Friends of Troopers Hill
Stepping Forward Project
Below are details the £30,504.89 project which was completed in 2012, with photographs of the work. Scroll down or use the links to individual sections.
| Woodland Trail | Interpretation Boards | Steps | Wheelchair Path | Woodland Paths | Other Access Works | Celebration |
Community Spaces have also awarded us £3,500 as a 'Sustainability Grant'. This is for projects to be run in the 12 months from November to work with local schools and to produce an audio trail.
More information and background to the project are on the Stepping Forward Page. The Stepping Forward Project has been funded through the Community Spaces Programme. The Community Spaces grants programme is being managed by Groundwork UK as an Award Partner to the Big Lottery Fund. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces initiative.
Waymarking – Troopers Hill Woodland
An important part of the project was to provide waymarking to the woodland paths in Troopers Hill Woods. This has created a marked circular walk, including the Woods, the Field and part of the Hill.
Sunday 8th April on Troopers Hill Field
We appointed Ruth Coleman to work with us on this part of the project along with with architect, artist and master-woodcarver, Michael Henderson. Ruth was involved with us briefly in her work on the River Avon Trail and more recently she worked on the interpretation boards at Netham Park.
These 'Walk'shops were for local people to influence the design of the carved waymarkers.
Creating & Installing the Trail Markers
Following the walkshops artist and master-woodcarver, Michael Henderson designed and carved the waymarkers. The 'Trail Markers' were installed in the woodland on 4th August by offenders on the ‘Community Payback’ scheme. Another group on the same scheme then installed the two direction posts at Lamb Hill on the following morning. Despite the heavy showers the group then did some bramble and sapling clearance in Sally's Glade.
The Trail markers each have their own name - these were created for the Walkshops. The stories told at each location inspired the carvings on them. There is webpage that gives more information about each marker - www.troopers-hill.org.uk/WoodlandTrail.
'At the Studio'
Improving Access – New Interpretation Boards
The original scope of the project included a new interpretation board at the Summerhill Terrace entrance to the Field with a map showing the new waymarked routes in the woodland and how the Field links to the Hill and the Woods.
Since the work on the project was completed to budget, we were then given permission to use some of the money set aside for contingencies to improve the existing interpretation board with a new map and to install an additional board near the lower chimney. This work has also now been completed.
We were pleased to be able to work with Clare Challice of dandi creative design on this part of the project. Clare designed the 2007 interpretation board on top of the Hill and also our leaflets.
The wildlife illustrations on all the boards were drawn by Abi Stubbs and the boards are supplied by Arien Signs.
The 'QR' code on the bottom right of the boards will take you directly to our new website for Mobiles. This will also give access to download the Audio Trail that will be put together using the £3,500 Community Spaces 'Sustainability Grant'.
Field Board - Gateway to Troopers Hill
The first draft of the design for the 'Field' interpretation board was discussed at our May meeting and shown on this webpage. Comments were fed back to Clare before the design was 'signed off'.
The final version can be seen below. At the side of the printed board are two clip frames for us to advertise upcoming events - this followed a suggestion made at our meeting in January 2011 that notices should be displayed at this entrance. The board was installed on Monday 23rd July.
Upper Chimney Board - Mining Coal and Mining Bees
The existing interpretation board on top of the Hill (first installed in 2007) was removed and has been refreshed. It has a new map, the 'right way up' for people looking at it and which also includes the woodland. At the same time the frame was re-coated.
Lower Chimney Board - Shaped by Industrial History
The design for the additional board to go by the lower chimney was based on ideas discussed at our meeting on 12th July. The board was installed on 11th September 2012.
Improving Access for the less mobile and visually impaired
The major part of the project is to improve the steps on the existing paths across Troopers Hill Local Nature
Classic Landscapes Ltd were appointed to carry out the works to the steps on the Hill and to install the land drains in the Field (see below). Before work started we met with their Director, along with the Project Managerand designer from Bristol City Council. Our ecologist Rupert Higgins also attended the meeting and has approved Classic Landscapes' method statement .
Classic Landscapes started work on Mon 20th February in the Field. They then moved on to the steps a week later. One small gang then moved round the hill replacing the rotten timber steps and adding new ones where necessary. Work to give the final finish was delayed by April & early May's wet weather but has now been completed. A new plinth has been constructed around the bench on top of the Hill.
Access for Wheelchair Users
A wheelchair accessible path reaches the top of the hill via Troopers Hill Field, where some on street
parking is available. We introduced two improvements as part of the project, a sign has been installed at the gate to this path describing the route
and following the suggestion of a wheelchair user we have installed an additional bench part way along the path.
We agreed the wording of the sign with Bristol Physical Access Chain (BPAC - a user group made up of disabled people) and Bristol Parks. Bristol City Council design team then finalised the layout for us and the order was placed with a local firm Wards in Barton Hill.
The new bench was ordered from David Ogilvie. It is the same design as the two benches next to the wheechair path on top of the hill. The bench has been positioned so that you can see the view through the gap in the trees and there is room either side of it for wheelchair users.
Following suggestions from BPAC and school children during the consultation, the sign at the entrance to the Hill from the Field has also been moved nearer to the path and lowered. This means that both children and wheelchair users will be able to see it more easily.
Improving Woodland Paths - BTCV
We worked with BTCV
(now 'The Conservation Volunteers') to use volunteers to construct a flight of steps on the path into the Woods from the Field. This work started on 3rd April and is now complete. The volunteers helped with the management of Troopers Hill by cutting down some saplings once the steps were complete.
Improving Woodland Paths - Community Payback
Working with the City Council we are using offenders on the ‘Community Payback’ scheme to carry out a deep clean in the woodland; to clear some areas of scrub and to make the entrances more inviting. Work they have done includes cutting back the bramble and scrub on the upper path and clearing off the steps to 'Little Elizabeth's View' on the lower path. They have also removed rubbish, including garden waste that was dumped in the woods.
In November the last bit of work was carried out at the entrances from Lamb Hill. This included reinstating the kissing gate on the upper path.
The team also carried out some management work on Troopers Hill LNR. On Sat 3rd March they cleared some scrub from the west end of Sally's Glade at the top of the steps from the woodland. On Sun 4th and Mon 5th March they removed some of the gorse that has spread over part of the hill over the last few years. To help with this they had previously installed a new gate at entrance E (the second one up Troopers Hill Rd). This made removing the gorse easier and will also make it easier for our park keeper to access the site with tools in the future. This work was completed on Sat 26th & 27th March. You can read more about the reasons for managing the gorse on our Forum here
From 6th to 8th Oct, Community Payback cleared the route for a new path between the lower woodland path and the parking area near the Lamb Inn on Crews Hole Rd, this was done using contingency money that was not required elesewhere. This first stage of the work was to bag up a lot of rubbish that Bristol City Council removed on Sunday. Having cleared the route some steps were formed to make the path easier to use. Two large stones were positioned to mark the entrance at Crews Hole. Having had two dry days, this work was completed in the rain on the Monday. We were again impressed by the amount of work that they got done.
Using the last of the contingency allowance that we did not need for other works, we were able to pay for two extra sessions by Community Payback in November. This work included clearing bramble in front of the new bench in Troopers Hill Field and clearing the area of obstructions so that it can be kept clear by strimming in the future. At the same time they cut some drainage channels to prevent large puddles forming on the track after heavy rain. The team also cleared some bramble from the broom above Sally's Glade on the Hill. To do this some of the broom was also removed to give access and also to form fire breaks.
West end of Sally's Glade
Lamb Inn Path
Improving Access – Troopers Hill Field
Part of the Field becomes very muddy in the autumn and winter and this forms a barrier to access to the
nature reserve. Work has been done as part of the project to improve this.
During week commencing 20th February, matting was installed at the entrances to stop these becoming muddy in winter, the design is such that grass will grow through. During the same week, land-drains were installed to deal with the muddy area near the slide. This work was carried out by Classic Landscapes Ltd as part of their contract for work to the steps on the Hill.
Improving Access – Road Crossings
To highlight where people can cross safely and to make the crossing points easier to use we have installed drop
kerbs to the pavements on Troopers Hill Rd opposite the entrance near the lower chimney and also the entrance at Greendown. This work was carried out on 7th & 8th Feburary 2012.
‘Troopers Community Spaces Celebration’
To celebrate the completion of the project we held an event on Saturday 20th October based on Troopers Hill Field.
On a wonderful sunny October afternoon, many of those who had been involved in the Stepping Forward Project were joined by local families in Troopers Hill Field to celebrate the completion of the project. The Field waymarker, with the Community Spaces plaque, was unveiled by Sally Oldfield who as Local Nature Reserves officer played an important part in forming Friends of Troopers Hill in 2003.
Following the unveiling and press photography, Martin Maudsley led a walking storytelling tour of the Woodland and the Hill, which included seeing the 'dream catchers' installed by pupils of Air Balloon Hill School the previous day. The stories included Mr Truebody, a red dragon with a gold earring called Flame and a lizard emerging from the broom on the Path of Gloom before a happy ever after ending.
Back on the Field Peter Margerum was leading a craft session making musical instruments from copper pipe and other items inspired by the Hill's history.
The grant paid for two new gazebos for the event. One of these gazebos had its first outing at the Good Friday service and both were also used at the workshop for the waymarking trail (see above).