Brandon Hill and Cabot Tower
Brandon Hill was a pioneering example of urban conservation, opened by Sir David Attenborough in 1980.
Avon Wildlife Trust
A haven for wildlife and wildflowers in the heart of Bristol
Brandon Hill nature reserve is over 30 years old! Avon Wildlife Trust were a pioneering organisation in the urban conservation movement and in 1980, the Trust partnered with Bristol City Council to transform five acres of urban parkland on Brandon Hill into a haven for wildlife - Brandon Hill nature reserve was born.
Brandon Hill is a fuelling station for migrating birds, a prominent green oasis as they follow the river valley. In winter, it shelters flocks of redwings and fieldfares, who are escaping the freezing conditions in Northern Europe. In summer, the park is awash with cowslips, oxeye daisies and knapweed, which attracts butterflies and bees all summer long. Come spring, the wildlife pond is full of frogspawn and toads, which are seen migrating across the pathways. Foxes and pipistrelle bats can be spotted in the early evening and breeding finches, tits, thrushes and warblers sing from the woodland edges.
The top of Brandon Hill commands a stunning view of the city towards the River Avon, before the river takes a sharp bend to the north to flow through the Avon Gorge, where you can find our Bennett's Patch and White's Paddock nature reserve.
Brandon Hill is thought to be the oldest public park in the country. Granted to the council in 1174 by the Earl of Gloucester, it was sublet to farmers for grazing until
1625 when it became a public open space. It was then used for activities including hay-making and clothes drying! During the Civil War, Brandon Hill was a key point in the defence of the city and there are remains of a fort and earthworks to the west and south of the Cabot Tower.
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Brandon Hill is owned by Bristol City Council and managed by agreement.
Species and habitats