Green Flags are a national award scheme for quality green spaces; Troopers Hill was successfully entered by Bristol Parks in each year from 2007 to 2013. Two sites were entered in 2007 (Troopers Hill and The Downs). The number of Bristol entries then increased year on year so that in 2013 Troopers Hill one of 11 parks in Bristol to be awarded a flag, but the only nature reserve.
Bristol City Council has not entered any of its sites for Green Flags since 2013. In 2014 this was due to the reorganisation of Bristol Parks resulting from Government imposed budget cuts and large numbers of management posts within Bristol City Council being lost. After further review it was decided not to enter Bristol parks in the Green Flag Award Scheme from then on.
Part of the reason for this was concerns raised at Bristol Parks Forum meetings that entering a small number of sites meant that resources were focused on those sites to the detriment of others. However, the main reason was the administrative burden (and therefore cost) in preparing and submitting documentation for Green Flag entries and then organising the judges visits, with several man-days being required for each site. It was certainly not possible for Bristol City Council to further increase its number of entries to address the concerns of the Parks Forum.
In the absence of an application for a Green Flag Award in 2014, Friends of Troopers Hill entered Troopers Hill in the new RHS Britain in Bloom South West Parks and Open Spaces award scheme; Troopers Hill was the first site in Bristol to enter. We were delighted that Troopers Hill won GOLD in 2014 and we have continued to enter this scheme in following years.
Green Flag Award 2013/14
The 2013/14 Green Flag Awards were announced on Monday 29th July 2013 as part of Love Parks Week. We were pleased to hear that Troopers Hill had retained its flag for a seventh year. In fact all eleven parks in Bristol that were awarded flags last year (see below) retained their awards.
We were also pleased to learn that our friends at Snuff Mills Action Group have for the second time been awarded the Green Flag Community Award. The Community award is for green spaces in the UK that are managed by voluntary and community groups.
The award of the Green Flag is made to Bristol Parks as owners and managers of the site, however, involvement of the community is an important criteria for the award. The fact that Friends of Troopers Hill work in partnership with Bristol Parks is therefore a major factor in the Hill's success.
Our thanks to everyone at Bristol Parks for their work this year, especially Jules our 'Parkie', Dave Cambridge, Denise James and Jamie Roberts.
The Green Flag Certificates were presented by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson at Blaise Castle Estate.
The new flag was put up at our Work Party on Saturday 3rd August; photos below.
What is a Green Flag?
To qualify for the award a site has to be well managed, have good community involvement and where possible be accessible to all. Each award is for 12 months.
The Green Flag Award website has lots of information about the award and details of all the other Green Flag sites around the country.
The judges provide feedback on each site which gives an indication of what they liked and what they think needs to be addressed before the following year. Formal judging does not take place every year, but the Hill can be 'Mystery Shopped' at any time to ensure that the standards are being maintained.
Green Flag Mystery Shopping Report 2013
Green Flag Judges Feedback Report 2012
Green Flag Judges Feedback Report 2010
Green Flag Judges Feedback Report 2008
Green Flag Judges Feedback Report 2007
The Green Flag Award Scheme recognises well-managed, high-quality green spaces. Any green space in the UK is eligible to win this award providing it is freely accessible to the public.
The Green Flag Award Scheme is licenced to Keep Britain Tidy by Communities and Local Government (DCLG) who own the green Flag Award Scheme. The scheme was set up in 1996.
Green Flag Award 2012/13
Bristol Parks again applied for a Green Flag for Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve in 2012.
There was a formal judging of the Hill in mid June where members of the Friends of Troopers Hill committee were able to show the judge around the Hill along with Jules our Park Keeper and Jamie our Parks manager from Bristol Parks.
We were especially pleased this year to be able to show the judge all the work that had been done as part of our Stepping Forward Project and talk about the new trail markers and interpretation boards that are going to be installed.
The results were announced on Tuesday 17th July and we were pleased to learn that we were again successful. There were 11 Green Flags awarded to Bristol parks this year and they were presented at Redcatch Park by Cllr Gary Hopkins.
Three parks won the award for the first time this year; this is the most new green flag sites Bristol has achieved in a single year.
Alongside Troopers Hill, Bristol's other Green Flag Parks are:
Canford Park, Greville Smyth Park and Redcatch Park - this year's first time winners.
The Downs - which won its first flag in 2007 along with Troopers Hill
Queen Square & Blaise Castle Estate - 2008
Ashton Court Estate & St Paul's Park - 2009
Netham Park - 2010
St Andrew's Park - 2011
There were also two winners of The Green Flag Community Award, which recognises high quality green spaces in the UK that are managed by voluntary and community groups. The winners were Snuff Mills and Easter Garden.
The photo below shows representatives of all 11 Green Flag parks at Redcatch.
Green Flag Award 2011/12
The winners of the 2011/12 awards were announced on 25th July and Friends of Troopers are pleased to be able to celebrate the hill winning its fifth green flag. There were eight green flags awarded to Bristol City Council this year with St Andrew's Park being added to last year's 'magnificent seven'. The flags and certificates were presented at St Andrew's Park at lunchtime.
Troopers Hill first won a Green Flag in 2007 along with the Downs so this is our fifth flag.
Last year's first time winner, another local park - Netham Park - retained their flag. Other winners were Blaise Castle Estate and Queen Square who received their first flag 2008 and St Paul's Park and Ashton Court Estate who won for the first time in 2009. Troopers Hill remains Bristol's only Green Flag Nature Reserve.
Susan, Chair of Friends of Troopers Hill expressed her thanks to all those at Bristol Parks:
This is just a huge thank you to all concerned in bringing back the Green Flag to Troopers Hill for a 5th year.
Itís been a brilliant team effort. Julian is "our" man on the ground, ably and effectively supported by Carol providing the continuous hands on management of the site and the visible interface to the public with the rest of Daveís team providing support for the bigger jobs. Last yearís work on the bank on Troopers Hill required input from all levels and areas of Parks, including the Conservation and Arboreal teams and we had an effective handover of the work between Jamie and John, our then incoming and outgoing Area Park Managers, when they must have had a great deal of other matters in hand.
We were also delighted to see the work on the Greendown entrance completed using the funding we had raised from YANSEC. This project had needed involvement not only from Parks teams but also the services of a landscape architect from the Neighbourhoods and City Development team.
We have also had support on the administration side with Health and Safety courses being provided for our volunteer work party leaders, support with our publicity and we were very pleased with the new presentation of information about Troopers Hill on the council website. Adrianís hard work, effectively co-ordinating the Green Flag applications has been really appreciated.
The new flag was hoisted at our Work Party on Saturday 6th August.
Click here for Work Party Photos >>
There was no formal judging in 2011. As Troopers Hill Nature Reserve has held
the award for over 2 years and scored over 70% in 2010 we will
now only be formally assessed every two years. However the site may be
'mystery shopped' during the next 12 months, so it is important that the maintenance standards are maintained.
You can find out more about how Troopers Hill is maintained on our Management Plan page.
Evening Post Report on Bristol's eighth flag >>
Evening Post Report - Delight as reserve wins fifth award >>
Evening Post Report on St Andrew's Park Celebration Event >>
Green Flag Award 2010/11
Following judging in early June, the winners of the Green Flag Awards for 2010/11 were announced on 28th July. Troopers Hill was again successful and has now held the Green Flag for four years running. The new flag was fixed to the flagpole at our Work Party on 7th August.
It has been good to see that the high standards of management have continued over the last year. Special thanks are due to our 'Head Gardener' Dave and all his team but in particular of course our 'Community Park Keeper' Julian. They all continued the great work done over the past few years. Also we must mention Keith who did such good stuff over the 6 months while Julian was off sick. Our 'Area Park Manager' Jamie and 'Community Park Officer' Gary have both now got to know the site and us and have worked hard to find solutions to the problems the hill has thrown at them. We hope that we will be able to continue to work with all the team over the next few years to keep the flag flying.
This year's Green Flags were presented at St Paul's Park at lunchtime on 28 July. Entertainment was provided by Circomedia. The photograph shows, Julian, Susan, Tracey Morgan (Service Director - Environment & Leisure), Keith & Rob with the flag and the new St Paul's play area in the background (click on photo to enlarge).
Another vital element in our success this year was the completion of our YANSEC funded project to improve the entrance at Greendown and install new signs and benches. Details of the project are on our YANSEC project page
Green Flag awards handed to seven Bristol parks - BBC Website
Park joins list of city sites to fly the green flag for quality - Evening Post
The 2009/10 Award
The results for the 2009/10 Green Flag Award were announced on 22nd July 2009. We were very pleased to learn that Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve had been awarded a flag for a third year. There are now 6 Green Flag sites in Bristol. The Downs also won for the third year, Blaise Castle Estate and Queen Square are second time winners, while St Paul's Park and Ashton Court have won for the first time; with Ashton Court also scooping a coveted Green Heritage Site Award.
Friends of Troopers Hill would like to thank everyone who has played their part in achieving this success especially Julian our 'Parkie' who ensures that the hill is always looking at its best. Julian joined other representatives from Bristol at the Award Ceremony in Bournemouth to collect the flag and is in the centre of the photo above. On the left of the photo is Claire who was our CPM until April 2009 and played a big part in this latest success. Adrian behind Claire acted as assistant CPM and did much of the work behind the scenes to make sure all the necessary documents and information were submitted on time.
Friends of Troopers Hill were delighted to have a chance to show off the Green Flag to the world on Tuesday 4th August at 5 am when our Secretary, Helen, took her place on The Fourth Plinth
in Trafalgar Square as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other project www.oneandother.co.uk.
Click here for photos, the video and more information about Helen's visit to London.
The 2008/9 Award
The team at Bristol Parks responsible for our second Green Flag success included Sally, John, Claire, Phil, Caroline and Adrian. Also Dave, Julian and the rest of their team at what was then Bristol Contract Services (pictured left). Thanks were also due to YANSEC for their continuing support.
Throughout 2007 and into 2008 Bristol Parks continued to maintain the site in accordance with the Management Plan both to protect the heathland and acid grassland and to ensure that the hill is safe and welcoming to visitors. Julian now visits the site two days per week on average to ensure that it is well maintained and that any problems are rapidly dealt with.
The 2007/8 Award
To celebrate our first award in 2007 the Lord Mayor of Bristol visited Troopers Hill for a photo shoot. Friends of Troopers Hill were on hand to show him the site and tell him something about what we have achieved. The Lord Mayor had a look inside the chimney and also seemed keen to try and climb it! Amongst some of the publicity we received we were also featured in the Autumn edition of Bristol News; the Nature in the City Newsletter and in Avon Frome Bulletin No 1 In working towards the 2007/8 Award Bristol Parks extended our YANSEC funded wheelchair accessible path and installed two new benches and a new interpretation board.
Susan and Rob were very pleased and honoured to be be invited to Leeds to received the flag on behalf of Friends of Troopers Hill.
We were joined at the ceremony by Phil Williamson from Bristol Parks who is also Green Flag judge (though he is not allowed to judge sites in Bristol!) and Gordon Millward who is responsible for management of the Downs.
Phil worked very hard in the early part of the year to update our Management Plan and was also involved in the work that was carried out on the hill prior to the judging.
Some of the staff from Bristol Parks visited the hill on 19 Dec 2007 as part of their staff conference. Friends of Troopers Hill were on hand together with John, Sally and Julian from BCS to talk about the hill, the Green Flag Award and the work of the group.
We were very pleased to be able to show of 'our' hill to some of those who work behind the scenes or elsewhere in the city. Everyone we have met at Bristol Parks has always been very helpful and keen to do everything they can to make Troopers Hill and other parks and green spaces in Bristol something of which the city can be really proud.
A big thank you to everyone who has joined us on Work Parties, supported our events or other activities, delivered newsletters or helped us in any other way.
Strong involvement of the local community is a major factor in the assessment of Green Flag sites so everyone involved with Friends of Troopers Hill has played their part and should be proud of this achievement.