"Sit down with me amongst the beautiful purple heath, visited by the wild bees, and the blue butterflies"
Over the years Troopers Hill has inspired writers and artists. It is a unique space 'a fascinating mix of history and wildlife'.
Below we feature some of the works that have been inspired by this space, there are many more, let us know of anything else you think we should feature here - or if you are inspired to create something yourself - please share it with us!
Late Light by Michael Malay - July 2023
'A book about falling in love with vanishing things' - with a wonderful cover illustration that you can clearly see was inspired by Troopers Hill!
Troopers Hill also features within the book as Michael expands on his March 2021 piece for BBC Radio 4 about the 'Crickets of Trooopers Hill'.
'Late Light is the story of Michael Malay's own journey, an Indonesian Australian making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines.'
Beth hosted a relaxed conversation with our group on zoom to weave our words into a typewritten poem - 'a gentle journey through your thoughts, feelings, memories and hopes for your local parks and green spaces'.
After a very enjoyable conversation, Beth produced a beautiful poem using our words (below), which was drafted live in the moment, on her vintage typewriter.
You Can't Just Leave It
Colours change all the time,
but the hill has been here
for thousands of years:
a degree of permanence.
It can feel uncomfortable
to walk on your own.
On the path, take a breath -
that feeling goes. On the edge
of fear, watching someone
fix a wall, you make a friend:
a bonding moment.
It helps you slow down,
eases you into the day.
Forget the big, get absorbed by
the tiny. One of many species.
You can't just leave the wildlife -
some butterflies rely on dappled shade.
A mosaic of habitats. A need for friends,
on hands and knees, with secateurs.
Hedges full of insects and birdsong -
people to elicit joy. Some help is practical.
Some is spiritual. Learn to ride a bike.
Go sledging in snow or summer
(all you need is a cardboard box).
Above Bristol, you can see the city
with its lights on. The stars. The bats
flitting by the chimney. And balloons -
not just going with the wind
to land on
BBC Radio 4 Outsiders - March 2021 The Crickets of Troopers Hill by Michael Malay
The wonderful sound of the crickets & grasshoppers on the Hill were highlighted in the BBC Radio 4 'Outsiders' series first broadcast on the 26th March 2021.
Michael Malay, a lecturer in English literature and the environmental humanities at the University of Bristol, reflected on his personal experience of the past year and talks about his visits to Troopers Hill.
"Last spring, after the world changed – after the streets fell silent and the horizons seemed to shrink – I began going to a place called Troopers Hill. It’s a nature reserve in east Bristol, half a mile from where I live. It’s a beautiful place..."
Troopers Hill features in the St George edition of this series of local oral history podcasts by Marcus Smith. Contributors: Alice Homewood, Sabine Groven and Richard Wheeler.
Rob talks about Elizabeth Emra; Steve shares his memories of the Hill; Rob & Susan along with Rupert Higgins talk about the importance of the Hill for wildlife and Christina shares her memories of the fire that spread across the Hill in 1995.
Scenes in our Parish by a Country Parson’s Daughter
Scenes in our Parish gives a fascinating insight into life and death (mostly
death) in the 1830s in St George - it was written by 'little Elizabeth', the daughter of the Rev John Emra, vicar of St George church.
In the chapter entitled 'The Strawberry Feast' which is in the first part of the book and dated 30th March 1830, Elizabeth gives us a brilliant description of the habitat on Troopers Hill, which is still accurate today.
“the barren and quarried hill, with its yellow spots of gorse and
broom, and its purple shade of heath, raising itself above the dark
heaps of dross on our own side; and then the river, the beautiful, soft
flowing river that we have all loved so well...”
In another chapter Elizabeth asks her reader to:
"Sit down with me amongst the beautiful purple heath, visited by the wild bees, and the blue butterflies; and breathe the fresh air of our rugged hill, and look on the fair extended prospect."
Journalist Elly Roberts wrote about Little Elizabeth for the Bristol Cable in November 2017, you can read her article "Commemorating a pioneering St George author" here:
Bristol Cable feature - Full text
Molly's Hill Poetry
The wonderful poem illustrated above was sent to us by local resident Molly Setter
Another of Molly's poems 'Waiting for Spring' was published in our newsleter in Spring 2008 and we also received a poem inspired by the 2015 Ballon Fiesta
Waiting for Spring
Now Winter's gone with its icy chill
The cat suns herself on the window-sill,
And every morning the sweet birds sing
A welcome to the coming Spring.
A brisk walk with the dog will cause
A hasty wipe of its muddy paws,
The morning's soft with gentle rain,
So Spring is nearly here again.
Silken crocus glow amid striped leaves
And birds are nesting in the eaves,
With sudden showers and fleeting sun
Our fickle spring has surely come.
Looking for more inspiration?
We are always pleased to see items inspired by Troopers Hill. You can share your work with us via our social media accounts: