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28th July 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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We had a lovely late afternoon walk through the woods in Stoke Park and along the skyline on Purdown with great views over Bristol and its suburbs.

DSCF7834A robin greeted us at the entrance to Barn Wood

DSCF7856A Speckled Wood butterfly in the woods

DSCF7970Duchess Pond in the foreground with the Dower House behind

DSCF7920The M32 leading in to central Bristol with Eastville Park to the left

DSCF7896Looking over our house to Glenside Hospital whose chapel houses the Glenside Hospital Museum: the museum is full of an interesting and growing collection of a wide range of artefacts and images from its past life, including objects from the former Stoke Park Hospital and the Burden Neurological Institute (now the Dower House)

Link to Glenside Hospital Museum

Link to Dower House

We had a slow start as, right at the beginning of the walk, we stopped to watch a kestrel which hovered quite close by and regularly dived in search of prey. It didn’t seem to be very successful and went and had a look in to the window of one of the flats of the Dower House that dominates the park.

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We made our way to the top of Purdown to see the goats which are grazing around the  old gun battery known as “Purdown Percy”

The following reference about “Purdown Percy” comes from an article on the web by Eugene Byrne (https://eugenebyrne.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/purdown-percy/) :

‘Purdown Percy’ was the name given to a legendary supergun supposedly placed here during the war. There was no such weapon. What there was was a battery of 3.7-inch guns and the occasional 40mm Bofors gun(s).

People apparently believed, though, that Purdown was home to a sort of ack-ack version of Big Bertha. The legend of Purdown Percy might have arisen because of the elevated position of the battery; the racket it made would have carried very widely. It’s also, and slightly more credibly, been suggested that up to four of the guns could be fired electronically at the same time from the battery command post. Four or even two 3.7″ guns going off at once would have made a lot of noise, and a bright flash.

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Anyway as part of the Stoke Park improvement work (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/stoke-park-improvement-work-2018-to-2020) goats are now grazing the area around the gun battery (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/cattle-grazing). The goats are very friendly and have become a real attraction. However, it was rather difficult to get a photo of the troupe of goats with a telephoto lens!

DSCF8003Goldfinch feeding on the abundant seeds at the end of our walk.

Post script

 

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