Troopers Hill - Be Inspired

"Sit down with me amongst the beautiful purple heath, visited by the wild bees, and the blue butterflies"

Over the years Troopers Hill has inspired writers and artists. It is a unique space 'a fascinating mix of history and wildlife'.

Below we feature some of the works that have been inspired by this space, there are many more, let us know of anything else you think we should feature here - or if you are inspired to create something yourself - please share it with us!

Nature Shorts - March 2024

An enthusiastic group producing great glimpses of Troopers Hill

During February 2024, Ed Drewitt, author and leader of many dawn chorus walks on Troopers Hill, visited Troopers Hill leading a group of students studying for their MSc in Science Communication for a Better Planet at the University of Bristol.

Their plan was to make a series of very short films about Troopers Hill to capture the interest of young people in their late teens to early twenties who might not otherwise engage with the reserve.

Their enthusiasm was not dampened on their very first, very wet visit. The nearby Orchard Coffee & Co experienced an upturn in sales afterwards.

A week later they were back filming. Take a look at the results...

Links to videos (High Res)

 Introduction to Troopers Hill





 Solitary bees

Alternative links (Dailymotion)
Introduction to Troopers HillLichensStargazing |
GorseHedgerowsSolitary bees |

Late Light by Michael Malay - July 2023

'A book about falling in love with vanishing things' - with a wonderful cover illustration that you can clearly see was inspired by Troopers Hill!

Troopers Hill also features within the book as Michael expands on his March 2021 piece for BBC Radio 4 about the 'Crickets of Trooopers Hill'.

'Late Light is the story of Michael Malay's own journey, an Indonesian Australian making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines.'

This book is available through Small City Bookshop, Church Road.

More about this book

‘Home Sweet’ - May 2021

A short film with themes of lockdown loneliness, restriction easing anxiety, but most of all our need to reconnect with nature and be outdoors.

This wonderful film sums up how many felt during the Covid-19 lockdowns, but ends with an uplifting movement/ dance sequence at Troopers Hill.

A poem for Troopers Hill - April 2021

"the hill of friendship"

Troopers Hill was one of 5 groups related to green spaces, selected by poet Beth Calverley, to co-create a poem as part of Lyra: Bristol Poetry Festival 2021 and #BristolWriteOutside.

Beth hosted a relaxed conversation with our group on zoom to weave our words into a typewritten poem - 'a gentle journey through your thoughts, feelings, memories and hopes for your local parks and green spaces'.

After a very enjoyable conversation, Beth produced a beautiful poem using our words (below), which was drafted live in the moment, on her vintage typewriter.

You Can't Just Leave It

Colours change all the time,
but the hill has been here
for thousands of years:
a degree of permanence.

It can feel uncomfortable
to walk on your own.
On the path, take a breath -
that feeling goes. On the edge

of fear, watching someone
fix a wall, you make a friend:
a bonding moment.
It helps you slow down,

eases you into the day.
Forget the big, get absorbed by
the tiny. One of many species.
You can't just leave the wildlife -

some butterflies rely on dappled shade.
A mosaic of habitats. A need for friends,
on hands and knees, with secateurs.
Hedges full of insects and birdsong -

people to elicit joy. Some help is practical.
Some is spiritual. Learn to ride a bike.
Go sledging in snow or summer
(all you need is a cardboard box).

Above Bristol, you can see the city
with its lights on. The stars. The bats
flitting by the chimney. And balloons -
not just going with the wind

but determined
to land on
the hill
of friendship.

Beth Calverley

BBC Radio 4 Outsiders - March 2021
The Crickets of Troopers Hill by Michael Malay

The wonderful sound of the crickets & grasshoppers on the Hill were highlighted in the BBC Radio 4 'Outsiders' series first broadcast on the 26th March 2021.

Michael Malay, a lecturer in English literature and the environmental humanities at the University of Bristol, reflected on his personal experience of the past year and talks about his visits to Troopers Hill.

"Last spring, after the world changed – after the streets fell silent and the horizons seemed to shrink – I began going to a place called Troopers Hill. It’s a nature reserve in east Bristol, half a mile from where I live. It’s a beautiful place..."

You can listen to the programme here >>

Read the full script >>

Michael's broadcast inspired a student from Bristol University to visit the Hill and write an excellent article for the student newspaper Epigram.

In 2020 we ran an art competition which was organised for us by Troopers Hill Young Rangers to celebrate 25 years since Troopers Hill was declared a Local Nature Reserve.

The results were announced on 22nd June 2020, the 25th anniversary of Troopers Hill being declared as a Local Nature Reserve. The overall winner was Tin Stanton - his entry is shown here.

Art Competition 2020 - all entries and more details >>

12 Communities 1 Bristol

Troopers Hill features in the St George edition of this series of local oral history podcasts by Marcus Smith. Contributors: Alice Homewood, Sabine Groven and Richard Wheeler.

Rob talks about Elizabeth Emra; Steve shares his memories of the Hill; Rob & Susan along with Rupert Higgins talk about the importance of the Hill for wildlife and Christina shares her memories of the fire that spread across the Hill in 1995.

BCfm in partnership with Bristol 24/7, Bristol Museums, Bristol Archives, UWE Bristol and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

More of 12 Communities 1 Bristol >>

Scenes in our Parish by a Country Parson’s Daughter

Scenes in our Parish gives a fascinating insight into life and death (mostly death) in the 1830s in St George - it was written by 'little Elizabeth', the daughter of the Rev John Emra, vicar of St George church.

In the chapter entitled 'The Strawberry Feast' which is in the first part of the book and dated 30th March 1830, Elizabeth gives us a brilliant description of the habitat on Troopers Hill, which is still accurate today.

“the barren and quarried hill, with its yellow spots of gorse and broom, and its purple shade of heath, raising itself above the dark heaps of dross on our own side; and then the river, the beautiful, soft flowing river that we have all loved so well...”

In another chapter Elizabeth asks her reader to:

"Sit down with me amongst the beautiful purple heath, visited by the wild bees, and the blue butterflies; and breathe the fresh air of our rugged hill, and look on the fair extended prospect."

Read more about Elizabeth Emra >>

Emra Inspiration

Nearly 200 years have passed since Elizabeth Emra wrote her books; but her words still have the power to inspire.

Writer Tina M Edwards was inspired by reading to 'The Strawberry Feast' whilst sat upon Troopers Hill to write the poem that can be seen here. Read more on her blog:
The Circle of Life - Tina M Edwards >>

Journalist Elly Roberts wrote about Little Elizabeth for the Bristol Cable in November 2017, you can read her article "Commemorating a pioneering St George author" here:
Bristol Cable feature - Full text

Molly's Hill Poetry

The wonderful poem illustrated above was sent to us by local resident Molly Setter

Another of Molly's poems 'Waiting for Spring' was published in our newsleter in Spring 2008 and we also received a poem inspired by the 2015 Ballon Fiesta

Waiting for Spring

Now Winter's gone with its icy chill
The cat suns herself on the window-sill,
And every morning the sweet birds sing
A welcome to the coming Spring.

A brisk walk with the dog will cause
A hasty wipe of its muddy paws,
The morning's soft with gentle rain,
So Spring is nearly here again.

Silken crocus glow amid striped leaves
And birds are nesting in the eaves,
With sudden showers and fleeting sun
Our fickle spring has surely come.

     Molly Setter

Looking for more inspiration?

We are always pleased to see items inspired by Troopers Hill. You can share your work with us via our social media accounts:

 |  TroopersHill |  @TroopersHill |   @FriendsofTroopersHill |  Troopers Hill Flickr Group |

Or email

For inspiration, go for a walk on the hill - the colours and shadows are always changing.

Our two listed chimneys are its best known features but there are also a range of shapes and colours in the rocks and the humps and bumps left by quarrying and mining.

There are a great selection of plants and insects on the heathland and grassland of the Hill itself, but you might also want to explore the woodland.

Sunset viewed from the Hill can also be an inspirational moment and don't forget to look up during the day at what is flying past - you never know what you might see.

Or explore this website, there is loads of information about the Hill's Wildlife, Geology and History. You might also gain inspiration from other people's Memories or Old Photographs.