Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project » Organisations

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Photo of Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project
Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project

The Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project was set up to protect the outstanding wildlife interest of the Avon Gorge and Downs and to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of this site for people and wildlife.

Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project

In 1999 the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project was launched to take action to protect the outstanding wildlife interest of the Bristol side of the Gorge and Downs and to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of this site for people and wildlife. The Project is a partnership of Bristol City CouncilBristol Zoo GardensNatural England (formally English Nature)Society of Merchant VenturersUniversity of Bristol and the Downs Committee. Representatives from these organisations sit on a steering group that guides the work of the Project

Working more closely with the National Trust

The National Trust own and manage part of Leigh Woods. In 2003 the National Trust joined the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project steering group.

What do we do?

We have three areas to our work:

  • Wildlife surveying and monitoring
  • Habitat management work
  • Education

Wildlife Surveying & Monitoring
This work is carried out by local ecologists, often using climbing techniques to access certain areas of the Gorge.

Habitat Management Work

We are working to protect the species-rich grassland areas in the Gorge by controlling the scrub and non-native plants.

The meadow areas on the Downs are also left un-mown during the spring and summer to allow the plants in these areas to flower and set seed.

Education

We provide opportunities for everyone to discover more about and enjoy the wildlife and the landscape of the Avon Gorge, Leigh Woods and Downs. As part of this aim we run a very popular programme of walks, talks, courses, family events and children’s holiday activities. We also run education sessions for school and higher education groups. There are also fun discovery sessions available for play schemes groups.

For people who want to explore the Bristol side of the Gorge and the Downs at their own pace there’s a colourful leaflet calledDiscover the wildlife of the Avon Gorge & Downs. There are a series of six interpretation panels at various points around the Downs. The Downs meadow trail and , Downs bird trail, Downs tree trail and Downs lichen trail leaflets are also available from the Downs tea room (now known as Cafe Retreat).

For those of you wishing to explore the delights of Leigh Woods there’s a leaflet called Welcome to Leigh Woods and a series of information panels placed at strategic points in the woods.

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