Blaise Castle Estate will be transformed into a medieval village for the filming of historical TV drama The Winter King. The grade II-listed parkland will host thatched dwellings of wood, wattle and daub covering almost 30,000m2 for the Sony Pictures Television series.
A previous planning application to Bristol City Council revealed parts of an industrial estate in Patchway would be transformed into a fortified encampment for filming, which is taking place across Wales and the West Country during 2022 and 2023. A further application to the local authority has added Blaise Castle Estate – which regularly hosts major events like the Legends Festival – to the list of local locations with a role in the production.
Part of the set was spotted earlier this month being built at the Bristol beauty spot. Two film sets will be built on the estate: a cluster of houses and animal pens amongst trees adjacent to woodland, named on plans as “Avalon Village”, plus a wooden tower with a “scaffold plinth” and “scaffold birdcage”.
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Diagrams of individual houses suggest that they will be 3.7 metres tall, with walls made from “Lidney [sic] Farm timber” planks and posts and rooves dressed with brush wood timber thatch. The tower will be 12 metres in diameter, drawings suggest, and almost 10 metres high with a doorway and at least two windows. The “birdcage” within – which might represent a medieval prison cell – will measure 6.5 metres in diameter.
The Winter King is an upcoming TV adaptation of The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, the historical novelist most famous for a series of books about fictional Napoleonic rifleman Richard Sharpe – another work which has been adapted for the small screen, starring Sean Bean. The latest Cornwell adaption will cover five novels over ten episodes. Production company Bad Wolf describes it as “a revisionist take on the well-loved Arthurian legends”.
Their website adds: “The series follows Arthur Pendragon as he evolves from outcast son to legendary warrior and leader. The Winter King is set in the fifth century, long before Britain was united, in a land of warring factions and tribes when the world was brutal, and lives were often fleeting.”
Filming will require the creation of parking space for 200 cars and 21 light goods vehicles, the planning application reveals, closing the public right of way which crosses the eastern side of the application site. The application acknowledges that filming will take place on a site of geological conservation importance and adjacent to a site of important habitat or biodiversity.
An ecological survey recommended that steps be taken to avoid harming wildlife. These include cutting grass in two stages and allowing reptiles time to escape, limiting light use after sunset, and maintaining dark bat corridors between the site and woodland. Representations about the application, which has been given the reference number 22/03919/F, can be made via Bristol City Council’s planning portal until 12 October 2022.