Troopers Hill Management
1992 to 2012
This page describes the Management Plans produced in 1992, 1999, 2004 & 2007 and the works carried out in the periods covered by the plans.
This page describes the Management Plans produced in 1992, 1999, 2004 & 2007 and the works carried out in the periods covered by the plans.
The 2007 Management Plan for Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve was produced jointly by Bristol Parks and Friends of Troopers Hill and adopted in January 2007.
For the purpose of the plan the hill was divided up into 11 compartments and the management aims for each area were set out, together with details of how they would be achieved. As well as the main document there were three maps, all are available for download as pdf files.
As well as ensuring the Hill was well managed, this plan was also used to support Bristol City Council's application for a Green Flag Award for the site. That application in 2007 was sucessful when the Hill became one of only two sites in Bristol to receive the award.
The Hill was also then awarded a Green Flag in each of the following six years. Bristol City Council has not entered any of its sites for Green Flags since 2013.
The 2007 plan initially covered a five year period to April 2012. An additional year was added to the plan at each annual review so that we were always looking 5 years ahead.
Friends of Troopers Hill learnt a great deal about the ecology of Troopers Hill since the original plan was produced in 2004 and this allowed us to plan an improved management regime. Our initial focus had been to try and maintain the hill in its current state, but with the support of Bristol Parks we were able to work towards improving the habitat with particular focus on the acid grassland and heathland. This work continues with the adoption of the 2012 plan.
As with the 2012 plan, the main focus of the 2007 plan was habitat management. Works were carried out each winter to clear areas of bramble and scrub in accordance with the principles adopted in the plan and described here.
Following more extensive clearance work in the first two winters of the period the main focus changed to revisiting those areas cleared in previous winters and removing any regrowth of trees, scrub or bramble.
The work is part of an ongoing process to improve the environment of the hill and to protect the heathland and grassland. This work was managed by Bristol Parks in consultation with Friends of Troopers Hill. Friends of Troopers Hill helped throughout the period with bramble clearance and other labour intensive tasks at our regular Work Parties.
Most of the work was done in the winter to avoid disturbing nesting birds - Report on 2011/12 winter works
Photos: 2008/9 Winter works - 2007/8 Winter works.
An area of grassland at Greendown was cut each year by contractors working for the Council as a hay meadow - photos here.
Management tasks were also sometimes required in response to events such as a fire in July 2010 and sometimes acts of vandalism, of which we had a spate in 2011, but they are generally rare. A speedy response to incidents and the sense that the hill is well looked after we think tends to reduce incidents.
You can see how the hill has changed since 1998 here.
Surveys of two of the areas cleared in the winter 2006/7 showed encouraging signs that heathland plants were re-establishing themselves - download the report here.
In December 2011 Friends of Troopers Hill learnt that they had been successful in their Stage 2 application to Groundwork UK for funding from the Big Lottery through their Community Spaces Programme. The project was to improve access to Troopers Hill and encourage visits from groups such as 'Walking for Health'. Work in putting together the application, carrying out a consultation with local residents and commissioning an ecological survey took 12 months following the stage 1 award in Dec 2010. This application was in accordance with objectives 184.108.40.206 & 7 of the Management Plan.
More information on the Stepping Forward Project >>
Works were carried out from 11th to 13th October 2010 to address the
problems of over-hanging trees and earth falls along Troopers Hill Road.
The works were required due to health and safety concerns and involved tree management including the removal of low branches, as well as reducing the surplus soil build up behind the fence along Troopers Hill Road.
Photos and more information >>
A crater near the top of the hill was fenced off while
Bristol City Council and the Coal Authority investigated some subsidence.
This was due to old mine workings
collapsing. Excavations were needed to check whether there was a danger of
any further collapse and to make the area safe.
More Information >>
Many of the users of Troopers Hill pick up litter as they walk round and this is particularly true of early morning dog walkers who often clear cans an bottles left from the evening before. In early 2010 we were approached by a dog walker who sugested that a litter bin should be placed near the entrance to the LNR from Troopers Hill Field to avoid the need to leave bags of collected litter under the dog waste bin.
This was discussed at our meeting in May and it was agreed that Friends of Troopers Hill would ask for donations towards the bin and then pay the rest of the cost from our funds; Bristol Parks agreed to empty it and maintain it. Nearly £100 was donated and the bin was installed in early September 2010.
As with benches (see below) we are keen to maintain the wild appearance of Troopers Hill LNR and avoid too much furniture on the hill so we have always resisted suggestions to place litter bins on the LNR and this continues to be our position.
As part of the Management Plan (objective 220.127.116.11) we produced a seating plan - additional seats were the most requested improvement in the 2002 Visitor Survey and have often be mentioned since. Two seats were installed in 2007 by Bristol Parks at the top of the hill and these have proved very popular. Three more of the benches shown on the plan have been installed as part of our
YANSEC funded project to replace some installed in 2006 that were then vandalised. All the seating shown on the plan is now in place.
While additional seating is still asked for, we are also aware that many people do not want to see too much furniture on the hill as this might spoil its wild appearance; it is therefore necessary to keep a balance.
In 2009 we were approached by a family that wanted to donate a bench to Troopers Hill as a memorial. Our Community Parks Officer suggested a location where he thought that an extra bench would be beneficial, without impacting on the appearance of the hill. We agreed that this would be a good location. We are pleased to say that this new bench has now been installed by Bristol Parks at the top of the steps leading up from Greendown.
Works to improve this entrance were carried out in 2009 as part of a project which had a total cost of £21,500.
Bristol Parks provided 10% of this funding while Friends of Troopers Hill were awarded a grant from YANSEC for the remaining 90% - you can see details and photos of the works here.
The work was carried our in accordance with a design produced with funding from Awards for All. This work was in accordance with objective 18.104.22.168 of the Management Plan to improve safety and access at the entrances from Troopers Hill Road.
A new path was constructed in April 2007 to provide wheelchair access to the top of the hill. This was also part funded by YANSEC.
A design to improve the appearance of the entrance by the lower chimney was produced it was funded by a Lottery Grant through Awards for All received in September 2007. The design was not priced but was intended to form part of a future bid to include restoration work to the lower chimney.
The 2004 plan and the updates produced in April 2005 and 2006, can be downloaded as pdf files using the links below.
This plan was produced by Rob Acton-Campbell of Friends of Troopers Hill with support from Sally Oldfield, Local Nature Reserves Officer for Bristol City Council following discussions at Friends of Troopers Hill meetings and Work Parties.
The plan followed the advice on habitat management set out in the 1999 plan the photo survey reports produced by Rupert Higgins, who also gave further advice as the plan was developed.
Sally continued to support Friends of Troopers Hill through the Nature in the City Project from September 2006 to September 2008.
The Plan was officially launched at a signing ceremony on the hill on Wed 9th June 2004. It was signed by Peter Wilkinson, Head of Bristol Parks and Susan Acton-Campbell, Chair of Friends of Troopers Hill
During this period Friends of Troopers Hill started to run the regular first Saturday of the month Work Parties indepenently, having received training so that it was not necessary to have a Council officer present at each event.
Most of this work at Work Parties focused on habitat management, particularly cutting back bramble from areas of broom in the winter and bracken in the summer.
Initially litter picking was also a major task, but the need for this reduced as the site gained a more cared for appearance.
A video was made at the 2004 August work party.
Specific projects completed during this period included:
• New gates and fences at Troopers Hill Field to prevent motor cycle access.
• Fence repairs and installation of new grant funded entrance signs.
• Installation of the first two dog waste bins on the Local Nature Reserve.
• Clearance of overgrown paths and minor repairs to steps.
• Installation of three grant funded wooden benches (unfortunately two of these were soon vandalised).
• Repair of a fire damaged bench, with money raised through donations - the bench video.
• Planting of a new hedge at Greendown in January 2006 - hedge update 2020.
These works were in accordance with the aims of the 2004 plan, details of what had been achieved were included in the updates to the 2004 plan produced in 2005 & 2006.
The 1999 Management Plan for Troopers Hill LNR was produced in 1999 by Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultancy.
Rupert was already familiar with the Hill having carried out some species surveys in the 1980s and photographic surveys in 1994, 1996 & 1998.
1999 Management Plan by Wessex Ecological Consultancy
Some repair works were carried out to the chimney in 1999 with scaffold errected to its full height. A scaffold platform that had been put in place at the top of the chimney during earlier works was removed at this time. A report in the local paper also refers to some path repairs and a 'poop scoop' bin being installed, this was probably on Troopers Hill Field (then called Malvern Road Open Space). Park Rangers also organised a project for young people with learning difficulties to construct a path to give access from 'Field View Centre' ( now East Bristol Intermediate Care Centre).
Following the recommendations in the 1999 plan, the first of the invertebrate surveys of the Hill was carried out by David Gibbs in 2000, prior to this the importance of the site for invertebrates had not been fully appreciated.
The start of the 'Wildspace!' project in 2002 run by Sally Oldfield was the next significant event and led directly to the formation of Friends of Troopers Hill in December 2003. Sally was employed by Bristol City Council from 2002 as a 'Local Nature Reserves Officer' with funding from English Nature and the Big Lottery Fund.
A visitor survey was carried out in 2002/3, followed by a series of meeting and events aimed at informing local people about the site and discussing the formation of a group to help in the site's management.
Events included a Nature Walk with Rupert Higgins on Tue 22 July 2003 and a Litter Pick on Sat 04 Oct 2003. Sally also organised some activities with local young people, including clearing an overgrown path of brambele and scrub.
Friends of Troopers Hill's regular Work Parties on the first Saturday of each month then started from December 2003 when the group was formally constituted.
The first Management Plan for Troopers Hill LNR that we are aware of, was produced in 1992 by Landmark Environmental Consultants and funded by the Bristol Development Corporation.
This plan was written to support the application to have the site declared as a Local Nature Reserve, which was achieved in 1995. At around the same time two interpretation boards were installed at entrances to the Hill and some information leaflets were produced.
The plan focused on the grayling butterfly along with badgers as the Hill's notable species.
Sadly the grayling has not been recorded on the Hill since the summer of 1996, it might be that the large fire on the Hill in 1995 reduced its population so that it was no longer present in sufficent numbers to maintain the colony.
1992 Management Plan by Landmark Environmental Consultants
1992 Management Plan - Work Plans
1992 Management Plan - App 1 Maps
1992 Management Plan - App 2 & 3 Species Lists
As a result of the recomendations in the 1992 Plan, the regular photographic surveys of the habitat on Troopers Hill by Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultancy were started in 1994.
We also know that some further scrub clearance was carried out by BTCV in 1998/99 and there were some further litter picks. However, the fire of 1995, which we believe (from a newspaper cutting) to have been on 17th August, will have had the largest impact on the habitat in this period.
It is ironic that the process to have the site declared as a Local Nature Reserve which had started in around 1991 had been completed less than 2 months before this major fire. Dead trees from the fire were still standing in 1998 and the photo survey records the extent of the scrub burnt off.
There are additional photos and information about the habitats on the Hill in 1994 in a report produced by J.M.Carter as part of his University studies which he passed to Friends of Troopers Hill in 2021. This report highlights some of the issues that we continue to address now - the spread of bramble and scrub across the grassland and heathland.
Works had been carried out by Bristol Development Corporation (BDC) in 1991 (just before the 1992 Management Plan was written) to resurface the main paths on the Hill and erect a timber perimeter fence, photos of the 1991 work can be seen here.
We also know that 'Action Days' were organised by Avon Wildlife Trust in Crew's Hole Woodland, meeting at the end of Malvern Rd. These were to be held in December 1991 and Spring 1992 and were advertised in this leaflet.
Planned activities at the action days included scrub clearing 'to help maintain important areas of grassland for wildflowers and butterflies to thrive'.
The BDC also reported on a litter pick that had attracted 'more than 120 enthusiastic volunteers' in one of their newsletters.
Some species surveys were carried out in 1985 and 1986 that were included in the 1992 Management Plan.
While Troopers Hill has always been publicly accessible open land we have no records of any habitat management before this time. It is likely that the degree of trampling; pollution from the various works in the Avon Valley and frequent summer fires had kept the scrub at bay without the need for intervention.