A Brief History of Fountain Timber
Fountain Timber is located south of Bristol between Backwell and Wrington and offers visitors access to the heart of the woods. Entry to the site is off Brockley Combe and as you climb the hill on the private drive you enter what was known as Wrington Warren. When it was sold as part of the Wrington Estate in 1895 it was described as “about 550 acres affording excellent sport”. The Warren was used as a decoy in the Second World War, using lights and fires to make the bomber pilots think they were over Bristol. The Americans, prior to D-Day, trained making roads using rubble from bomb damaged Bristol. With true country logic one track is still called the Yankee Road.
Fountain Forestry bought the Warren in 1957; the name comes from Fountain House, the prestigious post-war building in the City of London with a fountain in the entrance hall. These were the offices of Mathew Wrightson Limited a Lloyds insurance company who could offer better fire insurance rates for young plantations than those being offers by other insurance companies. The Directors and some of the underwriting names at the time invested in forestry as they could offset the cost against their other income and reduce the high taxes they were paying post war. These tax incentives were introduced by the Labour government after 1945 to help replant thousands of acres of private forests following the removal of all the timber for the war effort.
When purchased, the land was a mix of arable, rough pasture and small plantations. They planted the better land in Larch, the poorer land in Pine. A large proportion was planted with Beech with softwood nurse crops, the softwoods were removed after 50 years to reveal Beech woodland. Walter Goldstone was the Head Forester at the time responsible for the planting.
The timber yard and sawmills you can see today, started life in 1967 processing Pit Props for the South Wales Collieries. As the mines closed the timber yard diversified into fencing, for both the agricultural and construction markets. Since then Fountain Timber has developed many new product offerings to meet the changing needs of contractors and individuals including prestigious garden and landscape products. The site now boasts its own joinery shop manufacturing made to measure Entrance gates, Country gates, many different designs of fencing and trellis, garden furniture etc.
Developments in timber preservation and the introduction of kiln drying allow us to offer timber that will last. By using two timber treatment plants on site, we offer a 10 year plus service life on ground contract material like posts, gravel boards etc. by exceeding the treatment standards set by Arch Chemicals the manufacturers of Tanalith E, one of the world’s leading preservative brands and suppliers.
Today, we purchase home grown logs, including Pine, Douglas Fir and Larch, make the best possible use of the prime timber through our own sawmills to produce material for fencing, gates posts etc. The residual material is then used to produce everything from Bark strips, timber chips, woodchips for biomass boilers; some is even composted for garden mulches etc. In fact we aim to use every part of the timber purchased, the sawdust and shavings goes to local contractors for use with livestock.
We are proud of our heritage, back in 1957 Walter Goldstone and his team of about 20 planted and nurtured the trees in the early days. Sons, grandsons, granddaughters from these original workers have worked in or remain in the business. Many have 20 plus years’ service some 30, they continue to hand down their skills and translate their experience into quality products.
When you buy from Fountain you are helping support a local company employing local people that is equally proud to support the local community.