Monday, 12 March 2012

A Walk around Drew's Pond Nature Reserve in Devizes.

The group admires the flowering Blackthorn tree.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Devizes is "Drew's Pond" a nature reserve nestling in a small dip in the hills.  There are several springs here, and a large pond has formed, which, during the last century, fed the streams that drove the many watermills in the area.  It is a verdant, tree covered place of great beauty, where the birds sing and wild flowers and ferns bedeck the ground.  At bluebell time, a carpet of blue, with yellow celendine, covers the woodland.  Part of this wood was once the burial ground of the nearby "Roundway Hospital,"  a huge institution which has now been converted into apartments and houses.  Green Lane hospital was built nearby to replace some of the psychiatic services onced housed in the old asylum. 
Many former hospital staff and patients were buried here in unnamed graves.  In 1993 the Bishop of Salisbury gave permission for 800 trees to be planted  as a memorial to the dead.  At this time of year the snowdrops are blooming, soon to be followed by the bluebells and celendine.  An old drover's road from Potterne to Devizes runs through the lower half of the reserve, and a small ale house once stood along the track, so that the drovers's could buy themselves a pint on their travels.  Cheers!
Tombstone marking an unknown grave.  In the last century many woman who had babies out of wedlock, found themselves locked up in asylums.  Some spent their whole lives hospitalized.
Rangebourne Mill, one of many water mills that were once driven by water collected in Drew's Pond.

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