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Friends of Troopers Hill 'Ways to Nature' Project

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

'Ways to Nature' is a new project for which we are seeking funding during 2018 following consultation carried out in 2017. Scroll down or use the links above to find out more about the different aspects of the project.

Funders

Having shown through the consultation that we have support for this project we are in the process of applying for funding to make it happen.

We have secured funding for two smaller parts of the project:

Improving Nature Knowledge - The Nineveh Charitable Trust are funding Natural Learners to run inspiring educational experiences on Troopers Hill for families and school children.

Access to Nature - We have received funding for the works in the woodland from the Avon Frome Partnership.

To achieve everything described on this page we will need around £125,000; we are putting together packages of work and making a series of applications. Grant applications take time to put together; it is necessary to collect quotes; letters of support and other information but we are hopeful that we can raise the full funding by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Project Outline

Our aims are to:

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

• Carry out surveys of invertebrates and other wildlife to inform a review of the management plan;

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

• Improve access to Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve across Troopers Hill Field and through Troopers Hill Woods;

Protecting Nature

The existing boundary fencing on Troopers Hill Rd was installed in 1992. The wooden fence, which includes 3 kissing gates and a contractors gate, is now rotting and close to collapse (photos below).

If the fence collapses the Local Nature Reserve will be open to access by motorbikes. This would represent a danger to the people and dogs using the Hill and have a severe, negative impact on the site’s ecology.

Before kissing gates were installed at the entrances to Troopers Hill Field it was not unusual for motorbikes to be seen on Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve. Police were good at responding to calls and on at least one occasion a biker was fined but the problem was only solved by physical barriers. Motorcycles very occasionally still find their way through the barriers but swift action has meant that individuals usually only make a single visit.

The proposal is to replace the rotten fencing and gates with black, metal estate fencing and gates. This would only be installed on those sections where scrub does not act as a natural barrier.

Metal estate fencing, a contractor’s gate and a kissing gate (shown left) were successfully installed on the Greendown boundary of Troopers Hill in 2008 using funds raised by the Friends of Troopers Hill. This was a long term solution that blends in well with landscape.

Troopers Hill Rd Entrance D – Summer 2016

   

Troopers Hill Rd Entrance E – Summer 2016

 

Troopers Hill Rd Entrance F – Summer 2016

Surveying Nature

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

The plan acknowleges the importance of the site for people and the projects set out above will ensure that the site is secure and accessible for the next 10 years.

However, with respect to the ecology and bio-diversity of the site it is now time for a full scale review of the plan. This will involve a review of the effectiveness of the management of the site over the past 10 years and the aims for the future.

As part of this it is important to carry out detailed surveys to establish what species are present on the Hill and whether ther have been any detectable changes over the last 10 years.

Based on the results of the management plan we shall commission some additional habitat management works during the winter of 2018/19.

Improving Nature Knowledge - Part funded

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.

As part of this project we will aim to:

• Hold a series of walks throughout 2019 to inform local people about the site.

• Install a new interpretation board will be installed focusing on fungi.

• Work with Natural Learners to run inspiring educational experiences on Troopers Hill for families and school children.
 Funding for this has been secured from The Nineveh Charitable Trust

• Run some trial sessions of outdoor learning for adults with learning difficulties.

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

Access to Nature - Part funded

While Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve and Troopers Hill Field are beautiful spaces their accessibility for those with mobility problems is limited. 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, is just compacted stone dating back to at least the 1970s. It is now deteriorating. We have been contacted by one visitor who told us the track is now too difficult for him push his wife along in her wheelchair.

The wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill is also deteriorating. The resin surface is breaking up. Bristol City Council has done some filling of potholes but this is only a temporary solution.

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.

For walkers there is an alternative approach to the Hill from Crews Hole via paths and steps through Troopers Hill Woods, but these can be difficult to follow.

The aim of this part of the project is to:

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.

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.

c) Resurface the wheelchair access path on Troopers Hill

d) 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.

e) Improve & install way marking to paths through Troopers Hill Woods. Funded

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

We are pleased to have received funding for the works in the woodland from the Avon Frome Partnership.

Proposed connection to existing path.

 

Path route across existing muddy area.

Deteriorating existing track.

 

Existing entrance to LNR in winter.

Your views

Friends of Troopers Hill knew that we were only likely to win funding for this project if we could show that local people supported it, 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:
Funders | Project Outline | Protecting Nature | Surveying Nature | Improving Nature Knowledge | Access to Nature | Your views |

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