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by Abi Stubbs
Adjacent to Troopers Hill LNR is an area of council owned woodland. This area is known as Troopers Hill Woods or Crews Hole Woodland.
The woods are bounded by Troopers Hill LNR to the east; Crews Hole Rd to the south; Lamb Hill to the west and Malvern Rd and Troopers Hill Field to the north.
Troopers Hill Woods on Bristol City Council GIS Map
Two paths lead through the woods, the 'upper' one runs from the kissing gate at the corner of Troopers Hill Field to Lamb Lane.
Walk down Lamb Lane a few yards and you can turn left into another 'lower' path that goes down some steps and through the woods before climbing again to reach Troopers Hill LNR at 'Little Elizabeth's View' on the edge of Sally's Glade.
Waymarking of Woodland Paths
As part of our Stepping Forward Project we will be installing waymarkers on the wooodland paths to show a circular walk from the Nature Reserve. There was an opportunity for local people to get involved in the design of the marker posts at a 'walk'shop session on 8th April.
As part of this project teams doing Community Payback are clearing some of the undergrowth and rubbish from the path edges. This will help prevent the paths from becoming overgrown in summer and make them easier to walk. However, we want to retain the country feel of these paths, so we will not be surfacing them.
Also as part of Stepping Forward the steps down into the woods from the Field have been rebuilt by BTCV.
You can read more about the plans for the waymarking and the Stepping Forward Project via the links below.
Outline specification for woodland waymarking >>
Stepping Forward Project Main Page >>
In Elizabeth's Emra's time (early 1800s) the much of the area that is now woodland probably had a very similar habitiat to that on Troopers Hill LNR today. There were some cottages and probably some market gardens. Malvern Rd and the adjoining streets were developed in the late 1800s, but the steep sides of the Avon Valley remained undeveloped.
On 21 Dec 1956 the area was purchased by Bristol City Council from the estate of the late EW Smith for use as a 'Tip'. The photo above, taken from the tar works, shows it as it was in 1953. The land was just over 12 acres and was described as 'Allotment and rough pasture land with one cottage in Lamb Hill and the sites of 3 other cottages'. The purchase price was £2,120.
In the 1960s and early 1970s the site was 'Malvern Road Tip'. There was an access track across Troopers Hill Field from the end of Summerhill Terrace. We don't believe that any domestic waste was tipped on the site - just building rubble and excavated material. Several different people have told us that material from the excavation of the underpass at Old Market was tipped there. There is a story that one of the lorries over-turned rolled down the bank and is now buried. We have also heard that Crews Hole Rd had to be closed for a while because the tipped material began to slide down the hill. The tip extended into the adjacent quarries on Troopers Hill itself.
Once the tipping had finished some trees were planted to help stabilise the site and over time other trees and shrubs established themselves. We can now enjoy walks through woodland that is about 30 years old.
New Path 2008/9
With the help of pupils from John Cabot Academy, who are taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, we opened up a path through the woods from the 'Gillian's Glade' opposite one of the red benches on Troopers Hill Field down to the lower path. This work started with two enthusiastic pupils in 2008 and was continued in 2009. It was carried out as part of our regular Work Parties and at separate additional sessions. The steps on this path are now (April 2012) being rebuilt as part of our Stepping Forward Project
In the future it may be possible to open up more paths including possibly an access from Crews Hole Road near the Lamb Inn.