Saltford Environment Group
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Saltford Photo Exhibition
Saltford Community Association is inviting all local residents to participate in the photo exhibition for the 2017 Saltford Village Festival that is being held in June. This is free to enter for amateur photographers with prizes for "Young photographer" and "Comedy photo".
Photographs must be taken in Saltford and suitable photographs will also be considered for the 2018 Saltford calendar. Entries can cover one or more of these themes:
Entries should be jpeg files (up to 10Mb) and sent to John Davies email email@example.com (tel: 01225--344976) by no later than Monday 8th May.
Opportunity to coordinate local habitat project
A reminder that Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:
The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:
This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.
No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.
If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The project has its own webpage: link >>
Our village in the 1950s
SEG has recently published in our history project's Online Museum key extracts from "Our Village", the 1959 un-illustrated brochure produced by Saltford W.I. 58 years ago. Published on 10 February 1959 this was compiled by six members of Saltford Women's Institute with "knowledge gained from various sources" and was kindly loaned to SEG by long-term resident Margaret Stabbins whose mother had been a W.I. member in the 1950s.
This provides a rare description of 1950s Saltford, a village "pleasantly situated on the South bank of a particularly picturesque portion of the River Avon" and where "steep, winding paths and curious old streets and lanes combine to give it a romantic attractiveness which one cannot fail to appreciate." Furthermore Saltford had "a quaint old world appearance due in a measure to its position on the slopes of a hill and to the almost medieval character of some of its habitations."
Below are just a few edited extracts concerning the village and the river from this quaint historical record:-
The village has not been altered for many years, the chief characteristic feature being the rows of cottages built at angles off the road through the village. They have no back entrance or garden but have good front gardens.
Most of the village people are engaged on railway maintenance at Keynsham, Bristol or Bath. Some are agricultural workers.
At the cross roads in the village is the World War I Memorial, a dignified and simple Celtic Cross, surrounded by a tiny garden. Names have also been added of casualties in World War II.
The main Bristol-London road, the upper end of Saltford, is now given to ribbon development, modern houses, many of which are dormitories for residents occupied in nearby towns. On each side, off the main road, there are Council houses of various types, about two hundred in all. These are planned and arranged to give space and beauty for the occupants.
We have a very energetic Community Association, which is working hard to raise funds for a new Community Centre on the Sports ground. This is badly needed as the W.I. Hut is the only hall available for all the local activities.
The only shops in the old village are a news agent a grocery store but a number of other shops and a post office line a portion of the main Bristol-Bath road and these satisfy most every-day needs.
It is a very pretty stretch of the river, with weirs adjoining both locks. Willow trees overhang into the river in places and here moorhens build their nests, such a charming picture they make when wee black, fluffy chicks are seen paddling about with their parents.
Swans also nest on the banks and are equally delightful to watch, gliding down the river in single file, with a parent bird at each end of the line of young cygnets. They are far more aggressive when nesting or protecting their young and will readily attack at any unwarranted interference.
There is plenty of fishing in season. The patient fishermen sit or stand all day, wet or fine, on the grassy banks and are sometimes rewarded with good catches of roach etc. At one time eels were caught in traps and sold in neighbouring towns.
Water rats or voles are sometimes seen, searching for food. They are pretty creatures with furry, mud-coloured coats. A lovely sight is the kingfisher, its brilliant blue plumage and large beak catching the sunlight, making it into a flying jewel.
During the summer months, especially at week-end, the river is alive with punts, rowing boats, canoes and similar craft, the main feature being the annual Saltford Regatta.
Many clubs use the river, the Clifton Rowing Club among others, having their own boat-houses there. Sea scouts also make full use of the water for their nautical training and camp in the adjoining fields.
The Shallows were so called because in olden times, before there were any weirs or locks, the tide came up to Saltford and where the road is low, there was a ford, or shallow place, where one could cross to the Kelston side of the river. A swift stream ran down the middle about a yard wide, which had to be jumped. The road is now very much higher than it was then, when it was often flooded. There was a flood path for foot passengers and it led through No. 2 Willow Cottages and up the field at the top of the Rectory. The door has been nailed up for a good many years but for a long time there was a strong piece of chain and a padlock on the inside of the stair door.
FURTHER INFORMATION FROM THE FULL DOCUMENT
The document also describes the brass mill, the Jolly Sailor and other pubs, St Mary's church, the railway station,and some of the sporting activities including the golf club. You can download the full online document we have produced from this direct link:- "Our Village" (pdf opens in new window). For future reference it is in the Online Museum, 20th Century (page 2, "Miscellaneous").
Plans for Keynsham High Street one-way trial
Members may wish to be aware that B&NES Council has announced details of the one-way trial for Keynsham High Street.
The trial scheme is in response to public support for the idea; residents in Keynsham wished to see an improved shopping experience, with reduced traffic making it quieter and less congested. If the trial is successful, it would enable permanent improvements to be made such as widening of the footways to give pedestrians more space.
As part of the Keynsham, High Street trial, the following changes will take place:
Ashton Way will remain two-way to all traffic. If the trial is successful, implementation of a permanent one-way system would enable more significant changes to be made to the High Street in future. These could include widening of the pedestrian areas and additional street furniture such as more public seating.
Construction is expected to start in Ashton Way on Monday 27 February, with the trial layout expected to come into effect in May.
During the trial, B&NES will be undertaking a paper-based and online consultation process with the public about how they would like to see the space on the High Street developed. The project web page at www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham will feature news and updates regarding opportunities to get involved in this process.
Saltford Heritage Centre: SPC backs PCC
At its February meeting Saltford Parish Council approved a grant of £1,000 to St Mary's Parochial Church Council towards the cost of redecorating and other related internal improvements in the church hall as a venue for hosting Saltford's Heritage Centre.
The PCC has already started to make progress on decorating the hall and the financial assistance generously provided by the Parish Council demonstrates its support for this project to help Saltford as a community gain a better knowledge and appreciation of its heritage.
As reported previously, SEG and the PCC are working together with the aim of having the early beginnings of the Heritage Centre ready for the Saltford Festival in June (2017).
Healthy sustainable food in the West of England
If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either - Joseph Woodkrutch
Those SEG members who are involved with public catering and food procurement/supply may wish to be aware that a West of England Food Procurement Group has been set up by the 4 West of England local authorities to provide leadership on healthy and sustainable food procurement.
Membership includes procurement, catering and public health staff from the four West of England local authorities - Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset - along with representatives from local supply groups and other partners. The group works together to exchange information, share best practice and identify initiatives and actions to support healthy and sustainable food procurement across the West of England.
If you want to know more visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/sustainablefoodprocurement where guidance, tools, local suppliers and information on awards to support healthy and sustainable food procurement can be found.
Discovering Roman Saltford: Geophysics survey report published
On 6th February 2017 SEG published the final report complete with expert analysis from our colleagues at Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS). SEG assisted BACAS complete the geophysics search for a Roman dwelling in November 2016.
Below is a geophysics image from day 2 of the survey; as can be seen there is evidence of a major building (villa?) measuring up to approximately 70 metres in length and 40 to 50 metres in width that appears to have been discovered. This discovery in the parish of Saltford of a major structure that is probably Roman is a first for recorded history in modern times.
To the left (west) of the building are two large ditches running east-west. These might be for retaining livestock, irrigation or some other purpose.
As described in the final 2016 report, in the north western corner of the field an area of magnetic disturbance appears to indicate a structure but magnetometry has not provided a clear image. A trackway running up the west side of the field is also visible over part of its length. There also appears a pair of short, intense strong lines on the east side of the field, approximately 45 metres in from the field margin. It is not obvious what these represent, possibly the sides of a washing pool.
In the east portion of the field, a series of east - west lines, unevenly spaced, may be part of an earlier field system, perhaps medieval.
LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) imaging was introduced for the 2016 survey report (courtesy of Andy McGrandle of BigAnomaly). This usefully provides complementary information in the form of landscape archaeology revealing many features of archaeological interest in the surrounding fields including evidence of an earlier and ancient field system, possibly Roman, and other features (mounds and other structures).
SEG is very grateful to the landowner, Adam Stratton, for allowing access to the field, to BACAS for carrying out this geophysics survey, for the assistance of survey volunteers from BACAS and SEG named in the report and to Andy McGrandle of BigAnomaly for the LIDAR imagery.
SEG is now in the early stages of discussing with BACAS the next steps for revealing more about this important find.
You can find the final survey report that includes technical data and imaging in the "Roman Saltford" section of our Online Museum.
Incentive to recycle more as waste collections go fortnightly in November
With all waste or pollution, someone somewhere pays for it...
Here is the latest informatiomn from B&NES Council on the change to fortnightly waste collections:-
Most households across Bath and North East Somerset will be changing to every other week collection for their rubbish from 6 November. B&NES will be providing a 140 litre wheeled bin for the storage and collection of rubbish. B&NES realise that one size does not fit all, so in a small number of cases where a 140 litre wheeled bin is not suitable for a property, or family situation, they may provide a larger bin or a re-useable rubbish bag to contain rubbish for collection.
Recycling collections, including food waste will remain weekly and the emphasis from B&NES will be on encouraging everyone to use this weekly service to its full potential.
From 9-13 March all households will be sent a personalised letter informing them how the changes will affect them - most letters will be included in the envelope with your Council Tax Bill.
This letter will let you know whether B&NES has allocated your property a wheeled bin or re-useable rubbish bag for rubbish collection, and the frequency of your rubbish collection. The letter is for information and no response will be needed. If you are concerned that the container B&NES has allocated is not appropriate for your specific property, or if despite recycling all you can, you feel that your household will not manage with the allocated container you will be able to complete an online query form.
Why are B&NES introducing the changes?
1. To keep our streets cleaner
Containing rubbish in a bin or re-usable bag will prevent animals and birds ripping open bags and making a mess which is unpleasant for everyone and costs us to clear up.
2. To recycle more
B&NES have a very comprehensive recycling collection where you can already recycle 17 different types of household waste every week. We know that some residents can recycle more than they are currently doing - about 75% of a household's waste can be recycled using the current collections, but B&NES still find that over half of an average rubbish bag consists of items that could have been recycled. Local research shows that if you recycle all you can you will still have space left in your rubbish bin when collected every other week.
The change will help to encourage everyone to use their food recycling collection - only about 50% of households currently use this. About a third of the waste in black sacks currently is food.
3. To save money
Every lorry load of waste costs £1000 to dispose of whilst every lorry load of recycling earns an income of £100, so reducing the amount put out as rubbish is essential.
You can find out more at www.bathnes.gov.uk/recycle.
Do you have any old picture frames at the back of your cupboards? Then now is the time to get them out and dust them down. With a bit of imagination you can transform them into something beautiful for nothing. Modern, vintage, rustic - something for yourself, family and friends. Whatever you choose it will be unique.
To find out how this can be done, bring along your finds on Thursday February 16th with anything you may wish to decorate your frames with. Buttons, old maps, newspaper, twine, ribbon, the list is endless. We will have some frames and as usual we share ideas and finds.
Pop along and join Tina and Frances at Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford where we meet in the workshop from 7-9pm. Our UPCYCLING CRAFT GROUP is free and fun for everyone, no experience needed. Phone Frances on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more.
Are you or your organisation a keen recycler? A chance to star!
How do you do it in your home/school/workplace?
B&NES Council need all kinds of resident recyclers to star in their campaign in 2017. Instead of using generic pictures, they want real Bath and North East Somerset residents! They want you to show how you recycle, to encourage others to recycle more, and to help people get ready for the change to every other week rubbish collections starting in November.
They want your stories, photos, videos and recycling tips to share with others and are keen to hear from individuals and groups - including schools, families, housemates, work groups - and show how you do it in your home/school/workplace.
They want to use your photos and stories mainly for their social media campaign. If there is anything unusual about how you recycle and/or you have a fun way to recycle or a humorous tale to tell please also get in touch with them by email email@example.com - they welcome creative ideas. You can send your photos/stories/tips/videos to them or nominate recycling star(s).
Don't buy it, Borrow It!
Did you know that the average drill is only used for 13 minutes during its entire lifetime? Bath Borrow It has been set up by TimeBank Plus in Twerton and will offer people in B&NES the opportunity to borrow a range of useful items which are needed only for occasional use, such as tools, household and gardening equipment, catering utensils, camping items, children & baby equipment, etc. - it could be anything from a hedge trimmer to a sewing machine, a gazebo or a chocolate fountain!
The Bath Borrow It project will provide a way to reduce waste and clutter, make better use of resources and help people to save money.
Details can be found on the timebankplus.co.uk/wp/ website. They are currently advertising their Wish List of items for loan. The telephone number for enquiries is 01225--442813.
The Grey Herons in Saltford
Grey Herons (species name Ardea cinerea) can frequently be seen along the River Avon in Saltford - especially searching out fish near the weirs, and visiting gardens with ponds. This prehistoric looking bird with its dagger like bill, long legs and S-shaped neck is one of our most unmistakable all-year round residents.
Their carnivorous diet consists principally of fish, but also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles, and amphibians. After harvest, Grey Herons can sometimes be seen in our fields, searching out rodents. Similarly, after floods, they visit fields where various marooned fish and flooded land animals are easy pickings.
The Grey Heron is not currently a threatened species; in fact it is increasing its range, and is now more abundant in Britain than it has ever been since monitoring of heronries began in the 1920s. This may be due to an increase in winter temperatures and less persecution. Over the last half-century herons have become noticeably less shy in Saltford, again probably reflecting lowered persecution.
Here are some interesting facts about herons:-
Saltford Weather Station
2016 was the hottest year globally on record, according to NASA, and of the 17 hottest years ever recorded, 16 have now occurred since 2000. We know that extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods together with changing weather patterns are becoming increasingly the norm.
Members are reminded that SEG's Saltford Weather Station on our Climate Change page provides the 5-day local weather forecast, flood alerts, and a direct link to the constantly updated river level here in Saltford.
Can you help SEG find this 1860 painting?
This (old) monochrome print of a Constable style painting of the River Avon was amongst the Percy Sims collection of Saltford photographs. The late Percy Sims was the author of the well known 1976 book 'A History of Saltford Village'.
The image is in our History of Saltford project's Online Museum but SEG would very much like to trace the actual painting so that we can photograph it in colour and thus share it in its full glory with residents and others. Do you know who has this particular painting? If so please contact SEG's Chairman.
Sale of last remaining 2017 Saltford Calendars
SCA are selling the last remaining unsold calendars for half price (£3) from the SCA office on the 1st floor of Saltford Hall on weekday mornings from Tuesday 3rd January. If you missed out on getting a calendar or want some for friends and family you can take advantage of this special low price while remaining stocks last.
As production costs have now been recovered future proceeds from this joint SEG/SCA initiative are split 50/50 between SCA and SEG to help further their voluntary work supporting the local community.
Saltford Heritage Centre: Starting to take shape
Whilst the development and planning for the centre is still in its early stages, discussions and planning behind the scenes continue to take place for this volunteer run community resource.
SEG should like to thank everyone who took the time to answer our short online survey from 14 September to the end of December 2016. Although the response rate was fairly low, and thus typical for surveys of this nature, the enthusiasm for the idea of establishing a Heritage Centre at the Church Hall in Saltford, for SEG's history project and the range of supportive ideas and comments were encouraging to read.
All respondents were in favour and 98% would visit the centre at least once or twice a year with 38% interested in visiting the centre more than twice a year. Whilst SEG's Online Museum had the highest single preference (35%) for finding out about Saltford's history, those preferring the Heritage Centre or having no preference was 57%. Most respondents (36%) were in the 35-44 age range.
These comments from the online survey are typical of the responses we have received:
"Ideal venue for the local and wider community"
"It's a great idea, for local people and for visitors"
"It's important that the Heritage Centre doesn't become just a collection of artefacts... Outreach to our local schools and other cultural centres, e.g. the Brass Mill, would help keep it fresh"
"SEG's history project is great; the heritage centre would complement the online material"
We are in regular contact with the Parochial Church Council as plans unfold for the church hall's redecoration and other internal improvements, and we shall aim to keep residents and SEG members informed as plans develop further. We aim to have the early beginnings of the Heritage Centre ready for the Saltford Festival in June (2017).
SEG publishes image of the oldest painting of Saltford
SEG has published just before Christmas this fascinating painting for everyone to see as part of our history project. Many residents were dismayed to see this painting leave Saltford in 1993 after it had been in the Jolly Sailor for some 265 years.
The original painting itself, oil on wood panel, was over 5 feet wide. We have scanned to a high resolution a small and rare photograph taken of the painting in the 1990s, digitally cleaned and colour corrected it, and the resulting image is now on SEG's website looking magnificent (the image above is a small version).
The following describes the painting and its historical context and is from our Online Museum where you can see a much larger version of the painting:-
Measuring 167.2cm x 64.2cm (5' 5.75" x 2' 1.25") and dated at c.1728 by art experts and industrial archaeologists, this is the oldest known painting depicting a Saltford scene.
The lock had been opened in 1727 when the Avon Navigation was opened linking Bath to Bristol. It is thought that the house became an inn, the Jolly Sailor, from the 1740s; the first recorded landlord, from 1749 to 1789, was Francis Hunt.
Despite its simplicity and stretched perspective the painting is an important industrial and social historical record for the River Avon and Saltford. It provides a rare depiction of activity on the river soon after the locks had been built by Bristol-based civil and mechanical engineer John Padmore that allowed river traffic to bypass Saltford and Kelston weirs.
As the somewhat grand house is central to the picture it is thought that this painting may have been commissioned by the mill owner at the time, Mr Faux.
The painting depicts the miller's home (central building), the paper mill itself (left-hand building) that had formerly been a leather mill, the drying house (right-hand building), and the new Saltford Lock.
In the central foreground is the lock island with steps, the original lock gates and beams. On the river can be seen a variety of boats including a wherry (left of picture, with square sail), passenger and other pleasure boats with red flags, small rowing boats, a cargo carrying barge with sail (centre within the lock) and a barge pulled by men (right).
This was before landowners along the river permitted horses onto their land for pulling barges. Concerned that heavy horses would damage their land, horses for pulling barges were not allowed access. However, lobbying and a petition from local manufacturers along the river led to the passing of the Amendment Act of 1807 (47 Geo III c.129) that allowed for a horse towpath along the river.
The painting shows a sense of prosperity for the Bath to Bristol area, sustained by the industrial activity of the many mills along the River Avon and the amount of river traffic including for pleasure use that had become possible by the new navigation as a result of the installation of locks.
This new navigation enabled the river journey by wherry in 1728 of Princess Amelia the daughter of King George II from Bath to Hanham through Saltford - details of her journey can be found in our Online Museum as well as an account of the destruction of Saltford Lock by rioting Kingswood coal miners in 1738.
A larger version of the painting can be viewed in our Online Museum on the 18th Century page.
Older news stories from SEG
'The SEG Newsletter' page carries some of our past and recently published news stories.
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