The Late 20th Century

In the 1960s, HARRY STOKE DRIFT MINE was established. However, it did not prove economic to run and only operated for a few years. The spoil heap was established on the current site of the MoD car park.

BRISTOL POLYTECHNIC (now the University of the West of England) purchased part of the land belonging to Wallscourt Farm at this time.
HEWLETT PACKARD purchased the remainder of the site in 1981. In 1984, the last farmer, Mr Campbell Hill left. The new owners began to build.

The farm building at Wallscourt now belonged to Hewlett Packard. They recognised its value and refurbished it so that it still possesses its original appearance although it is now used as a staff amenity centre. Sadly, the outbuildings became unsafe and nearly all of them had to be demolished. But the three buildings that formed the tips of the original ‘E’ shape were retained. The wagon archway became the Northgate museum, housing, amongst other artefacts, one of the turntables that was used by the cattle shed railway, the grain conveyor, a horse plough and a water pump.

During the 1970s, Wallshut Wood, which had flourished for at least 600 years, was destroyed to make way for a supermarket. The supermarket operated for a decade or two.

Mapmakers in the 1970s failed to record the presence of Splatts Abbey Wood and aerial surveys also overlooked it - another strange example of its tendency to disappear.

During the 1990s, the land came into the possession of the MOD. Stanley Farm was renovated and converted to a training centre. A management plan for Splatts Abbey Wood was funded - it was now definitely in existence but badly grazed by goats and horses. A corner of the wood was removed for underground cables, but the remainder was fenced to protect what remained.

To give today’s visitor a sense of perspective: -

Wallshut Wood existed where Big W now stands, spreading into the car park in front of it and over the adjacent railway line. The stores on the other side of this car park stand on the field that was known as Sourmead. Part of the MoD site covers Longmead, a narrow field that separated Splatts Abbey Wood from Wallshut Wood. The land between Splatts Abbey Wood and the southern entrance to the MoD complex was once Plats Patch. It is strange now to imagine how it must have looked, for the area has changed radically during the last few decades.