Lawrence Weston Moor

On Tuesday, 2nd July, I needed to go on a run from home in Henleaze, so I decided to go out to Lawrence Weston Moor to see if anything had been done about the blocked paths, which I had last reported to the Rights of Way department on 3rd June 2008. (Nothing had been done of course!) I found a suitable route around Canford Park and the cemetery to Coombe Dingle and over Kingsweston Hill into Lawrence Weston.

When I went down Aylminton Walk towards Bank Leaze Primary School, I found a bunch of boys, who were playing a game with bikes or scooters rolling down the slope from the school gate. They were curious about me, which well they might have been as I was dressed in ancient orienteering kit in anticipation of nettles. I asked them about the path around the playing field. They did not know it existed, though they were standing next to it, and I suppose it must have been blocked for most of their lives. I noticed someone had used it as convenient spot for fly tipping. One boy thought I might be able to get through, but I knew that there was another route via the local nature reserve, so I headed down Atwood Drive toward Lawrence Weston Road.

On the corner, there was a gaggle of older boys and girls standing around chatting, but I thought nothing of it. A few moments later, I came across a fair haired youth in dark clothes running towards me at a nice even pace. I nodded at him as a fellow “athlete”  and noticed that his clothing was not that of a typical runner, but then not everybody can afford specialist running kit.

It was only then that I noticed a pall of black smoke rolling across the fields. I came across the inevitable red car burning away, just past the entrance to the nature reserve. The horn started to blare as I approached and I noticed a dog walker with a mobile phone in hand calling the police. I thought of adding my voice to his, but it was clear that even if I could have picked out the “athlete” in a police line up, there were ample witnesses to swear that had never left the corner of Atwood Road.

So, I hopped over the huge rock that had been strategically placed to stop young “athletes” from taking motor bikes into the nature reserve. Inside I found the remains of one bike that had managed to get in. It appeared to have been there for some time. Evidently no-one is responsible for removing such things. The whole reserve reeked of neglect. Substantial footbridges and gates showed that money had once been spent here, but there was no sign that the reserve was being managed. The gates were overgrown; but I had no need to use any of them as there were open field gates beside them.

The problem seems to be that every effort is being made to keep “the wrong sort of people” out of the reserve, and no effort at all is being made to get people onto it. It is about as different from other local nature reserves like Troopers Hill as it is possible to imagine. There, my wife and I met children who were in the reserve and were able to tell us which was the best path across it. Teenagers flew kites and talk together in the branches of trees.

On Lawrence Weston Moor, my only companions were a buzzard and a couple of woodpigeons. Unblocking the paths that give access to the moor would certainly help, as it would allow people to circulate through the area, but it is probably more important to find ways to connect the local “athletes” to the moor.

Is there a Woodwosish solution?

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One Response to “Lawrence Weston Moor”

  1. gaveller Says:

    Amazing how things develop!

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