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The Friends of Cock Road Ridge

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Introduction

Cock Road Ridge is owned by South Gloucestershire Council and is located on the eastern edge of Bristol in Kingswood. As the name suggests it comprises a ridge of land, running between Mount Hill and Cadbury Heath. It is approximately one kilometre in length.

Where are we?

The bulk of the area is a gradual south-east-facing slope. The majority of the site comprises grassland and scrub, but there are areas of thicket, woodland, two ponds, hedgerows and formally planted specimen trees. The site has a number of public footpaths running through it, although access is available over the whole area. There are a number of vehicular access points to allow maintenance machinery onto the site. There is a wheel chair and footpath access point at the north-east end and a footpath access point leading from Wraxhall Road.

The old Oak

The friends group was formed in 1993 when a few of us got together with David Morrison of the Kingswood District Council to try to form protection of Cock Road Ridge and its adjacent areas from future negative development.

To this end we applied to the County of Avon for our first grant and obtained 125. This was used for Spruce pine and timber stakes for new planting at the Wraxall Road entrance. This small success encouraged us to request grant aid for a management plan for the area. This could then be adopted by the council as a practical way of managing the area.

The money was obtained and the consultant company was appointed in 1995 to make, 'best use' of the area under our guidelines. The subsequent report was approved by the council in September 1995 and used for several seasons. One of the ponds is situated in the south-westerly corner of the Ridge the other pond is situated in the Community Garden. There are some areas of hedgerow on the southern most side of the ridge and along the north east boundary(Wraxhall Road). A number of specimen trees have been formally planted. On the north-east a ring of Scots Pine have been planted and on the south-west end are four areas of formal planting. Ash, Oak, Sycamore and Horse Chestnut form one area, a ring of twelve oaks form another and a mixture of Plain trees, Silver Birch, Horse Chestnut, Red Oak, Sorbus, Variegated Maple, Beech, Alder and Lime form the third group. Behind the bench a semi-circle of around ten Silver Birch trees have been planted.

Rabbits on the Ridge

On the 8th May 1995 a local lady, Miss Harris who was also very concerned about the threat to the Ridge and surrounding area, kindly donated 200 to us as a way of supporting our actions. This money has been used to purchase a very substantial timber bench, erected on the slope above the old oak by the ring of oaks at the highest part of the ridge.

Last year (2000) the friends group, BTCV, the council and Barclays Bank got together to protect and enhance part of the Cock Road Ridge site.

This was by Kingsfield Farm behind the new cinema and would be called the Community Garden. A new pond, hedging, tree planting, seat and a mosaic were planned. Much of the work has been completed and talks took place about the shaping of the log seat, which has now been completed. This has been a very successful joint working project and its benefit to the houses in Tyler Close and the local wildlife will become more apparent in future years.

It was thought that Cock Road took its name from cock fighting, as being in character with the villagers in early times. It would appear, however, that it took its name from a practice of keeping narrow clearances or roadways in forests for the purpose of trapping woodcocks.

Next Workday: Saturday 7th May 2005, 10.00am by Oak Tree Pond. Next Meeting;7pm Cross Keys Public House Thursday 5th May 2005.