About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Midsummer on Kelston Roundhill

Even the most successful poets struggle to make a living out of their writing, at least not without supplementing their income in some way. But poetry does sometimes open doors to new experiences.

On Friday night it was a gate that had its rusted-up lock sawn off so that we could enter the copse on top of Kelston Roundhill for a bout of poetting and storytelling. And very special it was too.

We'd gathered a little over half way up the hill at the Old Barn, at the invitation of the current Bard of Bath, Conor Whelan. We were a bit early, having had an easy drive from Bristol through comparatively sparse traffic. 

We whiled away the time studying the views and trying to get our bearings, while fielding calls from less fortunate friends who'd trusted to their sat navs and were now having to reverse down narrow and awkwardly cambered lanes. 

There but for the grace of all Sun Gods everywhere, thought I, having a swig of red wine. 

Eventually everyone arrived and we headed up the remainder of the hill. 

No one can be sure of the historical significance of the hill. When the trees were planted at the end of the 18th century, it was claimed to be the site of a tumulus or barrow.  If so, any evidence would have been greatly disturbed by the planting. 

There are no springs up there, so no one would have lived there, but it would have made an excellent lookout. 

It's been suggested that there might even have been a temple up there. (Perhaps like the one on Brent Knoll?) 

Notions of spirituality soon gave way to wheezing and puffing. Rather foolishly, we'd allowed the Bard to lead the way, and he was a lot younger than many of us. 

Looking north-west to the Severn and Wales beyond

He was still apparently heading in the wrong direction when we reached the top, parched and gasping for breath.

Round the other side of the hill, there was an impressive view of Bath, to the south and east. A hot air balloon drifted over from the direction of Bristol. 

After a little fiddling with the gate, the bard led us into the middle of the copse.
It was all a bit exciting and magical. You wouldn't have been that surprised to bump into Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed. 

And then it was time for poems and stories, which is when the enchantment really started.

By and by, the sun began to set, and it grew chilly for those who'd come without the benefit of a jacket or a bardic cloak. 

Just time to hear from the farmer who'd worked on the land all his life, and who read a poem he'd written about the Old Barn - how it had fallen into disrepair as the land use had changed from cultivation to pasture, and then found a new lease of life as a meeting place. 

Then it began to get a bit psychedelic, and we had to get back for the dog, so we picked our way down the hill in the last of the sunlight ...

... and home via the chipper in Cadbury Heath. 


  1. What a beautifully poetic capture in words and photos of what appears to have been a magical evening. Well done, Deborah, Conor, and friends!