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Friends of Troopers Hill 'Ways to Nature' Project

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

Project Outline

Our 'Ways to Nature' project started in 2018.

We were awarded funding for this project from a number of different sources, our major funders were:

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Enovert Community TrustIbstock Enovert Trust |

The project is now complete; scroll down or use the links above to find out more about the different aspects of the project.

Project aims:

• Access to Nature - Improve access to Troopers Hill LNR across Troopers Hill Field and through Troopers Hill Woods;

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

• Surveying & Conserving Nature - Carry out surveys of invertebrates and other wildlife to inform a review of the management plan;

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

Access to Nature
- Funded by Enovert Community Trust, Ibstock Enovert Trust, Bristol City Council & Avon-Frome Project

Enovert Community Trust - No longer stuck in the mud at Troopers Hill in St George, Bristol >>

'The Week In' - 18 Nov 2020 - see page 9 (pdf) >>

May 2022 update: Path now resurfaced to the chimney - Report in Bristol 24/7

While Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve and Troopers Hill Field are beautiful spaces their accessibility for those with mobility problems is limited. The steep slopes of the Hill will always limit access for those who are less able from Troopers Hill Road but access across Troopers Hill Field from Malvern Road or Summerhill Terrace avoids the climb up the Hill.

This part of the project was to improve access to Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve across Troopers Hill Field. It included a new path across the muddiest part of the Field and widening and resurfacing of the existing track as well as building a proper turning circle at the end of the track.

We were also able to complete the installation of some waymarking to the paths through Troopers Hill Woods.

With funding in place we were hoping the work on Troopers Hill Field would be completed in the summer of 2019. Unfortunately that was not possible and the wet weather in Autumn 2019 delayed the work further. Work finally started in February 2020 with completion due by the end of March 2020 - but was delayed again due to the Coronavirus crisis, with the work being suspended for five weeks. There was further disruption after the restart with the works finally completed (apart from some minor items and final tidying up) on 4th June when the temporary fencing was removed.

While the task of getting the path surfaced and open had been prioritised in May, final reinstatement and further work around the turning circle was not completed until September 2020.

We have agreed with Bristol Parks that much of the grass on either side of the path and particularly between the path and the allotment fence will be allowed to grow long - as shown here.

Prior to the work starting, the 1980s red slide adjacent to the route of the path had to be removed due to rust making it structurally unsafe. We ran an appeal for funds to replace it, read more here.

Path Works Completion Report (pdf) >>

Path & Track Inauguration - Wednesday 28th October 2020

To celebrate the completion of the last phase of the Ways to Nature Project we held a very small socially distanced ceremony on Troopers Hill Field.

Local resident, Lizzy Horn, unveiled plaques acknowledging our funders - using a ceremonial litter picker.

We were very pleased to be joined by Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary of both Enovert Community Trust and Ibstock Enovert Trust and also Susy from Bristol Parks landscape team.

Completed Path October 2020


Path & Track Construction Progress Photos

Tarmac complete 4th June 2020


Tarmac to track & path 29th May 2020


Works to Malvern Road end of track, final kerbs 19th & 20th May 2020


Tarmac to path 15th May 2020


Works to track 7th & 12th May 2020


Restart - works to turning circle & final section of path 30th April 2020


Path stone base 20th March 2020.


Path Excavation 25th February & edging 5th March 2020.

Herras fencing being erected on the line of the new path, 17th February 2020.


'Before' photos - with line of new path marked

Woodland Path Waymarkers

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 & details below.

New waymarker at the top of the Hill August 2018


Installation of woodland waymarkers August 2018

 Plan showing woodland paths and waymarker locations.
 Details of woodland waymarkers.

Access to Nature - More Information & Background

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, was just compacted stone dating back to at least the 1970s but was showing its age. We were contacted by one visitor in 2016 who told us the track was 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 was making 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. An investigation by students before work started in 2020 proved that this was rainwater that was unable to penetracte the clay capping placed when the Field was part of Malvern Road Tip.

The wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill was also deteriorating. The resin surface was breaking up. Bristol City Council had done some filling of potholes but this was only a temporary solution. We were hoping to be able to fund some repairs to this path with contingency funding allowed in the budget for the path and track works, but there was not sufficient; we were delighted that Bristol Parks were able to fund this work to be carried out in 2022.

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 above).

Detailed aims of this part of the project:

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.
 - Completed

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.
 - Completed

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.
 - Completed

d) Resurface the wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill
 - by Bristol Parks in 2022

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

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

Protecting Nature - Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Wooden boundary fencing was installed on Troopers Hill Rd in 1991. By 2016, the fence, was rotting and close to collapse (photos below).

As part of this project the rotten fencing and gates have been replaced with black, metal estate fencing and gates - this work was carried out in April 2019. This is a long term solution that blends in well with landscape; the fencing matches that installed on the Greendown boundary in 2008.

New fencing has only been installed on those sections where scrub does not act as a natural barrier. The fencing is galvanised steel and was painted black on site after installation. The remaining sections of wooden fence along the road that were no longer required due to the scrub were removed in September 2019.

In the winter of 2019/20 further work was carried out by ParkWork to build new steps leading to the new kissing gates. At the entrance by the lower chimney, now that the old fence had been removed, ParkWork cut back some bramble to open up the entrance.

As part of the work Bristol City Council installed a new dog waste bin at one of the entrances to replace the old one that had been fixed to the old wooden fence.

Collapse of the old fence would have left the Local Nature Reserve open to access by motorbikes. This would have represented a danger to the people and dogs using the Hill and have a severe, negative impact on the site’s ecology.

The combination of the new fencing and the removal of the old fence where it was no longer required has also greatly improved the appearance of the site from Troopers Hill Road.

The completion of the fence was reported in the July 2019 edition of the St George & Redfield Voice (see p4)

Celebration event - Saturday 25th January 2020

To celebrate the completion of the National Lottery Heritage Fund elements of this project we held an event near an entrance from Troopers Hill Road where some of our new fencing was installed.

The event included:

• Displays and information showing what has been achieved with the grant.

• The official unveiling of our new fungi intepretation board.

• Activities for families run by Natural Learners.

• A walk to explain the new Management Plan for the Hill and look at the conservation work that has been done as part of the project.

• Signing of the new Management Plan by Richard Fletcher, Parks Services Manager for Bristol City Council and Susan Acton-Campbell, Chair of Friends of Troopers Hill.

• Singing of a specially written celebratory song.

Photos of the celebration >>

Steps at Entrances January 2020


Completed Fence May 2019


Work in progress 17th April 2019


Before - Summer 2016


Surveying & Conserving Nature - Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

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

A review of the plan of the plan was due in 2017 but funding was not available so we are pleased that the funding for this project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has allowed the review to be carried out.

The review considered the effectiveness of the management of the site over the past 10 years and the aims for the future.

As part of this review we are commissioning surveys to establish what species are present on the Hill and whether there have been any detectable changes over the last 10 years. This includes an Invertebrate Survey by David Gibbs (see below).

The revised plan can be seen on our Management Plan page. A further review of the plan will be completed once we have received the results of the surveys.

The plan was signed at our celebration event in January 2020.

In advance of the plan being published we received advice on the priorities for work to be carried out in the winter of 2018/19. The grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund included an allowance for us to employ contractors to carry our some of this work over two winters. This is additional to the regular works carried out every winter by Bristol Parks and by Friends of Troopers Hill at our Conservation Work Parties. The work is being carried out by Green Mantle who are approved Bristol Parks contractors.

The additional works for winter 2018/19 were focused on three priority areas identified in drafting the new plan described here:

 Priority scrub clearance winter 2018/19.

Works for winter 2019/20 started in December and included clearing regrowth in the areas cleared in 2018/19 and working further east clearing the gorse. Some areas where broom was spreading into the grassland and heathland were also cleared.

The works are described in our December 2019 Newsletter and were discussed at our meeting on 5th December.

We organised a Conservation Walk on Sun 16th Dec 2018 to talk about the plan and additional habitat management works.

A further walk talking about the new plan was held as part of our Celebration Event on Saturday 25th January

We were also able to use some surplus funds from this project, together with some of our own funds to clear the gorse regrowth in the first week of March 2021.

Conservation Work - Gorse removal Winters 2018/19 &2019/20



Invertebrate Survey by David Gibbs

Consultant Entomologist and Naturalist David Gibbs carried out surveys of the invertebrate surveys of Troopers Hill in 2000, 2006 & 2007, so we were especially pleased that he was able to carry out a further survey as part of this project.

Over four visits to Troopers Hill David recorded 321 species of invertebrates. This included 44 species of bee, 6 of which had not been included on our records for Troopers Hill before.

83 species of bee have now been recorded on Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve out of aroundover 270 species of bee in Great Britain and Ireland.

Of the 321 species recorded this year, 83 were Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants) - David notes that this is

"considerably better than found on most surveys highlighting the importance of Troopers Hill for bees wasps and ants".

30 'Key Species' were recorded, four of them of RDB (Red Data Book) quality, David states that

"9.3% is a relatively high proportion of scarce and rare species, but entirely expected from this site and in line with previous surveys".

 Gibbs, D.J (2019). Invertebrate Monitoring of Troopers Hill, Bristol. Report to Friends of Troopers Hill.

 Response to issues raised in Invertebrate Monitoring Report

 83 species of bee found on Troopers Hill (pdf listing)

Full results of recent invertebrate monitoring >>

Improving Nature Knowledge - Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund & Ninevah

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 National Lottery Heritage Fund have funded the following:

• A new interpretation board focusing on fungi.

We worked on the graphic design of this board with Clare Challice of Inkwood Design - Clare also designed our other interpretation boards and our leaflets, giving them all a consistent appearance. John Bailey from the North Somerset and Bristol Fungus Group kindly gave advice on the wording and helped to make sure that the information about fungi was accurate.

The new board was installed in July 2019, see photos below - the image on the board can be seen here along with those of other boards installed as part of earlier projects.


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

This was installed installed at the end of August 2019.


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

The first of these was our Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 28th April.
See our Events page for details of more walks.

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

We worked with Natural Learners and The Hive to run four sessions in 2019.
See videos below.



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.

These are now complete.

Funders - Thank you!

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

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 (p27) >> |

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

We were able to announce at our meeting on 6th December 2018 that we had received funds through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) from both Enovert Community Trust (ECT) and Ibstock Enovert Trust (IET) for the path and track on Troopers Hill Field.

Our local Councillors also supported this part of the project by allocating Community Infrastructure Levy funds through the Area Committee. Our successful application to the Committee was was championed by Cllr Fabian Breckels.

Press coverage of funding for path & track:
| St George & Redfield Voice, January 2019 (see p5) >> | The Week in, 19th Dec 2018 (see p18) >> |

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

The Nineveh Charitable Trust funded Natural Learners to run inspiring educational experiences on Troopers Hill for families and school children in summer & autumn 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 >>

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

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