Shepherd

The walk should officially finish outside of the National Trust Shop near Bath Abbey at 4pm on Saturday. Our rather splendid Shepherd’s Hut should be there as well. Come along and see us if you can.


Here are the winners and runners up of our ‘Capture the Day’ photo competition.

Well done to the winners and all the other entrants.

The winner of the over 18 catagory, by Tony Jiggins

The runner up over 18 category, Wendy Conner

The winner of the under 18 category, Ed Sampson

The runner up of under 18 category, Katy Spencer

The Great Big Tree Climb

What a lovely day it is, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the cows are mooing and everyone is climbing our trees. The Great Big Tree Climbing Co. are in the park giving everyone a chance to climb one of our very big Norway Maples and once they have got up to the top they can slide down the zip wire. All great fun, at least it looks it, I haven’t had a go – yet! I’ll tell you how I get on when I do.  As from tomorrow (weather permitting) we are also going to have a big swing  – or  a Leap of Faith as

Another happy visitor zipping back down to earth

The Great Big Tree Climbing Co call it. It will cost you £12.50 to do every thing come and have a go if you are brave enough.

Everyone swarming all over the tree

Events Meeting in the Dry

Rather fortuitously it has rained all day here in Bath so the events meeting we had scheduled came at the right time. These meetings are held at least once a year to discuss what events

As you can see everyone is happy to stay in the dry.

worked and which ones we need to drop. Plus we also decide what might be good to try out next year. As it is going to be Olympic year sporting events came up a lot, so we are looking at running and cycling as being a possibility. Other things on the cards are Children’s Theatre, Apple Day, Queens Birthday Tea, Story Telling, Comedy, Kite Making, Garden Lighting…………The list goes on, stay tuned and find out what we choose to keep you entertained next year.

Wildlife Walk

We had another Wildlife walk this morning. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast and cool which meant  we only saw one Butterfly, a Speckled woodpecker and no Dragonflies. But we saw much evidence of Woodpecker activity in the rotten Beech by the ‘Rotten Trail’. Heard and saw a lot of Great and Blue tits and a Nuthatch down on the feeders, as well as a Raven flying over the Tea Kiosk area. But the highlight for the children, and me were 2 Common newts near the Summerhouse and this, as yet, unidentified insect (or is it a spider minus a couple of legs?). Can you help? If you know what sort it is get in touch. Thanks.

As you can see I also saw a Roe deer just before the walk.

Roe Deer just off the East Path

Anyone know what this is?

‘Capture the Day’ Photo Competition

The exhibition in front of the Tea Kiosk

Our ‘Capture the Day’ photography competition entries have finally gone up on show. The 20 best pictures were printed on to two boards and put on display near the Tea Kiosk. It is now up to you, the public to vote for the best in the two categories, 18 and under and over 18. Voting slips can be collected when you enter the park and placed in the box by the Tea Hut.

The winners will be announced sometime in September when they will receive their prizes, which have been generously donated by London Camera Exchange in Bath.

Come and vote.

Den Building

Today was our den building event and what a splendid event it was. Up to 30 children of all ages, along with parents and grandparents (of all ages!) running around the Wilderness building fantastic dens,

Enjoying the fruits of their labours

out of Hazel, Lime and Laurel cuttings. Great imagination was used in the construction, and great fun was had in the constructions. But it was a great relief that we had good weather because I am not sure the dens would have stood up to much rain. After the building came the equally exciting bit of playing and eating in them. The dens will now remain up for the rest of the summer for the ‘owners’ to come back and play in them. Come and have a look for yourselves.

Builders at work

Another great den

One of the many dens at Prior Park

Admirals and Emperors

We had our first Wildlife walk of the summer yesterday, which unfortunately was not well attended. But at least the wildlife was still around. A Red admiral was seen up at the view point, this is the first Red Admiral I have seen in Prior Park this summer. Buzzards were again soaring around down by the Bottom Lake as were some Ravens. Also by the lake some young Chiffchaff could be seen flitting around the Willows looking for food.

But the highlight for me was a fine specimen of an Emperor Dragonfly parading up and down the Serpentine Lake enjoying the sunshine and hunting for food – A splendid creature.

Emperor Dragonfly parading the lake

Butterflies and Sunshine

Having just got back from my holidays, where we had cool rainy weather, I returned back to Prior Park in glorious sunshine. The Butterflies seem to be out in force in the pasture and nearby Skyline. In particular we have a lot of Meadow Browns and Ringlets flying around making the most of the sun. Our remaining Cygnets (4) seem to be getting on fine and hopefully they are not effected by the suspected parasite that got to the others.
Meanwhile the rest of the Park looks jolly splendid; the volunteers have been working hard in my absence. The 18th century Shrubbery we have at the bottom of the park is just coming into its own, with the Hydrangea looking especially delicate.
It all looks just right for our ‘Capture the day’ photo competition that we are holding this Saturday the 2nd of July. Come along and have a look for yourself.

Weekend Fun

A bit of a rainy day here today, so I’m sheltering in the office with a nice cup of tea, dreading the walk home. The weather doesn’t seem to be worrying the  swans/ducks/coots on the lake and their various offspring.  For us humans, we’re hoping things will pick up a bit for Saturday. Everyone’s looking forward to listening to some relaxing jazz at our midsummer picnic and a bit of sunshine will be much appreciated!

The cherry trees are laden with ripening fruit this summer