What is it about all these ‘offerings’ being made to the “Dog Poo Fairy?”

I cycle through Sydney Gardens on a regular basis. Last week there was a bagged bundle just inside the  Sydney Road entrance. It disappeared in time but there was another one in its place today.


A little offering – just inside the park entrance.

It’s not as though the park doesn’t contain doggie poo bins – because it does and most dog owners use it.


Today’s ‘offering’ in roughly the same place.

I never blame a dog for misdemeanours. After all, it’s the owner who has to take responsibility.

It’s a shame some parts of Sydney Gardens have just become a playground for dogs off their leads. Even the poor old spring daffodils have been taking a battering from our four-legged friends running wild.

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Trampled daffs!

Here’s hoping this historic green lung gets its HLF money and its supporters are able to transform it into a revitalised playground with allocated space for all.

Sydney Gardens gives you access to the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Turn left towards open countryside and you are in for a real treat.


The snow has gone now and the canalside looks even worse!

Shame the Canal and River Trust has no real teeth to deal with some of those actually floating on the canal.

Not for me to say how you live your lives but when your rubbish despoils and destroys the canal verge – where others living in tents have also lit fires – it’s time to move on.


The grit bag is full of rubbish – and there’s a pile of black bags alongside it now!

Never mind the dog poo fairy, here’s a bag of towpath grit being used as a general rubbish dump!

l feel for the responsible users of this amazing heritage and for the volunteers who do all they can to maintain it.

Just what is living in the temple attic?

Just what is living in the temple attic?

There’s always something going on in historic Sydney Gardens. This time the action is within Minerva’s Temple – built to promote Bath at the Empire Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace in 1911 – and then re-erected here a few years later to commemorate the Bath Historical Pageant.

The landmark building has fallen on hard times – as has the rest of this former Georgian pleasure ground – but l chanced upon two people with a head for heights. They’d erected a ladder to get them up to the loft.

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The ladder into the loft!

The access cover disappeared many years ago and now that roof space appears to have become home to some rather interesting nocturnal flying mammals.

Working for Avon Wildlife – these enthusiastic naturalists have been installing a device to detect bat movements and get some idea of how much the space is being used throughout the year.

The Friends of Sydney Gardens are in the process of preparing an HLF submission – which will go in around August time – in the hope of getting funds to revitalise what has become little more than a dog park.

Obviously, the temple will feature in their plans.

Meanwhile, l am sure canal walker are familiar with what looks like a mini rockery to one side of the Kennet and Avon wall as it passes through Sydney Gardens.


Bath’s open-air stalagmite.

Knowling how ‘hard’ Bath spring water is you will not be surprised to hear that the water flowing into the canal is an overflow from a reservoir of natural spring water under the grounds above.

The rocky formation is Bath’s open-air stalagmite. A build-up of calcium deposits over many, many years!

While the environment around it is being enthusiastically ‘cleaned up’ by volunteers working for the Canal and River Trust – it’s good to know this little bit of geological history will NOt be touched.


Putting Sydney Gardens out to grass.

Putting Sydney Gardens out to grass.

Let me start by saying that l know the guys from the city’s parks department do a great job – with ever-decreasing funds – but it’s a fact of life that more time and effort is going to go into somewhere like Parade Gardens than a recreational space further away from the main tourist trail.


Sydney Gardens displaying its autumnal glory.

Sydney Gardens is an historic, former Georgian Vauxhall that is full of mature trees currently crowned in autumnal glory.

You may know that  an application for a major HLF grant is currently being prepared that would help invigorate the space and equip it for life as a contemporary park to be enjoyed by all.

That’s a convoluted way of saying that – however much money they throw at it – it won’t be restored to anything like the way it originally was because life and society has changed.

While the city waits for some good news about a grant the gardens continue to deteriorate.


Grass tracks show where the mower has been.

The grass now gets cut by the mowing team whose machines go from park to park. I have noticed there is no great attention to detail in some places.


Not all the grass has been mown. Nothing seems to be done by hand any more. Note the squashed doggy poo bag!

Here is where the mower has been and a lot of the grass seems to have escaped the knife.

They have got rid of the permanent ‘park keeper’ who kept an eye on things and gave the gardens the benefit of a ‘personal touch.’


A roof garden is taking hold at the temple.

The roof of the temple is weed bound and boundary walls are crumbling.


The edging to the retaining wall beside the top steps has crumbled away.

Maybe Bathonians should roll up their sleeves and take charge. Silly me – doesn’t that involve taking pride in our community?

Green light for landscape group.

Green light for landscape group.

Caring for Bath’s green surroundings is the job of The Bathscape Landscape Partnership Scheme which is now officially underway with staff in post to start developing what is described as an exciting and broad ranging partnership project.

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Awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) development grant, Bathscape aims to connect people and communities with Bath’s unique landscape, guided by a partnership of local organisations.

Over the next few months Development Manager Dan Merrett and Community and Access Officer Lucy Bartlett will be out and about discussing Bathscape projects with residents and potential delivery partners to draw up a detailed delivery plan to submit to the Heritage Lottery Fund in June 2018. 

“We are really excited to develop the wide range of projects that the Bathscape Partnership has outlined. There will be plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved in shaping the projects. We particularly want to overcome some of the barriers to accessing the countryside. Through Bathscape we are looking to increase people’s knowledge of what the landscape offers, provide information on its heritage and wildlife and improve access to it, as well as offering a range of activities to enjoy and care for  the landscape,” said Dan Merrett.


The green hills surrounding the city of Bath.

Whilst the ‘on the ground’ activity will take place 2018 – 2023 , subject to HLF approval of the Round 2 HLF application, there will be pilots to test ideas during 2017/2018. These include Nature Watch sessions, an outdoor learning site, and a Bathscape Walking Festival that will take place from Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 September 2017.

Information and updates will be posted on summary of the projects in the Bathscape Landscape Partnership programme is available here.

You can contact the Bathscape team via email   or come and meet them at one of the public events they will be attending including World Heritage Day on Sunday 23 April, and Festival of Nature on Sunday 25 June, both in Parade Gardens, Bath.

For your information:

About Bathscape Partnership

The Bathscape Partnership exists to develop and deliver a programme of activity which brings a co-ordinated approach to the care of the landscape surrounding the City of Bath World Heritage Site.

A Landscape Partnership development grant of £176,800 has been awarded by HLF to enable the Bathscape Partnership to develop its plans and seek final approval for the full grant amount of £1.655,200 at a later date.

Partnership members are: B&NES Council, National Trust, Bath Preservation Trust, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Curo, Wessex Water, Visit Bath, Avon Wildlife Trust, Cotswolds Conservation Board, Joint Local Access Forum, Federation of Bath Residents Associations, Wiltshire Council. The Partnership is supported by other bodies and organisations including Natural England and Historic England.

HLF Notes to editors
¹ HLF’s Landscape Partnership (LP) programme operates a two-stage grant approval process. Money has been set aside by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the scheme. The applicant initially receives development funding, then progresses to the second round and submits a further, fully-developed application to secure the full award. This early level of strong financial commitment means that Landscape Partnership projects can move forward with the assurance that funding for their scheme is in place provided that their final proposals fully meet the programme’s criteria.

² HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities.  Grants range from £100,000 up to £3m. The next closing date for LP applications is May 2017. 

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

Uncovering the past as part of Abbey’s future.

Uncovering the past as part of Abbey’s future.

It’s going to be church business as usual inside Bath Abbey over the coming months – and years – as work starts in earnest on the multi-million pound Footprint Project which will both stabilise and heat the floor and provide new rehearsal and meeting places – plus a visitor experience.


Looking west inside Bath Abbey.

It’s all  thanks to a  grant of nearly £11 million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund – and ‘match’ funding from donors.


Project Director Charles Curnock met me to peer into the sizeable excavation underway outside the Abbey shop on the corner of Abbey Courtyard.


Bath Abbey Footprint Project Director, Charles Curnock.


Charles wanted to reassure church users that – though sections of the interior might be closed off from time to time – it would be business as usual with no curtailment of musical events – in addition to church services – either. The doors of the Abbey remain open to its visitors too.


The excavation outside the Abbey shop.

I wanted to know what digging had discovered so far.


You can find out more about the Footprint Project via


Your place on the Bath map!

Your place on the Bath map!

Got a wonderful black and white photograph of your great grandmother standing in a car-free street in downtown Twerton or a shot – you found in a car boot sale – of people boarding a steam train at Bath Spa Station?

While you may treasure such images in an album you keep at home, now comes the chance to share it with the world in a wonderful new facility that gives you the opportunity of stamping your own community identity onto an on-line facility that records the changing face of places like Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


The Know Your Place website.

Go on line via   and you will pick up the following information about an Heritage Lottery Funded project you can really get involved in.

‘Know Your Place is a digital heritage mapping project to help you to explore your neighbourhood online through historic maps, collections and linked information.


The website allows you to access maps of Bath and district spanning several centuries.

Know Your Place – West of England covers Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the former Avon area. It will provide unprecedented online access to historical maps, onto which users can add information about their local area, building a rich and diverse community map of local heritage for everyone.

The project runs until June 2017 and will provide comprehensive cover of the modern counties of South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and Somerset.


A screen grab from Know Your Place showing an old map of Bath and each green spot opens to reveal pictures of that particular place at a particular time in history.

The project has been awarded £379,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with generous match-funding and in-kind support from local authorities and heritage groups in the region, including £5,000 match-funding from the lead partner, South Gloucestershire Council.’


Local historian Andrew Hill who has been setting up the B&NES part of the on-line website ‘Know Your Place.’

Here in Bath, local writer and historian Andrew Hill has been busy uploading images on to the site from the vast archives of the Museum of Bath at Work.


Stuart Burroughs – Director of The Museum of Bath at Work.

It’s where l met him to find out more about his efforts – and how the people of Bath and North East Somerset can get involved.

A chance also to chat to Stuart Burroughs who is the Director of the Museum of Bath at Work.

Forgive the shaky camerawork but – with space at a premium in the museum archive – the camera is being hand-held!

The website address that will bring you straight to the B&NES section is

Andrew Hill is also the author of a book that takes an in-depth look at Bath’s retail history by exploring  the rise and fall of one of its most famous commercial enterprises Cater, Stoffell and Fortt.


‘Biscuits, Banquets and Bollinger’ – by Andrew Hill.

The Museum of Bath at Work’s website is


Anonymous donor boosts Pools fund.

Anonymous donor boosts Pools fund.

Everyone involved with the Cleveland Pools Trust in Bath has been given a huge boost when an anonymous donor recently contacted the charity and made a commitment of £100,000 towards the appeal.

This is a big step towards the Trust’s goal of raising £600,000 in matched funding before January next year. An appeals board has been set up to help reach the target, which will trigger the release of the second phase of £3.7m from HLF Stage 2. This means for every £1 donated by the public the HLF match it with more than £6.IMG_6447

The family, who wish to remain anonymous , said “We are very excited about helping the Trust make this historic facility available to the public again.  This project combines so many things that our family enjoys — outdoor swimming, social history, architectural heritage, and the City of Bath.”

Ann Dunlop, Chair of Cleveland Pools Trust said “This came from completely out of the blue. We are absolutely thrilled by this contribution from a local family and we will do all that we can to ensure Bath residents and visitors can once again enjoy outdoor swimming in a glorious heritage setting.”

Plans for the future design and function of the Georgian open air pools were recently on public view in Bath City centre, when the public was encouraged to give their input.

About the Cleveland Pools

The 200 year-old site, which is near the centre of Bath by the River Avon, is soon to become one of Britain’s most extraordinary outdoor swimming locations once again.  Closed for swimming in 1984, a Trust was formed in 2005 by local campaigners to save the Pools.  In 2015 they won a development grant of £377,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to develop their current scheme.  Subject to a successful Stage 2 £3.7million application construction will commence in 2017 with an opening in 2018.  

The money will be used to restore the crumbling pool to its former glory, transforming it into a stunningly beautiful heritage swimming space that will be heated over the summer and open all-year-round for the use of locals and visitors alike.  The Pools will be available as a hire venue for small weddings, art and drama workshops, school visits, water safety training and children’s parties.

A splash pool will be installed for younger children, and refreshments sold to visitors whether swimming or just wishing to sit and enjoy the sublime surroundings of this little heritage spot few people even knew existed. 

For further information contact