New Avon Gorge nature reserve gets full planning permission

Thursday 13th November 2014

Image credit: Michael LloydNew urban nature reserve in Bristol's Avon Gorge

Full planning permission has been granted for a new nature reserve in Bristol's Avon Gorge. Avon Wildlife Trust's Bennett's Patch and White's Paddock – based at the former Bristol and West Sports Ground – will be getting a make-over this winter ready for it's launch in spring next year.

The next steps for creating the new 12-acre urban reserve will make it easily accessible for everyone to enjoy the wildlife.

Bevis Watts, chief executive of the Avon Wildlife Trust said: "We are delighted to announce that the final planning permission is in place, and we can continue full steam ahead to fulfil the conditions and start work on what we hope will be a valuable nature reserve in the Avon Gorge.

"Bennett's Patch & White's Paddock provides a step change opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of creating homes for wildlife in the Bristol and West of England region.

"It also provides opportunities to harness public enthusiasm, work with community groups and create partnerships during European Green Capital 2015 and beyond. One of these new partnerships is with Bristol's HAB housing who we look forward to working with on the development of our volunteer huts. It's fantastic to have them on board."

Work set to begin imminently includes building 'access for all' footpaths, replacing the reserve's boundary fence and creating three ponds and dipping platforms.

During 2015 the trust will be soil stripping, seeding and planting to create wildflower meadows, native woodland and hedgerows.

Work will also begin with community groups including planting trees with Tree Pips – a new project working with all primary school-aged children across Bristol to promote the benefits of trees.

Avon Wildlife Trust has also submitted a planning application for new volunteer huts, designed in partnership with Kevin McCloud's HAB housing.

Isabel Allen, design director at HAB said: "At HAB our focus is on the spaces in-between housing, creating green spaces that are welcome to people and wildlife alike.

"What we love about this project is that it's all about creating a fantastic outdoor environment – the building is simply a means to allow people to care for and enjoy this fabulous space."

Avon Wildlife Trust plans to use the new Bennett's Patch and White's Paddock Reserve to encourage people from across the city, and beyond, to create new homes for wildlife in their own gardens.

But the project still needs help. Avon Wildlife Trust's Appeal is £10,000 short of the £120,000 needed to fulfil the vision for the site.

To support the appeal, and to donate, visit our JustGiving page or ring the trust on 0117 917 7270.