Gordano Open Days

Weekends 8th-9th and 15th-16th of September 2018

All venues are open to the public - entry is free



Includes education, art, entertainment and cultural activities
organised as part of the national Heritage Open Days program

Organised by William Shier 01275 817017   mail@Gordano-Open-Days.com


St Mary's Church

Church Lane, Portbury, Somerset, BS20 7TR

Weekend of September 8th and 9th Only
Sat-Sun   11:00am-18:00pm

The ancient Manor of Portbury is one of the oldest settlements in Britain. It was in existence before Portishead and Bristol and was a Roman port for exporting silver & lead from the Mendips.

The Norman 12th century church of St Mary the Virgin is probably much older since it stands on ground that has been sacred for many centuries with the discovery and re-erection of the Neolithic Standing Stone and the Saxon and Romano British burial sites. St Mary's Church has some of the oldest tomb stones in the country. The oldest dates back to 1584 and was a former altar stone. Others from the early 1600's are kept within the church itself.

Portbury church has had links with Bristol Cathedral since 1150's when it was given the patronage of St Augustine's Abbey built in 1148 by Robert Fitzharding. (later to become Bristol Cathedral ). Fitzharding was given the title Lord Berkeley by Henry II.

The Lords of Berkeley continued their patronage of the church for almost three hundred years. They were responsible for the building of the Berkeley Chapel.

The stone tower was built on the site of an older Saxon one probably in mid 1400's by the Berkeleys. It houses six bells of which the oldest dates to 1610. They are still fully functional and are rung regularly.

The church is Grade 1 listed and is maintained to a very high standard. The museum room in the Church will be available for Gordano Open Days. Guides will be available to show guest around each day.

Tea and Coffee, Cakes and Ploughmanís Lunches will be available. There will be an Art Show displaying the works of local artist and a Craft Work Shop encouraging children to participate.

The Priory

Station Road, Portbury,Somerset, BS20 7TN

Sat   11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   11:00am-22:00pm

The Priory in Portbury is a country pub oozing rural charm and rustic character.

The Priory is a landmark for travellers from Bristol, the M5 and beyond. A footpath from Prior's Wood passes the pub to The Mount and Windmill Hill. The bluebells in Prior's Wood are quite spectacular in bloom.

Constructed in 1822 and called the Priory Hotel, this building has spent all its life serving food and drink - and some of it saving lives. Underground passages have been found which link the Priory Hotel to Portbury Monastery, suggesting that the monks would have used the premises to hide from persecution.

Self guided tours will be available to explain the history of the building.

Black Horse Inn

Clevedon Lane, Clapton in Gordano, BS20 7RH

Sat   11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   12:00pm-21:30pm

The Black Horse at Clapton in Gordano is one of the most unspoilt Inns in Norths Somerset. The building dates from the 14th century around the same time as the local church.

The pub was built on the edge of a salt marsh to serve the needs of the local mining community and The Black Horse name is believed to be derived from the pit ponies and the horses that drew the coal to Portishead for shipping. The pit was at the end of the pub garden and it is recorded that in 1797 it produced 240 bushels of coal a day. Around this time the lounge bar doubled as the village lock up and the only window in the room is still barred today.

The Black Horse prides itself on maintaining its unique character and retains many original features with its stone flagged floors, beamed ceilings and large open fireplace which proves a real attraction in the cold winter months. The Black Horse is a time capsule of the perfect West Country pub from a different era preserved so that we can enjoy it today as our ancestors might have enjoyed it. The locals have a special name for it, they call it the Kicker.

Situated in the beautiful Gordano Valley the pub benefits from many nearby walks, including the Gordano Round and a footpath that leads to Cadbury Camp, a 200 year old hillfort with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.

Self guided tours will be available to explain the history of the building and the site between 12:00pm and 16:00pm.

St Michaelís Church

Clevedon Lane, Clapton in Gordano, BS20 7RJ

Sat-Sun   11:00am-18:00pm

14th Century Church for descendants of the Berkley family it was developed over the years into a rural Victorian church. Some of the pews are from medieval times and the building has been recently restored to its former glory. The church is perched atop a hill and the surrounding lawns provide a good vantage point to view the Gordano Valley.

Self guided tours or a guide will be available to explain the history of the Church.

Saturday 8th September between 11:00 and 11:30 George Wyatt will demonstrate bell ringing and offer tuition to those interested.


St Paulís Church

Walton Street, Walton in Gordano, BS21 7AW

Sat-Sun   11:00am-18:00pm

18th Century Village Church. A quaint village church that is the central focus of the Walton community and a place for hikers passing by on the adjacent footpath to stop and rest and meditate. It is quiet and peaceful and has an eloquence of rural simplicity. The church will be open for self guided tours or a guide will be available to explain the history of the building and the site.

St Peter and St Paulís Church

Clevedon Road, Weston-in-Gordano,Somerset, BS20 8PZ

Sat-Sun   11:00am-18:00pm

The Church is designated as a Grade I listed building. It was erected in the 12th Century by Sir Ascelin de Perceval, Earl of Yvery, son of Robert, who accompanied William the Conqueror on his expedition to England.

Richard, the Grandson of Ascelin, was a Commander in King Richardís army on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land. Legend has it that when he lost the use of his right arm in battle he took the reins of his horse in his teeth and continued fighting with his sword in his left hand. Returning from the Crusade with only one arm and one leg he was famously depicted in a Monty Python sketch as the knight who carried on in spite of injuries.

He and his tomb are just opposite the porch door. Although now quite plain, it was originally very ornate with railing and brass covers.

The church is beautifully preserved and maintained. The ancient font at the back of the nave was almost certainly produced in Normandy and shipped across the Channel. The 13th Century stone pulpit, on the south wall, is one of the earliest specimens of the fixed kind and a quaint and interesting feature in the church. The other pulpit, on the north side, is Jacobean. The seating in the chancel is of heavy oak stalls and Miserereís, which are roughly carved. It is thought that these could have come from Portbury Priory and, if so, could date back to the 12th Century. Elements of the east window are the oldest and contain glass that is medieval and depicts a variety of musical instruments.

Saturday 8th & Saturday 15th September from 2 - 5 pm

Derek Vowles will take interested people into the Bell Tower and show them what happens when the bells are being rung and the bell moves almost through a full circle. Children welcomed: he will show them bell-chiming.

Sunday 16th September at 3.30 pm

There will be a Harvest Service with the Little Lights Children's Choir, followed by tea. All are welcome.

Tea and Coffee will be available during certain periods.

The White Hart Inn

Clevedon Road, Weston-in-Gordano,Somerset, BS20 8PU

Sat   11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   12:00am-18:00pm

The Grade II listed 18th century coaching inn on the main Portishead to Clevedon road.

Always the centre of village life and now a recently renovated luxury restaurant with extensive dining facilities in the back garden.

Serves fresh cooked food daily with varying menus from lighter lunches through to weekend evening feasts

St George

Church Road, Easton-in-Gordano, North Somerset, BS20 0NB

Weekend of September 8th and 9th Only
Sat   11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   12:00am-18:00pm

It is known that a church stood on the current site since1230 with records dating back to 1239 and was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. The registers date from 1559.

With the exception of the tower, the church was rebuilt again in 1872.

The church will be open for self guided tours or a guide will be available to explain the history of the building and the site.

The Windmill

58 Nore Road, Portishead, North Somerset BS20 6JZ

Sat   11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   11:00am-22:30pm

The Windmill started its life in the 1830s as a Wind powered mill that was used by local farmers for grinding grains It later became the Hole in One clubhouse as part of a par 77 18-hole golf course designed by Harry Vardon Ė six-time winner of the British Open and winner of the US Open.

The old clubhouse is now a pub and restaurant. It is known for its beautiful views of the Severn and fine dinning. The dinning area looks out over the Severn Estuary and the Severn Crossing bridges.

The Estuary is known as the second highest tide fall in the world and is an area of natural beauty. A self guiding tour will be available to explain the history of the building and the site.

The Royal Inn

Pier Road, Portishead, North Somerset BS20 7HG

Sat    11:00am-23:00pm
Sun   12:00pm-22:30pm

Built in 1830 it was to be the terminus of Brunelís Great Western Railway. Passengers arriving from London or New York could disembark at The Royal and an adjacent steamer pier. With the death of Brunel his plans were not completed and The Royal became a destination holiday hotel. It has now been converted into a pub and high quality restaurant. The walls are covered with period charts and maps and nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs of the old Inn by local photographer Eric Wright.

It features a wide patio area facing onto the Severn and Portbury Docks where patrons can watch the ships come and go from the port. The patio looks out over the old steamer pier and is a short walk from the lock gates for Portishead Marina where portions of the historic lock gate mechanisms are on display. The Marina also features display boards provided by the Gordano Historical Society explaining the history of the Marina when it was a working port and part of the regional electric power generating plants.

A guide will be available to explain the history of the building and the site.

Black Nore Lighthouse

Black Nore Point, Portishead BS20 8GB

Tel: 07802 615123

Sat-Sun   11:00am-18:00pm

19th Century Cast Iron and Steel Lighthouse. Located on a picturesque point on the Severn Estuary and next to the Portishead to Clevedon coastal footpath. It is a fine example of leading edge technology as used in 1894. Although no longer operational the unique architecture of cast iron, wrought iron and mild steel makes an interesting study when viewed from the footpath.

A guide will be available to explain the history of the structure and the site.

Access to the Lighthouse is by way of the Coastal Footpath or by the footpath from Nore Road at the top of Glenwood Rise. The entrance on Nore Road is marked by a brown Heritage sign and a blue sign pointing out the footpath.