SPRING 2022 BULLETIN 165 Page 1
BIAS MEMBERS ASKED TO GET ON PARADE FOR TROOPERS’ HILL
BIAS members are being asked to get on parade for the Friends of Troopers Hill group – as it comes up to its 20th birthday – and root out any documents or photographs which might be of interest.
Group committee member and BIAS member Rob Acton-Campbell gave a fascinating “Zoom” talk about the environment and industrial history of the Hill in early February and there was wide positive feedback.
Troopers Hill in Crews Hole, east Bristol, is one of the most important sites in Bristol for wildlife. Its unique heathland and grassland habitat is home to many invertebrates including many species of solitary bees which spend most of their lifecycle in burrows just below the surface.
Eighty-three different species of bee have been recorded on the site; the purple heather, yellow broom, gorse, hawkweeds and many other plants that cover large part of the site are vital for their survival.
The site is all that remains of what would have been large areas of similar habitat across Kingswood Forest when it was a royal hunting ground. But like all of east Bristol Troopers Hill has been shaped by humans and as well as being important to ecologists, it is an important site for anyone interested in the industrial history of our great city.
Friends of Troopers Hill was formed in 2003, primarily to help the site owners Bristol City Council, manage the site and protect its important habitat by carrying out practical conservation work.
However, the presence of two chimneys on the site, both Grade II-listed, also hinted that there were stories to uncover about its history. Why was this patch of undeveloped land there? What were the chimneys used for? What is under our feet?
In July 2004 the group was fortunate to have a talk from Joan Day (whom many BIAS members will fondly remember) explaining the history of Bristol’s brass industry and Troopers Hill’s place in that story.
Later we were also able to talk to John Cornwell about coal mining and Raymond Holland about the history of Butler’s Tar Works that stood by the river on land that was historically in the same ownership as Troopers Hill ….
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