Resources

Mediascapes:

You can try out the mediascapes yourself. To download any of the mediascapes, right click on the following links, and save the file to your desktop. Install the mscapers software on your PC.You will need a GPS-enabled mobile device with Windows Mobile and mscape player 2.6 installed.Visit mscapers.com for guidance.

Soundlines Mediascape for Sand Point

Starting from Sand Point carpark, this is the mediascape featuring music made and used for the hilltop walks by school students during the project.

Sand Point Experience mediascape

This was used for community guests at the Soundlines Premiere, Worle School, and includes students' music and animations, following the contours of Sand Point but remapped to the school grounds.

Strata's Connect and Create mediascape

This version features the Soundlines work re- mapped to Millennium and Anchor Squares, central Bristol. It was made for use by participants in a Soundlines workshop with Strata at the Create and Connect conference, @Bristol with BBC Blast.

 

History and Stories:

STORIES ABOUT SAND POINT
We used these stories for the Soundlines project to create mini-dramas, and as inspiration for animations and music.
Strata Collective would like to thank North Somerset museum for allowing access to archive material.

Sandpoint was acquired as a gift to the NT in 1964 and is an SSSI.
The promontory was once an island that has now become ‘tied’ to the mainland by a broad plateau of alluvial silt.
The levels at this point may have been salt marsh, not drained or reclaimed until the mediaeval period or later.
Since the 1950s the northern end of the bay has become overgrown with spartina grass, originally planted to protect a tributary of the Bristol Channel further upstream.
A line drawn between Sand Point and Lavernock Point in South Wales marks the lower limit of the Severn Estuary and the start of the Bristol Channel.

 

THE TSUNAMI.

A devastating 1607 flood affected the Bristol Channel in January 1607.

The breaking of the sea bank at Burnham-On-Sea led to some 30 villages being utterly inundated, and their cattle destroyed, and men, women and children besides. The accounts state that 28 people were drowned at Huntspill and 26 at Brean, a death toll that was repeated in many other villages.
"An inundation of the sea water by overflowing and breaking down the Sea banks; happened in this Parish of Kingstone-Seamore, and many others adjoining; by reason whereof many Persons were drown'd and much Cattle and Goods, were lost: the water in the Church was five feet high and the greatest part lay on the ground about ten days. " (from a plaque in Kingston Seymour church.)

The idea that the 1607 flood was due to a tsunami was first put forward in a scientific paper published in 2002.
A number of historical documents exist that describe the event and its aftermath. An area from Barnstaple in north Devon, up the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary to Gloucester, then along the South Wales coast around to Cardigan was affected, some 570 km of coastline.

The coastal population was devastated with at least 2,000 fatalities according to one of the contemporary sources.

THE COTTAGE

As you walk up the main steps from the car park and look down on the public toilet building, you can see the remains of a garden wall. There was once a cottage here, and a number of the plants growing beside the pathway are escapes form the cottage garden.

 

SWALLOWS, AND OTHER BIRDS.

The steep side of Sand Point is called Swallow cliff.
It runs down to the sea, looking west towards the Atlantic Ocean. You can imagine the swallows gaining landfall here, or gathering to migrate. You often see ravens flying from these rocks.

The peninsular is an important headland, with it’s woodland and scrub habitats, where migratory birds stop to feed and roost in autumn and winter. You can see willow warblers, chiffchaffs, and black caps.
The Bristol Channel has the second largest tidal range in the world and this exposes huge mudflats and sand banks in the area.
Migrating birds gather here. Sand Bay is known for its unique character and is designated a SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest) due to its international importance for wintering and passage wading birds; SPA (Special Protected Area). Because of its large overwintering bird population; SAC (Special Area of Conservation) for its saltmarsh; and a RAMSAR (Wetland of International Importance).

ROBBERS.

On the highest part of Sand Hill there is a Bronze Age barrow – the tomb of a chieftain from four thousand years ago.
Chieftains were often buried with lots of treasure.
We know that some people have robbed this treasure. We don’t know when this happened.

VOLCANO.

Long ago when all the hills were being formed, a crack appeared in the sea floor.
A volcano erupted and spilled hot ash and lava over Sand Point. The volcano was somewhere to the SW, sandwiched between limestone, a vent in the sea floor issuing fluid basalt.
There were various periods of eruption, ash, lava, with times in between when the sea, full of strange creatures, came back and covered the new volcanic rocks.
Finally, hot lava poured out and turned into huge lumps of rock. This ‘tuff’ can be seen on the foreshore below Swallow Cliff.
Above this you can also see a raised beach from before the last ice age. Lots of geologists come to Sand Point to study these interesting things.

SHRIMP HUT

The Shrimping Hut was built in Edwardian times and used up until the 1930's - at low tide the poles used to support the shrimp nets can be seen. The shrimpers used to cook their shrimps before selling them around Weston.

VIKINGS
Flat Holm and Steep Holm both take their names from the Old Norse word for an ‘island in an estuary’. These islands, so close to Sand Point, were used as Viking refuges – sheltered stopping places with fresh water.

ROMANS
The Romans were certainly active on Sand Point. Over ninety pottery sherds have been found, and someone found a coin found under public bench, dating from the time of Valens (364 – 378 AD).
In North Somerset museum there is a very delicate and beautiful Roman shale bracelet, which was also found on the point.
Human skulls from the Roman era found at nearby Worlebury camp show signs of violent deaths!

THE WATCHTOWER.

Not so long ago, the Bristol Channel was full of ships in full sail.
Not all the ships were friendly – there were invaders, pirates, and smugglers.
The peninsula of Sand Point juts out into the Bristol Channel, giving the land party a clear view of vessels approaching from all directions. The point was clearly visible from inland, too, and was therefore used as a signal station.

The watchtower and signal station was built on Castle Mound – some people think this was used by the Romans; others say it is later and was used to watch for the Spanish Armada.
A map from Henry VIII’s reign shows a landing at Banwell River to the northand a gun tower on the crest of Middle Hope.

SMUGGLERS’ TUNNEL.

Stories tell us that smugglers used to land kegs of rum at Sand Point and hide them in the roof of Worle church.
Some folk thought there was a tunnel to help the smugglers hide.
A group of scouts camping on Sand Point in the 1930’s discovered an entrance to a tunnel on the last night of their camp, but ‘were made to fill it in.’

A GRIM DISCOVERY.

During World War 2 there was a secret naval establishment at St Thomas’ Head.
This is not far from the site of Woodspring Priory.
Some men were ordered to start digging the foundations for a new hut.
They had not dug down far when they discovered two human skeletons – probably mediaeval in origin. The skeletons were stored in a military hut whilst Bristol University was contacted. The police took the skulls in case an inquest was needed.
One superstitious serviceman took the skeletons and buried them..... leading to the story of the headless bodies. As yet they have not been found!

WOODSPRING PRIORY

William de Courtenay founded Woodspring Priory in 1210 to atone for the murder of Thomas a Becket.
The priory was a small one but it flourished in the fifteenth century, when the tower and nave of the church, the infirmary and a great barn were built of a beautiful golden stone. In 1536, the priory was suppressed and the church, turned into a house.
At the far end of the peninsular (Middle Hope) towards St Thomas’ head there are traces of prehistoric, mediaeval and later field systems.

IRON AGE HILLFORT
The remains of Iron Age fortifications can be seen on the seaward side of the trig point. This fort may have not been occupied but may be more for ‘show’ – to warn off seaborne marauders!

 

All text, images, projects, are copyright of Strata Collective. December 2008