Here is an engraving from 1819, perhaps somewhat fanciful and suggestive of an inevitable landslide.
Nineteenth century property deeds refer to Camden Lawn below the Crescent as a well-kept sloping lawn with unhindered views up to the Crescent and down to Hedgemead Park and the city beyond.
The twentieth century position in 1910 shows a steep meadow like area with a few ornamental trees
The twenty first century situation got pretty parlous and uncared for. The ‘Wild Camdenites’ brought pigs in to clear some of the area and sowed the seeds for a wild flower meadow.
The CRA, with willing labour waning to maintain the wild meadow, negotiated with the Council, the land owners, to find another solution. Cometh the hour, cometh the man: John Long, new resident and committee member, took the problem on and now we have the…
Friends of Camden Meadow
‘Friends of Camden Meadow’ was established in 2021, out of the Camden Residents’ Association, and with the support of Bath & North East Somerset Council and our two local Councillors, Tom Davies and Richard Samuel. It is an open group for local people who would like to be part of the vision and long term management of this historically important piece of land at the gateway to our Camden neighbourhood.
Vision – and what’s motivating us
First and foremost, our aim is to care for this land. For it to be clear and visible that someone is looking after it. That it is not sad and forgotten.
It will be a step by step thing. And it will build on the work of others who have gone before us (see History).
Initially we are simply cutting back some of the laurel and hazel, to reduce their height and dominance, and to open the land up. This will restore some of the incredible views across the city and Avon Valley, and let much needed sunlight in to the meadow floor.
It’s not our intention to see the land turned back into a pristine lawn. That would be almost impossible now anyway, and there is no shortage of neatly lawned crescents in Bath. But we do want to tame the current overgrowth, restore and expand the meadow, and make room for a little more diversity – creating spaces where more native plant species can take root and thrive, and where more wildlife (we know there are birds, bats, badgers, foxes, to name but a few) can co-exist and flourish.
We’ll do a little proactive, targeted planting too. More native wildflower seeds to an expanded meadow area. And we’re liking the idea of adding a smattering of apple trees here and there (Camden Cider anyone?!).
One step at a time.