Ashton Court nature reserve renamed in memory of Bristol naturalist

Tuesday 7th July 2015

A meadow at the Ashton Court Estate has been re-named in memory of a Bristol naturalist who passed away last year.

The Ashton Court Meadow nature reserve was re-named Justin’s Meadow in memory of Justin Smith, who died last year of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, aged 46.

Justin was Bristol City Council’s Woodland and Wildlife Officer and he also held posts at the Avon Wildlife Trust. He was a renowned expert naturalist and was the meadow’s warden for a number of years.

Former Bristol City Council colleague, Becky Belfin said, "Justin was an inspiration to all who worked with him. Re-naming the meadow after him is a fitting memorial to someone who committed so much of his own time, to looking after such a special site. We hope the new bench and interpretation board will encourage more people to discover and appreciate this beautiful meadow, and all of its wildlife."

He was recently chosen as one of Bristol’s ‘Green Heroes’, for a photo exhibition which is currently on display in the M Shed. During the naming ceremony, there was a celebration of nature and of Justin’s life and legacy, followed by an evening of merriment and music with pieces written especially for the occasion.

A new interpretation board has been placed at the southern entrance to the meadow, which gives some information on the species diversity in and around the meadow.

Avon Wildlife Trust's Director of Conservation, Lucy Rogers, commented, "Justin was one of our finest supporters; a volunteer and a passionate member of the team.We're delighted this meadow has been re-named in his memory and that the Justin Smith Foundation will mean his legacy to wildlife conservation will live on."

Justin's Bench, carved by Andy O’Neill, was also unveiled – a wonderful creation, containing representations of fungi, lichens and leaves - which is an inviting spot to sit and admire the nodding grasses, flowers, and clouds of butterflies and moths.

The naming event was also an opportunity to launch the Justin Smith Foundation. Set up in partnership with the Avon Wildlife Trust, the JSF aims to continue some of the work Justin was doing – to inspire and educate people about fungi, lichens and lower plants: justinsmithfoundation.org