We visit the hidden gem ancient woodland near Bristol with pools and waterfalls

The pools date back to the Middle Ages

Located a mile from Clifton Suspension Bridge, in Abbot's Leigh, the tranquil Abbots Pool and Woodland is a hidden gem on the edge of Bristol, in North Somerset.

At the heart of the woodland are a series of ponds which date back to the Middle Ages when they were used by the abbots and monks from St Augustine Abbey in Bristol to provide fresh fish whilst they were staying in their rest-house nearby.

In the 1920s, the woodland and pools came to the possession of tobacco magnate Walter Melville Wills who had the area landscaped by James Pulman & Sons.

A small stone bridge as well as much of the stonework around the dam and cascade was constructed out of Pulhamite - a combination of concrete and local stone which is also used in the gardens of royal residences such as Sandringham and Buckingham Palace.

After the death of Walter Melville Wills in the 1940s,  the pools and the majority of the woodland surrounding the Pool were passed onto the North Somerset Council (NSC). They manage the area alongside Abbots Pool Volunteers and the Abbots Leigh Wildlife Group.

The site received the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status from Natural England in 2012.

The area is home to an abundance of wildlife including deer, bats and birds.

Here are 22 photos from our visit to Abbots Pool:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.