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The Old School Field

Opposite the Church is a small park which is on the site of the old primary school playing field.  In the park there is children’s play equipment including swings, infant swings and a multiplay climbing frame, together with a timber activity trail.  There is also a boules pitch, a basketball net, a timber gazebo/shelter and several seats and picnic benches.

The park has views over the fields to Home Farm and has a specimen Hornbeam tree with a seat around it as a distinctive feature.  It is popular as a place to relax and have a picnic.  There is a public footpath from the church through the school field to Home Farm and on to Leigh Woods.  The field serves as an overflow car park for services in the church.

The field is the setting for the annual village festival in September and the popular Annual Fireworks display both organised by the Abbots Leigh Civic Society.

Betty Lanham writes: the School Field was nearly lost to us.  The school was closed by Avon in July 1986, and remained empty for a while.  Then one day the Chairman of the Parish Council told me that he had been asked by Avon if the village had any use for it, as they had granted planning permission for two houses on the school site, and were considering 6 or 8 on the field.  He said he had told them the village had no use for it “What would we do with a field?” he said. “Every-one has their own garden.” 

I was horrified.  It was the only opportunity we had for a communal space for the village.  I formed a small group of like-minded people, and we split the village between us and approached everyone for their ideas and financial support to obtain legal advice.  We raised nearly £1,200!  The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was extremely helpful.  It was no small job to take on the County Council, but we succeeded, and thank goodness we have the field for use today.  North Somerset own it, and the Parish Council has a 125 year peppercorn lease and maintain it.

Betty Lanham lives in Church Road, is a Founder Member and former Chairman of Abbots Leigh Civic Society, and has been a Parish Councillor, a Tree Warden and a Warden in Leigh Woods.