6 Priory Fields and Allotments

6  Allotments

Glebe Pond and Priory Fields Glebe pond is situated at the top of Rectory Road.

A metal gate on the left takes you through into a pasture field and immediately on the left is a wooden gate which is the entrance to the Glebe Pond environs.
glebe fields
The pond is sequestered with a variety of native trees. These include elm, ash, black poplar, hawthorn and blackthorn. The overall effect is one tranquillity. The water level in the pond is solely dependent on rainfall. The sloping conglomerate stone base ensures a depth of well over a meter at the far end when the pond is full.
glebe pond pond dipping
The remains of stone walling on both sides would suggest an early origin. It has been suggested that the pond at one time was the Priory fish pond which is in keeping with certain other fishponds round the country. It was also used to clean and expand the wooden wheels of the carriages which passed through Easton-in-Gordano on their journey from the South West to Bristol and London.

Up until 2010 the pond was completely silted up. Rain water was rapidly absorbed into the clogged soil and only a limited number of plant species flourished. Mainly yellow iris, (yellow flag), and bullrush. Aquatic life was sporadic.

The pond was excavated in 2010 and twenty seven tons of silt was removed exposing the unique stone base. Almost immediately the pond started to support the creatures associated with ponds.

 diving beetle ramshornsnail
Diving beetles, Ramhorn snail, newts and frogs are frequently seen as are several species of dragonfly. Water forget-me-not, purple loosestrife, marsh valerian yellow iris and marsh marigolds are among the many plants that grow there. Thirty eight species of birds have been seen in the vicinity of the pond. Despite the wet summer of 2012 many butterflies have been seen including silver washed fritillary, red admiral, tortoise shell, peacock, and several varieties of blues.

Outside the pond area is a field that has recently been fenced off for grazing land.

glebe fields 2

A central path directs you towards another alloy gate into an uncultivated field. Up until the year 2000 this field and the adjoining fields were used for grazing of sheep and cattle. Since then the fields have been left untended and undisturbed. They now support a profusion of plants. herb bennet, cut leaf and doves foot cranesbill, sorrel, dogs mercury, st. johns wort, convolvulous, teasel, great willow herb, and three types of thistle. This last provides seed for flocks of Gold Finches and Bull Finches in the Autumn.
    bullfinch

Bees, hover flies, crickets and grasshoppers are ubiquitous here in the summer. Several varieties of trees are also flourishing, notably pedunculate oak, cherry and walnut, the latter of which, thanks to the squirrels burying the nuts for winter harvest, have begun to populate the area.

Following the overgrown footpath to the left of the fields are a stand of Elms, some over 7 meters high. These trees have managed to resist the ravages of Dutch Elm disease despite growing in an area where earlier generations of Elms succumbed to the disease.

Had the fields continued to be grazed the young saplings would not have survived. Effectively the dense growth of vegetation surrounding the saplings has protected them from the squirrels, rabbits and the occasional deer. Small mammals such as shrew, vole and field mice also thrive in the deep vegetation. This in turn provides an excellent hunting ground thus encouraging birds such as kestrels and barn owls to populate the area.

avonmouth view

The largest field, which provides views of the Welsh hills and Avonmouth docks and often spectacular sunsets, contains a similar assortment of plants previously listed.

A central path leads across the field to a lane which leads to the local allotments and Cross Lanes. The lane can be rather dark in summer, hemmed in on either side by trees and hedging.

Speckled Wood and Wall Brown butterflies are frequently seen here in early summer and some years Magpie moths put in an appearance.

A wooden gate on the right leads to Pill Paddock.

pill paddock

Some years ago Avon Wildlife cleared the area of scrub and planted appropriate plants around the pond. Meadow sweet, purple loosestrife and bog mint do well in this environment. Marsh orchids appear in the meadows in early Spring with meadow cranesbill and fumitory later in the year.

The pond itself has a soft clay base and is permanently cloudy but this presents no drawback for a variety of pond life including smooth newt. Soft rush and common spike rush can be seen in the pond.

3 Comments

3 thoughts on “6 Priory Fields and Allotments

  1. Tom and Moira Walker
    Have lived here for 29 years, Currently use it for personal recreation every day – nature watching and photography and in the past with their children. Their grandparents are from here.
    Ron Rich built 6a in the area where the smithy was.
    Mr and Mrs Harris ran a shop next to the Kings Arms.
    This is an open grassland area with wild life corridors , hedges, ponds, a stream, and mature woodland.
    Frequented by deer, badgers, foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs, voles mice and bats.

  2. Millie Arnal has lived here for 10 years and uses it every day for personal recreation, dog walking and play.
    There used to be cows in the fields opposite her house.
    No 7 Rectory Road used to be the vicarage.
    The area is important as she walks through it to school.

  3. Ragged Robin also grows abundantly in Pill Paddock.
    We understood from a neighbour that this was once the Pill allotment field but the soil was poor for growing veg so the current field was taken on instead. No idea of dates, or if this is the case, however, 15 or so years ago you could find what were said to be the very productive remains of cultivated raspberries. No longer in evidence 3 years ago sadly!

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