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

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Wild Garlic Fortnight!

Wild garlic leaves buds

Keen cooks and foragers have been encouraged to pick their own wild garlic at Prior Park Landscape Garden during the past two weeks. Visitors have been encouraged to take to the woodland paths, through the swathes of the white flowers from the wild garlic, while the pungent odour washes through the air.

Simi, from Simi’s Kitchen, a local baker, preserve maker and cookery teacher uses fruit, vegetables and herbs she has grown or picked in Bath. Here is a video of Simi out foraging and cooking beside the lakes during the fortnight wild garlic festival.

http://www.bathontv.co.uk/eat-bath-with-simi-episode-1-glorious-garlic/


We Spring into Grass Cutting Season!

IMG_0748

It is finally that time of year…where the gentle hum of the mower drifts across the airwaves. A much later start this year, but it will continue to grow long and green for the forseeable future!

The garden is looking fresh, vibrant and ready to recieve many spring time visitors! The Snakes Head Fritillaries look stunning in the Summerhouse Glade, contrasted by the subtle yellow of the Daff’s. Let’s hope for many more sunshine filled day throughout the month.


Troughs, Fences and Hidey Holes

Troughs can definitely be a nuisance when they go wrong, as the Skyline crew found out over the past few weeks. From trying to find the Stopcock (i.e. the tap) in some mystic corner of a field to cleaning what seemed like mountains of mud out of them, our volunteers have without a doubt got trough maintenance down to a ‘T’. Luckily, our lovely maintenance manager, Paul was on hand to help as was the Ranger from Dyrham Park, John.

Fixing leaking troughs on Bathwick Fields

Fixing leaking troughs on Bathwick Fields

As well as troughs, last week we got to work with one of our local farmers, Jonathan Meredith on repairing a fence at the bottom of Smallcombe Vale. The day was spent cattle proofing the fence with some wooden rails just so the cows wouldn’t get too adventurous!

Fence building with the team.

Fence building with the team.

And for those of you who were interested in the mystery space down at Prior Park back in August. It’s finished! Take a peek below at the new locker room, complete with heaters and a sink!


Welcome Back!

So the New Year has been and gone, and as you all know our cherished Jim has left Prior Park for his, no doubt, exciting retirement, and of course, we wish him all the best!

Now even though he is not here anymore to continue this wonderful blog, the staff here at Prior Park and the Bath Skyline have ganged together once more to continue his fine handy work.

Hopefully we can do him justice and keep all of you lovely readers updated and entertained on the behind the scenes action here at Bath National Trust.

 

Anna Rogers

National Trust Full-Time Volunteer.


Thanks and goodbye

The Senior gardener

The Senior gardener

 

Yes,I know that I’ve been neglecting you these pase few weeks, no excuses, just couldn’t think of anything to write. Still it is now getting very near Christmas and once again it’s pouring down out there. But the garden is still maintaining it’s charm despite large puddles and muddy grass. We have been busy trying to repair some of the leaks in the bottom dam, so far it looks like we have succeeded. Elsewhere we have continued to move leaves, fill holes, lay new path surfaces, saw up and split wood, prune overgrown shrubs and just generally garden.

But as we are coming to the end of the year I have decided it’s time to leave and take retirement. I have been associated with Prior Park for the past 18 years and have enjoyed just about every minute of it, even the rain! It has been a privilege and joy working in such a beautiful place and I will miss it,  as well as the staff and volunteers, friends, that I have worked with.

Hopefully someone will continue with this blog, perhaps someone with a better grasp of English than me, you can only hope.

Thanks and goodbye

Jim


Aside

A Golden Autumn

The park is now in its full autumn glory of red and gold with the Field Maples displaying a fantastic vibrant yellow. However, the leaves are beginning to fall and the Friday volunteers have been busy with the leaf blowers clearing a carpet of leaves from the paths ready for a busy weekend of visitors. Come and enjoy the colourful garden before the trees are bare!

Autumn Leaves


Tawny owl update

Just a quick update on our Tawny Owls. They are still roosting in one of our large Beech trees and seem fairly content and fairly aware of what is going on around them as you can see.

If anyone can tell me why they are slightly different colours I would be grateful.


Dam Lakes!

Newly discovered boat in the lower lake.

This week has seen a significant drop in the lower lake levels. Work on the lower lake will begin shortly to create a series of trenches and has required levels to drop up to 1.5 metres! The experts will be at Prior Park in the next couple of weeks looking down the trenches for leaks and deliberating the future of the lakes. During this week, the lowering waters revealed an old wooden boat in the lake, rumoured to be one of Ralph Allen’s magnificent fleet…..perhaps.


Tawny Owl

This past weekend we had the delightful people from the Bath RSPB telling our visitors what best to feed  birds and inform the public about  birds in general. As part of this we had a little walk around the Park looking at what we could see, which I’m afraid wasn’t much, except we did manage to see a Tawny Owl roosting high up in one of our large Beech trees, this as you can imagine was a thrill for quite a lot of people, less so for the Owl perhaps.

Tawny Owl in the Beech tree

 


Pixie Leigh

The Queen of Elfin Folk, Emma has been in touch with me again to remind me that Pixie Leigh should have a mention regarding the Fairy houses we have scattered throughout the garden. He has built many superb examples and are well worth hunting for if you are ever this way. In the meantime here is another example built by some of our young friends.

Another fine example of a Pixie house built last week.


Pixie and Fairy House’s

William and Toby’s Pixie House

Another one of many splendid Fairy Houses

Here is a short note from Emma Moo our Small folk correspondent

‘Elves, pixies and very cheeky fairies made tiny homes all over Prior Park last Saturday afternoon!! Some fabulous, muddy, hard working children helped by carrying stones and moss to create Circus Tents and Dens and Amazing Homes for our magical Prior Park friends to live in.The Queen of Elfin folk…Emma Moo wants to say a huge Thank you to all of you for a really wonderful day!!
Keep a close eye on our website to see when we are building again but until then come and bring the grown ups to see if they can spot the houses in the woods….’

Thanks Emma, sounds like everyone had a great time

 

 


The big Skyline walk

Today we had the first of a possible annual volunteer walk of the Skyline. Quite a few of the regular Prior Park garden volunteers tackled the 6 mile walk around the hills overlooking Bath. It was as you can see, a lovely day with plenty of interest along the way and a very convenient bench/horse jump at lunch time.
If you are interested in doing the walk you can download it from:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/home/view-page/item463702/267102/

 

The Lunch time spot, using a very convenient bench/horse jump, as used by the local Pony club.


Oh Deer where have the gates gone!

About five years ago on completion of the Wilderness project we erected a tall ‘Deer fence’ around the perimeter of the Wilderness. This was to keep out Deer, obviously! If we didn’t the little dears would have had a field day eating all the newly planted plants, especially the evergreens like laurel, which we planted 500 specimens.
Over the years they, the deer, have got in a few times without out too much damage. So now with five years of growth in the plants we decided to remove the gates in the fence and see what happens. This also means that our visitors will not be so intimidated when they come across a stern looking closed gate.
We will keep you posted.

Look, no gate, the east path exit from the Wilderness. Now the deer can come and go freely, so long as they behave themselves.


Coarse Carp

For a while now our lakes, and in particular the bottom lake have been overstocked with Carp. To some degree they are self regulating, with the population not growing if the size of lake and amount of food are not good enough. With this in mind and with the prospect of the lake dams being repaired in the future, we got Mark Gregory, from Course Fishery Services in to remove some of our fish from the bottom lake. They skilfully managed to remove 49 fish, which they will move on to another lake that needs restocking. Hopefully now there will be enough room and food for the fish that remain.
If you could use Marks services then get in touch on 07764 195993 or email markgregory02@hotmail.co.uk

Mark and his mate out on the Bottom Lake fishing for some of our Carp

One of the many captured Carp caught today


Watch this space 2


Moulting Mallards

It’s always a bit of a treat this time of the year feeding the Mallards. This is because they are moulting and seem to lose all fear, or maybe they are just plain hungry. Anyway every morning when we go down to feed them up they all waddle to say hello and quack their orders. As you can see from the picture they will come right up to you, but fairly shortly, when they have their new feathers they will lose this bravado and revert back to being plain wild (and fearful) birds.

The Mallards getting stuck in to their food.


Watch this space 1

Watch this space number 1


Image

Summer holiday family fun

Summer holiday family fun


Bath Soup School Volunteers at Prior Park

Prior Park recently collaborated with Bath Soup Company on a social project to provide work experience to needy members of the Bath community.Prior Park tea kiosk hosted 4 ‘Bath Soup School’ students providing them with customer service skills and experience. The students practiced till work, food preparation and visitor interaction.

The scheme aids people from diverse backgrounds who are experiencing long-term unemployment and would like to enter the job market. Course creator Dominic Povey believes the experience can lead participants to gain work in catering. Other elements of the course include a ‘sow and grow’ workshop at Bath City Farm, Level 2 Health and Hygiene training with Genesis Trust, bread-making with The Thoughtful Bread Company, and of course soup making with the Bath Soup Co.

“National Trust Prior Park is keen to support local community initiatives and recognises Bath Soup School as a forward-thinking project at a time of high unemployment. Customer service is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to gaining meaningful employment and we understand that approaches to upskilling need to be comprehensive to achieve results.” said Alexa Bingham, Catering Team Leader.

Other establishments involved in the project were St. Michael’s Church Cafe and Jacobs Coffee House.


The Middle Lake gets a spring clean

Because the Middle lake has been kept artificially low at the moment we decided to give it a spring clean. In a very short time Joe, our D. of E. volunteer and James one of our regulars managed to fill 2 boat loads of general rubble and weed. Meanwhile Frank also weeded the Bridge its self. The difference it has made is spectacular. Well worth all the effort and mud.

 

Joe in the boat with some of the dross dredged out of the Middle Lake, 


Kotki dwa

Last March we had a band called Kotki dwa come to the Park to record part of their new album. The band have got together with the Trust to produce the record, called Staycations. The album was recorded in various National Trust properties around the country, using some of the unique places and situations that the Trust have to offer. You can found out more by going to http://www.kotkidwa.com/ and if you would like to see some video of them recording here at Prior Park and Tyntesfield then go to http://vimeo.com/42932634.

The band recording and being filmed in the Cabinet


Serpentine spring clean

We tried a radical new method of reducing the Reed sweet grass we have in the Serpentine lake, this, as you can see, involves people in waders (Frank and James) wandering around, pulling the plants and putting them in our boat. As you can see sometimes gardening is not Rocket science, in fact it’s never Rocket Science.

Two men and a boat, clearing the Serpentine lake


Laurie’s first outing to Prior Park

I hope you will allow me this little indulgence, This is Laurie,my Grandson on his first visit to the park. A splendid little lad I think you’ll agree.

Laurie and his gardener Granddad


The Pinhole wizard returns

Nigel Goldsmith our friendly Pinhole wizard man has come up with an improved Pinhole camera picture of the Bridge. Last time he tried the camera he used was water logged. This time he has managed to water proof the coffee tin used to make the camera. you can find out more about Nigel’s work on www.pinholewizard.co.uk 

This is the pinhole picture of the bridge, this image took 6 months to make, you can see the sun streaking across the sky changing position over the months.