Posts Tagged ‘nature reserve’

The Ashton Gateway Site

The Ashton Vale Fields Site of Nature Conservation Interest, when taken in relation to Colliter’s Brook, has the potential to be a Forest Gateway Site.

In a sense, the Ashton Gateway is a subsidiary site, but it is essential to the proper functioning of the Primary Forest of Avon Gateway Site, based on Ashton Court and Leigh Woods.

From the point of view of the Friends of the Community Forest Path, Ashton Court is poorly linked to Leigh Woods, being divided from it by the busy A369. The only effective link is a gap in the estate wall onto the mountain bike trail near the miniature railway. We prefer to think in terms of a Clifton Suspension Bridge as the Gateway, because if you go over it, it makes a clear Gateway from the City into Somerset. (If you go under it, it is a Gateway to America – so that in two senses, the Bridge is a Gateway to the West.)

For a Gateway to work as an effective means of leading people out of the City into the Countryside, there has to be a convenient return route. Those who can keep going all the way round the Community Forest Path would be considered exceptional by most people. Less intimidating goals are required. The clockwise route from the Suspension Bridge via Leigh Woods is at least fifteen miles long and returns via the M5 bridge at Avonmouth – again too long for most. The shortest anticlockwise return is through the Burgh Walls section of the Avon Gorge SSSI, which is fine, but it doesn’t touch Ashton Court or Leigh Woods. The only practical route is a modified version of the Community Forest Path route along North Road (past Leigh Woods) and across the A369 to the hole in the wall near the miniature railway to the Green man in the Deer Park.

From the Green Man, the shortest return to Clifton is via Kennel Lodge Road and Clannage Road, and either the footbridge over the railway near the Police Kennels and Stables or Greville Smyth Park via a series of tunnels and bridges. Neither of these is particularly satisfactory due to the amount and speed of the traffic on Clannage Road and the fear that many people (especially women) feel using underpasses.

So, the only really satisfactory return route is via the Ashton Gateway.

On the City side, the Gateway links via Colliter’s Brook to Greville Smyth Park, which is close to Southville and Bedminster, and via the railway bridge over the Avon to Hotwells and Clifton Wood.

On the Country side, the Gateway links to the Community Forest Path at Bower Ashton and Long Ashton and via Colliter’s Brook to Dundry and beyond. It also provides an essential link to the Malago Greenway, which joins Bedminster, Windmill Hill, Headley Park and Bishopsworth to the Community Forest Path.

Key places linked to the Ashton Gateway are the Create Centre and the Riverside Garden Centre, together with pubs in Hotwells and Clifton Wood. If the New Stadium is built, that too could play a key role, especially if a path were dedicated alongside Colliter’s Brook through the old Ashton Gate site.

See www.bower-ashton.co.uk/colliters-brook.htm

And www.natureinthecity.org.uk/AshtonVale/Colliters2009 for some pictures etc.

Lawrence Weston Gateway

Lawrence Weston City Farm was suggested as a Forest Gateway Site by the Forest of Avon Team, because it is closely linked to the Lawrence Weston Moor Local Nature reserve, and because it is close to a population centre (Lawrence Weston).

It is of interest because it can be joined to the Community Forest Path by linking paths at the Iron Bridge, at Berwick Lodge, via Hill End Drive to Blaise car park and at the railway bridge off Meadowland Road. A link through Haw Wood (another potential Gateway Site) might also be possible.

The present administration at the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled in Henbury are ideally placed to catalyze the development of this Forest Gateway Site as they have taken over management of that part of Lawrence Weston Moor that is not managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust. They have already improved access to the Moor by providing rudimentary stiles and will be hosting a footrace in January, which will explore key areas of the Lawrence Moor Gateway Site.

ACTION

1) Establish the right of way between the City Farm and the Local Nature Reserve between the playing fields and the M5 by collecting evidence of uninterrupted use over 20 years.

2a) Open up the path to the Moor around Bankleaze School by persuading PROW officers to act and by offering support with path clearing.

2b) Alternatively, negotiate a permissive path round the other side of Bankleaze School on an apparently well-trodden route.

3) Create PROW across Moor from LNR to the  creepway under railway beside M5 by negotiation with landowner.

4) Establish status of PROW from Moor to Hill End Drive.

5) Establish PROW from Meadowland Road to Haw Wood by collecting evidence of continuous use over 20 year period.

6) Work to keep the above paths clear of brambles and nettles etc.

7) Clear brambles and nettles from path alongside motorway towards Berwick Farm and then to CFP at Berwick Lodge.

8) When the above is carried out, it would be a good idea to clear paths through Haw Wood.