Sharon Newton (neé Ubank, Stafford) was a well known local historian and writer of a number of books including Ring of Rooks and Landscapes of the Past, which focus on Little Stoke, Bradley Stoke and the surrounding area; a part of Bristol that Sharon knew and loved so well. Her last book, Saxonpath, delves into the history of an ancient path which once crossed the fields now occupied by Bradley Stoke, however much of the path still remains, despite being fragmented by housing and new roads.
How was Saxonpath rediscovered?
Several years ago, Jackie Bowater- a local resident surveyed the landscape on her doorstep as part of a degree course. She noticed that the hedgerows that accompanied this footpath seemed to be very old. They were rich in trees and shrubs, deep, dense and often double.
She employed Hooper’s law in order to establish the age of these hedgerows. This law is based upon the observation that, as a hedge matures, it becomes more diverse in woody species. Jackie followed the recommended surveying technique which entailed measuring out random thirty metre stretches of hedgerow and then counted within a section indicated a century of that hedge’s existence. The results proved to be remarkably consistent. Most sections yielded nine woody species which suggested that these hedgerows had been in existence for nine hundred years. That would take the origins back to the Anglo Saxon era, the time before the Norman conquest of 1066.
Discover the fascinating history of the path and Sharon's part in the preserving some of its historical hedges and trees. Walk the path for yourself and discover Bradley Stoke's hidden flora and fauna, and stories of people past and present.
Saxonpath is being published posthumously to commemorate and celebrate the life and work of Sharon Newton (neé Ubank) who is sadly no longer with us. Her memory will be honoured in the local area as South Gloucestershire council, with the agreement of her family, will be naming a new road in Little Stoke off Collins Avenue, as Sharon Ubank Close.
27th September, 2019
Saxonpath is available to download free of charge. The only exception is Amazon, which currently charges 99p for the Kindle edition. It should hopefully be available free of charge on Amazon shortly. In the meantime, if you would like a free Kindle edition or other ebook format, you can download a .mobi or .epub file from Smashwords. Alternatively, please download the PDF using the button below.
Using the guided walks in the book, you can discover the fascinating history of the path and Sharon's part in the preserving some of its historical hedges and trees. Enjoy discovering Bradley Stoke's hidden flora and fauna, and stories of people past and present. You can also follow the path using the handy Saxonpath map link below.
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