PREVIEW: Free open days to be held at historic venues over two weekends

Bill Shier by the lighthouse he has bought for £1.

Bill Shier by the lighthouse he has bought for £1. - Credit: Archant

Eleven venues packed with history will open their doors this month, and all are available to see this weekend.

The Gordano Open Days event will take place for the seventh year running, and coincides with the national Heritage Open Days festival.

The programme includes visits to places in Portbury, Clapton-in-Gordano, Walton-in-Gordano, Weston-in-Gordano, Portishead and Easton-in-Gordano.

Churches and pubs can be visited, while there is also a chance to learn more about the Black Nore Lighthouse and windmill in Nore Road, both in Portishead.

Organiser Bill Shier said: “The aim is to make people aware of their heritage here in the Gordano valley.

“We have a very rich heritage.

“The event will highlight that and point out the various monuments we have.”

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New additions to this year’s event includes the chance to try bell-ringing at St Michael’s Church, in Clevedon Lane, Clapton-in-Gordano.

There will also be ploughman’s lunches, an art show and craft workshop at St Mary’s Church in Portbury, which will provide activities for children.

Bill said: “We are trying to make it more family-orientated this year.”

People will also have the chance to take self-guided tours around the venues, or even learn more with the help of a guide.

The Black Horse Inn, in Clapton-in-Gordano, is described by organisers as a ‘time capsule of the perfect West Country pub’ which can be enjoyed as people’s ancestors would have done.

It also benefits from a footpath which leads to the Cadbury Camp, a 200-year-old hill fort with views of the countryside.

A guide will be on site at the Royal Inn, in Pier Road, Portishead, which was going to be the terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway.

However, the plans fell apart when he died and it became a destination hotel instead.

The open days take place on Saturday and Sunday, and September 15-16.

Entry is free to all venues, and for more information about the timings, visit

Stancombe Quarry, in Stancombe Lane, Flax Bourton, will also open on September 15 as part of the Heritage Open Days.

More than 5,000 events are planned across the country to celebrate England’s history and culture. Visit