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Friends of Troopers Hill 'Ways to Nature' Project

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Funders | Project Outline | Protecting Nature | Surveying Nature | Improving Nature Knowledge | Access to Nature | Your views |


'Ways to Nature' is a new project for 2018.

We are delighted to have received support for a large part of this project from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) 'Our Heritage' programme.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we will now be able to achieve the majority of our aims to protect the wildlife on Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve; carry out some further wildlife surveys and run some educational events such as guided walks.

The award of the grant was reported in the BBC Radio Bristol news bulletins on Sunday 1st July and received the following press coverage:
| St George & Redfield Voice, 1st July 2018 >> | Bristol Post / Bristol Live, 4th July 2018 >> | The Week in, 4th Jul 2018 (see p27) >> |

Scroll down or use the links above to find out more about the different aspects of the project.

The funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund of over £44,000 will fund most of the work described below on the Local Nature Reserve, including the entirity of the Protecting Nature and Surveying Nature parts of the project.

We have also secured separate funding for two smaller parts of the project:

Improving Nature Knowledge - The Nineveh Charitable Trust are funding Natural Learners to run inspiring educational experiences on Troopers Hill for families and school children.

Access to Nature - We have received funding for the works in the woodland from the Avon Frome Partnership, this was completed in August 2018.

Applications for funding for the new path and to resurface the track have been submitted, we expect to hear whether we have been successful in late September 2018.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported our funding bids including everyone who responded to the consultation in 2017 and those who wrote letters of support for our funding bids - Professor Jane Memmott of the University of Bristol; Janice Gardiner of Avon Wildlife Trust; Chris Watson, course leader in Geography at Bridgwater and Taunton College; Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East; Fiona Lambert of Bristol Astronomical Society; Lee Morgan at East Bristol Intermediate Care Centre; Tim Browse, Headteacher Air Balloon Hill Primary School and our local councillors, Cllr Nicola Beech, Cllr Fabian Breckels, Cllr Asher Craig and Cllr Steve Pearce. Thank you also to everyone at Bristol Parks.

Oscar-style tweet of thanks for HLF award >>

Project Outline

Our aims are to:

• Replace the wooden fencing on Troopers Hill Road to improve access & protect the wildlife from motorcycles;

• Carry out surveys of invertebrates and other wildlife to inform a review of the management plan;

• Increase visitors' knowledge of the Hill and its importance for wildlife in the city.

• Improve access to Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve across Troopers Hill Field and through Troopers Hill Woods;

Protecting Nature - Fully Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

The existing boundary fencing on Troopers Hill Rd was installed in 1992. The wooden fence, which includes 3 kissing gates and a contractors gate, is now rotting and close to collapse (photos below).

If the fence collapses the Local Nature Reserve will be open to access by motorbikes. This would represent a danger to the people and dogs using the Hill and have a severe, negative impact on the site’s ecology.

Before kissing gates were installed at the entrances to Troopers Hill Field it was not unusual for motorbikes to be seen on Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve. Police were good at responding to calls and on at least one occasion a biker was fined but the problem was only solved by physical barriers. Motorcycles very occasionally still find their way through the barriers but swift action has meant that individuals usually only make a single visit.

The proposal is to replace the rotten fencing and gates with black, metal estate fencing and gates. This would only be installed on those sections where scrub does not act as a natural barrier.

Metal estate fencing, a contractor’s gate and a kissing gate (shown left) were successfully installed on the Greendown boundary of Troopers Hill in 2008 using funds raised by the Friends of Troopers Hill. This was a long term solution that blends in well with landscape.

Troopers Hill Rd Entrance D – Summer 2016


Troopers Hill Rd Entrance E – Summer 2016


Troopers Hill Rd Entrance F – Summer 2016

Surveying Nature - Fully Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

The current Management Plan for Troopers Hill was produced in 2007 and reviewed in 2012 without any major changes.

The plan acknowleges the importance of the site for people and the projects set out above will ensure that the site is secure and accessible for the next 10 years.

However, with respect to the ecology and bio-diversity of the site it is now time for a full scale review of the plan. This will involve a review of the effectiveness of the management of the site over the past 10 years and the aims for the future.

As part of this it is important to carry out detailed surveys to establish what species are present on the Hill and whether ther have been any detectable changes over the last 10 years.

Based on the results of the management plan we shall commission some additional habitat management works during the winter of 2018/19.

Improving Nature Knowledge - Fully funded

While much has been done over the last 10 years to provide additional site interpretation and to host guided walks and events to highlight the importance of the site, there is always the need to do more.

Lottery players through the Hertiage Lottery Fund have funded the following to be completed in 2019:

• A series of walks throughout 2019 to inform local people about the site.

• A new interpretation board to be installed focusing on fungi.

• Some trial sessions of outdoor learning for adults with learning difficulties.

• Installation of a new welcoming sign to the site on Troopers Hill Road, including acknowledgement of our main funders.

Funding was secured from The Nineveh Charitable Trust for:

• Work with Natural Learners to run inspiring educational experiences on Troopers Hill for families and school children in 2018.

Access to Nature - Part funded - Part completed

While Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve and Troopers Hill Field are beautiful spaces their accessibility for those with mobility problems is limited. The entrance to Troopers Hill Field from Malvern Rd displays a sign for wheelchair users advising them of the level of difficulty it would take to cross the Field to access the beautiful views from Troopers Hill.

This sign was funded by the Friends of Troopers Hill Stepping Forward project in 2012. The Friends raised funding in 2006 for the installation of a wheelchair accessible path on Troopers Hill

The wide track, leading from Malvern Rd, into the Field, is just compacted stone dating back to at least the 1970s. It is now deteriorating. We have been contacted by one visitor who told us the track is now too difficult for him push his wife along in her wheelchair.

At the end of the track park maintenance vehicles (including those regularly emptying the bins) need to turn, this makes this area particularly muddy.

The east side of Troopers Hill Field, beside the allotment fence is a favourite route for walkers to access Troopers Hill but it becomes very waterlogged and muddy in winter.

The wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill is also deteriorating. The resin surface is breaking up. Bristol City Council has done some filling of potholes but this is only a temporary solution.

For walkers there is an alternative approach to the Hill from Crews Hole via paths and steps through Troopers Hill Woods, but these were difficult to follow until waymarking was installed as part of this project (see below).

The aim of this part of the project is to:

a) Resurface and widen the track across the Field so it is suitable for wheelchair use and for the size of vehicles used by Bristol Parks for grass cutting and emptying bins.

b) Form a proper turning area at the end of the track, so that vehicles can turn safely and will no longer create a muddy area at the entrance to the hill.

c) Install a new tarmac path on the east side of Troopers Hill Field connecting the new path to the children’s play area to the wheelchair accessible path to Troopers Hill.

d) Resurface the wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill

e) Improve & install waymarking to paths through Troopers Hill Woods.
 - Funded & completed

Details of the proposed works on Troopers Hill Field are shown in red on the plan above (click to enlarge) and the photos below.

We were pleased to receive funding for the works in the woodland from the Avon Frome Partnership.

This was completed in August 2018, see photos below.

Applications for funding for the new path and to resurface the track have been submitted, we expect to hear whether we have been successful in late September 2018.

Completed work

New waymarker at the top of the Hill August 2018


Installation of woodland waymarkers August 2018

Proposed work

Proposed connection to existing path.


Path route across existing muddy area.

Deteriorating existing track.


Existing entrance to LNR in winter.

Your views

Friends of Troopers Hill knew that in order for this project to be successful we needed the support of local people. We also needed to be able to demonstrate that support to potential funders, so during 2017 we asked for the views of as many local residents as possible.

We produced a survey that could be completed online via this webpage and also distributed hard copies of the survey to local residents and users of the Hill & the Field. The survey was open for just over a month, with a closing date of 12th July 2017.

The results - were on display at our Bugs & Beasties event on the Hill on 12th August 2017 and can be seen via the link below.

A total of 225 responses were received. The 71 paper questionnaires were copy-typed by volunteers into the online system so the results could be seen as a single report.

Just over 67% of replies said people would visit more often if the work was carried out to improve paths, the track and install a new path.

Nearly 89% of replies were in favour of replacing the rotting wooden boundary fences and gates on Troopers Hill Rd with metal estate fencing as protection against access by motorbikes.

The results of this survey gave Friends of Troopers Hill a clear mandate to go ahead with grant applications to fund the Ways to Nature project and we are now progressing the application process. We are applying for a number of separate grants for different parts of the project.

Full Consultation report (pdf) >>

On this page:
Funders | Project Outline | Protecting Nature | Surveying Nature | Improving Nature Knowledge | Access to Nature | Your views |

<< Friends' Home Page | << Management Plan Page | << Friends' Funds Page

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