Contoured walk with a focus on 18th century historic features in semi-ancient woodland.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Enter the Estate at the entrance leading from the triangle of grass across the road, just north of the Cameron Centre. Keep the group of five fir trees to your right as you bear left. Walk towards the marker post on the left of the gap at the entrance into the open area at the top of the Estate. Bear right a few paces to meet the medieval cart track that is slightly raised in places and then bear left towards the woodlands. When you reach the edge of both Hermitage and Barn Wood, look for a marker post on your right next to a disused stile.
(1) Enter Barn Wood here. Bear left, passing the first post on your right. Continue downhill. On your right you will come across the flat, circular site of the rotunda – formerly an enclosed performance space and garden feature. Continue along the main winding path, initially downhill. Soon you will reach a concentration of historic features.
First you will see the site and ruins of some old cottage buildings. Just beyond (right) is an ornamental bridge with a tunnel beneath which carried a stream from the ‘Horse’ Pond that is a few paces ahead of you (left). The Dower House is on your right through the trees. Note the mature trees in this part of the Estate.
At the marker on your left, cross the path and continue straight on. Very soon you will come to the Beaufort monument on its pedestal. You can make a short detour from the path to see it. It dates from 1755 – a memorial to the 4th Duke of Beaufort.
(2) The path soon joins the Parnell Road entrance through a kissing gate at the end. Bear right down the surfaced zig-zag path into Barn Wood Valley. The Dower House is on your left. Continue until you reach a marker post on your left. Bear right, leaving the tarmac surfaced cycle path. Initially, the Telecommunications Tower is ahead of you. Veer to the right hand of two informally marked paths keeping Barn Wood on your right. Continue past the marker post on your right at the edge of Barn Wood. You will see the base of the obelisk ahead of you at the top of Star Hill.
(3) Enjoy the sweeping view over the Duchess Pond, the M32 and a panorama of Bristol beyond. At the top of the hill, enter the woods by the marker. After a few paces uphill, you will see another marker. Continue left along path. When you see logs and a gate leading to open land between the two woodlands, you have reached the final marker post and your original start point.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 85m - Entrance
1 : km 0.67 - alt. 84m - Barn Wood
2 : km 1.16 - alt. 71m - Kissing gate
3 : km 1.8 - alt. 34m - M32
D/A : km 2.97 - alt. 85m - Entrance
Route difficulty : Paths are mainly unsurfaced and the route involves some short, bu steep climbs. Beware of concealed tree stumps in the wood.
Parking : Along Romney Avenue, near
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin dates back to 1093, with various rebuilding over the years until an extensive refurbishment in 1878. Look out for two notable graves; an obelisk memorial to the Egyptologist Amelia Edwards and coloured head and foot stones of ‘Scipio Africanus’, a negro slave.
The gorge is at its deepest below Lover’s Leap. You can see massive cliffs of steeply tilted white Carboniferous Limestone. It is difficult to see exactly how the Gorge was formed. It would have been directly influenced by the most recent Ice Age up to 100,000 years ago.
Built in 1795 for John Scandret Harford by William Paty. A solid, simple design placed on a rise so as to appear bigger. Harford was responsible for commissioning landscape architect Humphrey Repton and thereafter, architect John Nash who designed the Orangery, Dairy and nearby Blaise Hamlet. More ornate additions representing a Greek classical influence were made to both the exterior and interior of the house from 1832-3 by C R Cockerell on instruction from J S Harford Jnr.
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