History

In 1184 King, Henry II decreed “….that no penalties should be imposed on the monks of St.James Benedictine Priory for assarts at Ashley…….” (i.e.they were encouraged to grub up trees and bushes for agriculture in the area)

In 1813 Landowner, Jane Smyth wrote “..a person of the name of Thos.Woolford a Butcher in Bristol has enclosed a piece of waste ground in the lane leading from Baptist Mill to the Glass Mill which has much contracted a driving way from a field of mine called Netherways Hill inasmuch as to prevent a loaded waggon with corn or hay to be taken through…”In 1891 Engineer, Charles Richardson wrote “After passing through Narroways Hill cutting, the line crosses the ‘Boiling Wells’ valley on a 50ft embankment, over a flat, swampy ground, which, on trial, I found to be made up of lias slip-clay, washed down there by the brook….This ground evidently could not carry a heavy embankment….I therefore, as a precautionary measure, had a wide trench cut down ten feet deep, under the toe of each slope, and the red marl from the adjoining Narroways Hill cutting then run into these trenches and the lower ten feet of the embankment to form a foundation…”

In 1922 Writer, Arthur Salmon wrote “When the train emerges from the Montpelier tunnel, it runs first through a deep cutting and then along an embankment, once a yellowish earth colour, have for many years been thick with grass, and boys, in spite of all prohibitions, love to scramble about them. Sometimes in Summer the grass is fired, and the green crumbles away before a low red flame that eats it…for a long time after, unless rain soon comes, there are great black patches; but the grass grows better for it in the end”

In 1997 The Bristol Evening Post editorial said “Bristol folk really do care about their environment. That was proved at St.Werburghs, where they campaigned to save open land at Narroways Junction from possible development. Now the city council is to buy it-with money raised locally. The area is to become an official nature reserve-a green oasis that will be valued for generations to come.”

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