A Walk Through the Woods
1.Sun Life Lake
A new pathway winds round the artificial lake. The water tapped for the lake is also the source of the little stream which winds its way behind New Road to Stoke Brook. The path follows the route of the old church path to Harry Stoke Road. The public footpath is diverted via Church Road and Westfield Lane.
2. 'The Paddocks’
Walk along Harry Stoke Road 50 metres to the post box in the wall. Over the wall is the old farm pool, with a resident moorhen. The big farm building was one of several in the Stoke Gifford Parish. Harry Stoke Farm was renamed The Paddocks early this century.
3. Harry Stoke Colliery
Harry Stoke colliery was a post‑nationalisation venture which was intended to open up the north Bristol area of the coalfield. The colliery was a pair of drifts which passed through the beds at a gradient of 1 in 3. It was also intended to sink shafts once the drifts had reached the deeper measures, and thus the Harry Stoke Mine was to have been the beginning of a major scheme in the area. The driving of No. 1 drift commenced in the autumn of 1952. Unfortunately the bad roof conditions in the seam lowered productivity to a level where the colliery became uneconomic and the National Coal Board closed the mine in June 1963.
4. Walls Court Farm
The Manor of Walls is recorded as being the third manor comprising the Parish of Stoke Gifford. An area of considerable woodland known as 'le Walls'. The farm was mostly so poor that it earned the name of 'Starve all Farm'. In the 19th century Thomas Proctor transformed Wallscourt Farm into a model estate. He left in 1861; and almost 100 years later, Hewlett Packard, an American computer company bought the land (1960). They faced a dilemma of whether to demolish 'or retain the classic structure. The company chose to retain and restore the old building as a training centre.
6. Long Wood and Hermitage Wood Two woods originally known as 'le Walls'. Long Wood on the right, Hermitage on the left. There is an 18th century tunnel connecting the wood walks, under the carriageway. Deep in Hermitage Wood there are bat roosts, the Pipstrelle being the most abundant. Five other species have been identified.
The third of 'le Walls' woods on the escarpment. Like the other two it has a Tree Preservation Order. Two woods originally known as 'le Walls'. Long Wood on the right, Hermitage on the left. There is an 18th century tunnel connecting the wood walks, under the carriageway. Deep in Hermitage Wood there are bat roosts,the Pipstrelle being the most abundant. Five other species have been identified.
8. Dower House
The Dower House is Grade 11 listed, named as having been the home of the Dowager Duchess of Beaufort. The house was built in 1563 by Sir Richard Berkeley, lieutenant of the Tower of London; the family having taken over Stoke Gifford Manor in 1338. The last Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, made himself bankrupt restoring Stoke Park. In 1768 he became the last Governor of Virginia, Britain's first and last American Colony. He died two years latter in Williamsburg aged 53. A memorial tablet is in Stoke Gifford Church. Stoke House was bought in 1907 by the Rev. Harold Nelson Burden, a missionary. He and his wife changed the house into a home to care for the mentally handicapped, the Burden Institute.
10. Duchess's Pond
The pond was dug out in 1768 as part of the landscape improvements designed by Thomas Wright A long curved lake covering 2.2 acres. It was destroyed in during the construction of the M32 Motorway fish were taken out,' including two carp weighing 23 and 25 pounds respectively. Named the Duke and Duchess, they went to Bristol Zoo. The new lake is the same shape as the original and filled up quickly because of the efficiency of the Purdown Springs.
11. Broomhill Quarry
The car park for Snuff Mills Park is situated in the quarry which had to be filled in and planted. The cottages were formerly for the quarrymen with a Baptist Chapel in the middle.
12. Snuff Mills
The mill was not always known by this name ‑ at one time it was called Whitwood Mills. There is no evidence of it ever being used to grind snuff, though records show that it was used for corn. You can still see the last water wheel ever used. In its last ten years, it was steam powered. A very curious boiler was used ‑ it was double egg ended ‑ one of only three in the country. You can also see a large millstone, a smaller grindstone and various millstone fragments. just beyond the mill,. you can see the weir. The original sluice is still in action. Note the sheer overgrown quarry faces as you walk along.
© Stoke Gifford Parish Council