Leigh Woods - Topography

Topography

At the southern end of the wood is Nightingale Valley (one of several thus named in the area), a dry valley which is cut into the side of the gorge, and is on the Monarch's Way. It drops from nearly opposite the north gate of Ashton Court to the River Avon beside the Western buttress of the suspension bridge. Stokeleigh Camp is a hill fort, thought to have been occupied from 3BC to 1AD and also in the Middle Ages, which is on a promontory, bounding the north flank of the valley.

Proceeding north, down the Avon, there are a series of limestone and mineral quarries, now disused.

At the northern end of the woods is Paradise Bottom. This is part of the Leigh Court Estate and was part of the ground laid out by Humphrey Repton for Philip John Miles. Some of the first plantings of the Giant Redwood and the Weymouth Pine amongst other "exotics" imported to the UK were made here by Sir William Miles in the 1860s. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries this had an important celestine quarry and mineral line to a dock on the Avon; both are now derelict. The area has of recent years been restored as an Arboretum.

The Portishead Railway runs along the bottom of the woods. Between 1928 and 1932, the area had its own railway station, Nightingale Valley Halt.

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