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


Rain, Valentin and Rabbits

What with the relatively good weather we have been having recently, and the fact that everything is growing at an alarming rate, I have neglected my Blog duties.  Not much has happened since the grand opening of the Children’s Natural Play Area except the grass, trees  and weeds have grown before our very eyes. This means we have been spending all our time mowing, weeding and pruning. I am almost glad it is raining at the moment to give us a break.

We are very lucky that we have an extra pair of hands to help us for the next 3 weeks. Valentin is a student from the Maison Familiale Horticole Mareuil-sur-Lay. He is over here with fellow students from the College working in various gardens and with commercial gardeners. In my experience they are all very good workers and Valentin is no exception.

Valentin having just finished working in the rain, something he might have to get used to!

Over the years I have been trying to take photos of  the many and varied wildlife in and around the park, but never managed to get a Rabbit. Until now, here you can see one of the Bunnies as bold as brass very near to our Work area. Lets hope we are not overrun in the future.

Where there is one Rabbit ………..!

The Torch comes to Bath

Alexa start s the proceedings

Yesterday (22nd May 2012) was a momentous occasion for the City of Bath, and Prior Park as a torch  helped to open our new Children’s Natural Play area. The Playground is situated down near the bottom lake and very near to the Tea Kiosk.

We had a torch relay starting near the Tea Kiosk with Alexa our catering manager, it was then handed on to Martin, our intern from France. He then ran over the bridge and around the bottom lake before handing the torch to Rob, our Head Ranger. Unfortunately we had a few issues with the torch going out but eventually it reach the Play area. This was the signal for Emma our Operations Support Officer to give  a rousing opening speech. So now, our younger visitors can make use of this Historic play area.

Oh and by the way the Olympic torch came through Bath as well, but hardly anyone noticed!

Martin hands the torch over to Rob

The crowd could barely control their excitement

The Torch arrives at the Play area to thunderous applause

Emma opens the Natural Play Area to end an Historic Day at Prior Park

Another day at the office

Some days are not as typical as others. Today was one of those. Here is a quick resume of my day, After the usual unlocking, checking of emails etc. I had a meeting with Matthew and Rob, Head Gardener and Head Ranger of Bath and South Cotswolds respectively about creating a Natural Play area in the Park. Some good ideas were bounced around, some even landed.

Then it was on to making some benches to be installed by our new path in the Wilderness. This involved sawing up the wood, and metal bolts, before bolting  parts of them together. The construction of these kits took most of the day but was in dispersed with others things, such as putting up signs to stop visitors going the wrong way by the Summerhouse and ending up sliding down the hill. Fixing a new(temporary) sign near the bird feeders, Loading up wood for our Volunteers to split into logs tomorrow. I also had to devise and write a big long list of other tasks for the volunteers to do tomorrow. Of course as with life nothing is simple and there was a multitude of other little interruptions and disruptions before I finally got the benches done. Now all we have to do is install them, but then that’s another day.

The finished Bench Kits waiting to be installed, surprising it took me so long really!

Seasonal Jobs

We have two seasonal posts available for the summer months

Seasonal Catering Assistant
£6.20 per hour | Start date Wednesday 4th April

Casual Visitor Reception Assistant
£7.97 per hour | Start date Monday 2nd April

We want everyone to have a brilliant National Trust experience. We want people to enjoy our extraordinary places, get involved with them and learn from them. By working here this summer, in everything from catering to visitor services, you’ll help us do just that. You’ll
enjoy some great benefits too, including free entry to our properties.
To find out more, please call… 01225 833977 or log on to

The welcoming sight of the Visitor Reception

Cascade landscaping

One of the final pieces of our New cascade jigsaw have been put into place. Barry, our man with a digger, has done a brilliant job of landscaping the area around our New Gothic Temple Cascade. With in minutes he magically transformed the area from a building site to a great landscape. Now all we need is the Gothic Temple back! The new path to the Gothic Temple site should be complete within a week. It’s worth a visit.

By the way, if you are in the area tomorrow (Thursday 15 March) come along and help plant some Snowdrops, the more the merrier.

The Cascade area before the landscaping

The area after Barry had done his magic

The Great Leap Forward

As today only comes around once every 4 years The National Trust decided to make the most of it. We have had members of staff doing tasks they wouldn’t normally do around the local community. So out on the Bath Skyline, very close to Prior Park, we have had staff from all departments and sites working very hard removing encroaching scrub and thus exposing our rather splendid Yellow meadow ant hills. this way everyone benefits, the general public, the staff and the ants.

Some of the team that did all the hard work

Some of the scrub before we got to it

The Hawthorn after the team had got to it

Visitor Reception get together

The Visitor Reception staff get together before the 7 day week opening

At the beginning of February we will be open 7 days a week from 10am onwards. To let everyone know what is happening in and around the garden Katy our Visitor Experience Manager organised a meeting of all the Catering and Visitor Reception staff. Everyone was told all about all the projects around the park and  all the events that will be happening, from simple walks and trails to Shakespeare and Zen. More mundane things were also discussed such as rotas, opening times, procedures etc.

We will tell you more about events and projects as they happen, but won’t be dwelling on rotas.


For the past 2 days Matthew and myself have been on Tractor refresher training. We often have to keep up to date with latest thoughts on the safe way to maintain and use the huge variety of equipment and tools at our disposal. This time it was tractors we had a jolly if not slightly cold time up at Dyrham Park relearning the ins and outs of 3 point linkage, trailer weights, tyre pressures, front end loaders, towin………the list goes on. Thankfully we both past the assessment and are safe once again to drive tractors. This is a great relief as we rely very heavily on the little tractors we have here in the Park to transport equipment and materials around the place. Work as we know it would have ground to a halt if we had failed

One of our work horses used around the park.

Prior Park on BBC Radio Bristol

Early in September, Steve Yabsley, presenter of BBC Radi0 Bristol’s weekday lunchtime show, visited the garden. Jim showed him round and told him a bit about our work in the garden, its main features and the wildlife that can be seen. Steve will be featuring Prior Park on his show every day next week between 1.30-2!

Squirrels, Green woodpeckers and lofty Herons

A quick update on what has been going on for the past couple of weeks. The work in the garden has been progressing nicely. The main emphasis being on Laurel pruning, which is drawing to an end but we still have more to do even after all this time. Plus the mini cascade down by the Gothic Temple site is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Autumn is well and truly upon us with the leaves turning, the days drawing in but the grass shows no sign of slowing down. We seemed to be constantly grass cutting this summer but surely even it needs a bit of a rest.

Meanwhile our wildlife just goes about the daily business of being. The Coots and Mallards wander about and make a lot of noise, while our Mute swans have gone off for their winter break and hopefully will return in the New Year. A Grey wagtail and Green woodpecker were feeding by the lake side, both a lovely colourful sight. The Squirrels have also been very active these past couple of days scurrying about, looking for and burying conkers and acorns.

All the while the Grey herons look on imperiously from their lofty perches keeping a superior eye on things.

One of the cheeky little Squirrels we have around the Park (picture taken last year)