23rd April 2017 @ 10:30 am
Ashton Court Bristol
Full details in February’s Soft Top Hard Top article
The Ashton Court Estate was once the gracious home of the Smyth family, and is now a historic park just 10 minutes from the centre of Bristol. It covers 850 acres of woods and grasslands in total, designed by Humphry Repton.
Visit the Ashton Court Estate to discover the magnificent old oak trees and see the deer graze in an estate that first became a deer park over 600 years ago.
On the estate’s higher ground, there are two 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf courses, with stunning views across the city. Orienteering and mountain biking are catered for with special trails, and there is plenty of open space for family games and picnics. There is also a miniature railway, which is open at selected weekends throughout the year. For the more adventurous, Ashton Court is one of the few places you can take off in a hot air balloon or discover the unusual sport of Disc Golf.
And once you’ve finished exploring, stop in to one of the two on-site cafés to enjoy scrummy local cakes, freshly prepared sandwiches and a range of drinks and snacks.With seating indoor and out and space for the kids to play, the dog friendly cafés can be enjoyed year-round
History of Ashton Court Mansion The first owners of Ashton Court Estate, as we know it, was the family “de Lions”, originally from Lyons in France. In 1495, the estate changed hands and was bought by John Smyth, a wealthy merchant from Bristol. However, he never took up residence at Ashton Court Estate and it was the later Smyths who developed the estate to its present appearance. Thomas Smyth, MP built the new south facade in 1632 and Sir John Hugh Smyth built the Neo-Gothic North West Wing in 1770 after demolishing the medieval domestic wing. Clever marriages, land investments, mining and overseas trading secured the estate for over 400 years in the hands of the Smyths. They became one of the wealthiest families in the area and were far away from the original hard-working merchant John Smyth, living in Small Street, Bristol. During the 1st World War, Ashton Court Estate was used as a military hospital and in WWII Ashton Court Estate was acquired by the War Office as a transit camp. In 1946, Dame Esme Smyth, the last resident of Ashton Court Estate, died and the mansion and estate remained abandoned for 13 years before it was purchased by Bristol City Council in 1959. Since 1959, we’ve restored sections of the mansion. More recently, Ashton Court Estate benefited from an extensive landscape restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Bristol City Council. So step inside the mansion and experience the days of splendour and extravagance at one time only enjoyed by Bristol’s wealthy upper classes.
This event is free to members See Soft Top Hard Top for details
Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashton_Court