Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils receive funding to help protect local wildlife: Eastwood Farm

11 Mar 2019

Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils receive funding to help protect local wildlife

A rich habitat teeming with wildlife will be developed in the Avon Valley thanks to almost £100,000 of funding from Network Rail through its Greater West Programme.

Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire council successfully bid for funding to make a nature haven as part of a three year project at Eastwood Farm and Conham River Park, adjacent nature reserves separated by the River Avon.

The project will be delivered in partnership with the Friends of Avon Valley Woodlands and Friends of Eastwood Farm.

The scheme will get underway this month with some thinning in parts of the existing woodlands.  A small number of trees will be removed to improve the woodland structure, which will benefit the remaining trees and the wildlife that uses the woodland, as well as encouraging wildflowers to grow. The felled trees will be left in place to provide habitat for insects and other invertebrates.

Later this year, volunteers will assist with clearing ground for planting new trees and shrubs.  With the help of the local community and school children, volunteers will also plant native ground flora and sow a new wildflower meadow. Local provenance oaks will be collected as acorns by volunteers and school children, to be grown on in local schools.

Volunteers will be trained in how to care for newly planted woodlands and learn traditional skills such coppicing and charcoal making.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Asher Craig who is responsible for parks and open spaces, said: “This funding will allow us to carry out some much needed work that will improve these areas for that will benefit both wildlife and people.

“Improving the structure and diversity of the proposed woodland and meadow areas will improve their appearance and therefore increase their interest for visitors.

“By taking part in the project, the volunteers - including school children and the general public - will learn more about biodiversity and habits, and get to experience all the benefits of fresh air and exercise.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Tourism Cllr Paul Hughes said: “We are really pleased to secure this funding which will help protect and enhance these nature reserves and our local wildlife for future generations. The work will help join together these important habitats and hopefully establish a more resilient ecological environment.

“The area is very popular with walkers and cyclists, and it is great that volunteers from the local community and schools are getting involved and helping out with the planting of new trees and wildflowers.”

Emmanuel Deschamps, Environment Manager, Network Rail said: “It is great to be able to support such an exciting project. Woodlands provide a fantastic array of habitats to a wide range of plants and animals. We can’t wait to see this special place be transformed.”