Avon Wildlife Trust and Forest of Imagination to submit a joint proposal for a Nature and Art Discovery Centre at the Entry Hill golf course in Bath

In collaboration with Forest of Imagination, Avon Wildlife Trust will submit a business proposal to BANES Council to reimagine the 10-hectare (ha) Entry Hill golf course into an intergenerational sustainable, wildlife-rich, inspiring and playful nature park, enriched by art and providing nature-based learning for all.

This will be a permanent home for Forest of Imagination and a setting for high quality contemporary sculpture and art in the landscape. In this hidden valley, local people and visitors will be immersed in a unique nature-based cultural experience in keeping with the ambition for Bath to become a Landscape City.

Inclusivity, wellbeing, creativity and action: the benefits for local communities and visitors

We will open up the current site, making it accessible for all as well as making it part of Bath’s network of walking and cycling opportunities. This increased inclusivity will help connect local communities and visitors to nature and the wider landscape.

Our proposal will address mental and physical health through the provision of nature and arts-based wellbeing activities as well as the creation of features that encourage active play and inclusive walking and cycling trails.

The use of art and sculpture will provide opportunities for local communities to explore, play and learn about nature, climate change and the positive actions they can take for nature and their own wellbeing. By engaging large numbers of people with the climate crisis and ecological emergency, we will inspire them to act and support action through the development of knowledge and skills.

Addressing the Climate and Nature Emergency and instigating a green recovery for Bath

We are confident that Entry Hill’s redevelopment into a nature park would deliver a net gain for biodiversity in Bath, improve people’s wellbeing, and help to tackle air pollution through natural solutions such as tree planting and by improving the ability of Entry Hill to absorb and store carbon through the restoration of soil structure and meadow creation.

By developing Entry Hill for people and for nature, our proposal will aid a green recovery for Bath on a landscape scale. It will also offer something new for visitors and residents by establishing a nature-rich landscape with a mixture of connected habitats such as woodland, wood pasture, grassland and wetlands. These habitats are ideal for foraging bats from the nearby Combe Down Stone Mines. By linking up with nearby habitats, we will create valuable green infrastructure that contributes to the West of England Nature Recovery Network.

This will breathe new life into the city of Bath, as Entry Hill will act as an inspiring “green lung” for nature, people and local businesses and help protect this wildlife-rich landscape for the future. This site will deliver a financially viable, unique and intergenerational visitor experience which could generate income for both organisations, BANES and fund further environmental projects for local communities. It will also provide a hub for Avon Wildlife Trust's activities in Bath, enabling us to do more in the city, engage and inspire Bath residents with nature and help maintain Bath’s world-renowned heritage status.

Entry Hill nature park - wellbeing image

Ian Barrett AWT CEO

“As the Council has recognised, we’re facing a climate and nature emergency locally as well as globally, with accelerating declines in wildlife undermining the natural systems on which we depend. Entry Hill presents an opportunity to bring wildlife back into the heart of the city. Bath is an internationally important area for wildlife so a nature reserve at Entry Hill could provide a vital link in the “wildlife corridors” needed across the city to support nature’s recovery. Opening the site to the public will enable people to get closer to nature, and have enormous health benefits for local residents and visitors. We’re excited about the possibility of working with Forest of Imagination and House of Imagination to create a nature-rich sculpture park, with arts-based activities. If our proposal is accepted, we want to talk with local residents so we can develop a site that works for everyone. This project will put a significant building block in place in tackling the climate and nature emergency in Bath.”        

Amy Coulthard AWT Director of Conservation       

“I believe an outdoor nature and art park such as the one proposed by Avon Wildlife Trust, Forest of Imagination and House of Imagination will be needed now more than ever as the peak of the pandemic passes and we face up to a global nature and climate emergency. Entry Hill will become be a place of recovery for people and nature. Somewhere people can rebuild connections with each other, and experience the healing power of art, creativity and time spent in nature.”

Andrew Grant Co-founder Forest of Imagination

“This is a unique opportunity to bring nature and art together to create a real statement about our relationship with the natural world whilst unlocking the potential of this site to be enjoyed by our wider community and visitors to the city. It is very exciting to imagine developing this Nature and Art Discovery centre where you could visit the very best contemporary outdoor sculpture in a wildlife rich environment.”

Dr Penny Hay, Co-founder Forest of Imagination

“Art, creativity and nature are central to our wellbeing as a community. A designated centre for art and nature would highlight the importance of our imagination and our connection to nature, especially at this time, and to inspire future generations to care for our environment.”

Next steps

We are preparing an outline business case that will be put forward by mid-July, and considered alongside two other planning proposals for the site. A decision will be made at a BANES cabinet meeting on the 22nd of July. 

To find out more about this proposal and get an idea of our vision for a nature and art park at Entry Hill in Bath, download this PDF.
 

Entry Hill nature park - landscape image