Parks Maintenance

The Bristol Parks proposals to bring the grounds maintenance ‘in-house’ for at least 2 years from March 2015 were agreed at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (1st July).

The Cabinet report can be seen here

As discussed at the BPF meeting on 28th June the plans are for the grounds maintenance work to be brought back in-house which will give more flexibility to change specifications and priorities.

Neighbourhood Partnerships and Park Groups will have more say in what is done in our parks and park groups or others will be able to do more in their parks to improve them if they wish. We will continue the discussions started with Bristol Parks at the meeting about the mechanics of this.

Despite what you may have seen in the media, Bristol City Council / Bristol Parks have made no references to volunteers cutting grass and there are NO PLANS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN.

Core maintenance will continue to be carried out by the current in-house teams and contractors until February. The Contractors’ employees who work on the Bristol contracts will then transfer to BCC via the TUPE process and will then be employed directly.

The Labour group amendment to this year’s budget delayed the proposed £1/2m budget cut to the Grounds Maintenance budget by 12 months to 2015/16. The proposed cut is 8.5% of the existing net budget of £5.9m. (The actual cost of Grounds Maintenance is £7.3m part of which is covered by income so the actual cut is a slightly lower percentage than this; the figures are in the Cabinet Report). As such Bristol could be said to have got off lightly compared to other core cities, however, cuts on this scale will have an impact. Prior to the 2015/16 budget being finalised in February, the BPF committee will be arguing that the year in which Bristol is Green Capital is not the time to make these cuts.

Festival of Nature

Festival-of-Nature-Website-Image1Bristol Parks Forum will have a stand at this year’s Bristol Festival of Nature. We will be in the Green Forum tent – do come along an say hello.

The main festival weekend is on the 14th & 15th June in Millennium and Anchor Squares on the Harbourside.

As well as the weekend events there are our community events running from May to July across Bristol and extending to bath and Chew Valley.

The full list of events can be seen here.

Events in Bristol’s Parks & Green Spaces include events at

Brislington Meadows – 26th May;
Brandon Hill – 27th May;
Horfield Common – 31st May;
Dundry Slopes – 1st June;
Stoke Park – 21st June;
Stockwood Open Space – 29th June;
Kings Weston 6th July;
The Downs – 12th July;
Narroways – 13th July;
Magpie Bottom – 20th July;
Callington Road – 26th July.

TreePips Update

TreePipsLogoMellie May from Tree Pips gave an update on the project at the Parks Forum meeting on 12th April.

Copies of the information she distributed are available via the links below. This is the information that is being sent to all schools in Bristol to inform them about the project. The aim is for every school child to be involved with planting a tree, giving a potential for planting 36,000 trees.

Introducing TreePips (includes contact details)

TreePips FAQs

Tree Planting Off School Grounds with the Tree Pips Team

As all the schools cannot accommodate the number of trees they would like to plant, the team will be looking to plant in local green spaces – parks, green verges etc. If there are areas where you would like to see more trees, please contact the TreePips team, to discuss potential planting plans.

On the Monday after our meeting Mellie presented a sample lesson to the Tree Forum (who were mostly well behaved) to give a feel for the important educational part of the project. The link below gives a list of lesson plans that TreePips are offering to schools. This is a work in progress, and will be added to throughout the duration of the project. It is also intended to add resources to the BCC website so teachers can continue to teach children about trees long after the project ends.

TreePips Educational Topics

If anyone would like to offer suggestions on topics to teach, the team are open to ideas and will gratefully accept any contributions.

TreePips are in the process of setting up their website at and you can follow them at

Other news about tree planting in Bristol, including how you can sponsor a tree is available at

The Tree Forum website is at

Bristol Walking Festival

BristolWalkingFestivalLOGOThe UK’s largest urban walking festival is taking place in Bristol this year between Saturday 26 April and Monday 26 May. Back by popular demand, the festival has now grown into a month-long event with over 150 walks to choose from.

Many Park Groups are organising walks as part of the Festival and of course many of Bristol’s parks and green spaces will be visited during the walks.

The walks have been designed to appeal to regular and not-so-regular walkers of all ages. There will even be some other extra activities to ensure everyone can enjoy the festival. This is your chance to get out and explore Bristol in a whole new light whilst enjoying some fresh air and exercise.

The festival launches at City Hall on Saturday 26 April between 11am to 5pm. There will be lots of stalls and led walks, so come along and get a taste of what lies in store over the next few weeks.

Bristol Walking Festival 2014 is organised by Bristol City Council in partnership with Bristol Ramblers and supported by Bristol Green Capital, SHINE and Visit Bristol. Full details of all the organised walks can be found in the walking festival programme which is available from Bristol Central Library, local libraries and the Bristol Tourist Information Centre (next to the watershed) or online at

Park Byelaws

As mentioned at the BPF meeting on Saturday, the Full Council meeting on 18th March will be considering the proposed byelaws.

The proposed byelaws and the list of parks that they will apply to are included in the report at item 10B at in the meeting papers that can be seen on the Council’s website here. The report also details the results of last year’s public consultation.

Most of the byelaws are written such that the activity is prohibited except in designated areas. For example byelaw 27 says: ‘No person shall in any waterway cast a net or line for the purpose of catching fish or other animals except in a designated area for fishing’.

So it is not the intention to ban all the activities in all parks. Once the byelaws are agreed there will be a process of agreeing which activities need to be banned in which areas. Bristol Parks will then be able to vary the designated areas if particular problems arise.

In the report the Council says:
‘By introducing byelaws, there is no intention to restrict people’s freedom to use parks and green spaces or to impose a blanket ‘ban’ on the activities covered in the proposed byelaws. The aim is only to tackle activities that are of an anti-social nature and cause considerable nuisance to other parks users and local residents’.

The byelaws have the support of the Police, who along with PCSOs and Council Officers will be involved in the enforcement process where required. They are are based on model byelaws Set 2 (2006) published on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) website, subject to minor amendment to reflect the issues in Bristol’s parks and open spaces.

Any public statements for the meeting need to be submitted by 12 noon on 17th March 2014 by email to or faxed to 0117 9222146 or sent to Bristol City Council, Democratic Services Section, Room 220, City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR.

Justin Smith

JustinIt was with great sadness that we started the BPF meeting on Saturday (8th March) with news of the death of Justin Smith from a heart attack the previous weekend. Rob spoke briefly about Justin and Tracey Morgan, Director for Environment & Leisure at Bristol City Council, added her own tribute and told us how much the team would miss him and his expertise.

Since 2009 Justin had been Woodlands & Wildlife officer at Bristol Parks and had also worked on the Wild City Project for the last 18 months. He spoke to the Forum in February last year about managing wildlife sites and about coppicing and woodland management. He also described the excellent work he was doing with Community Payback giving ex-offenders training in habitat maintenance. Justin has also given many Park Groups advice on wildlife issues and was keen to see groups getting actively involved in managing their sites for wildlife.

As well as this work with the Council many Park Group members knew him through the many fungi forays he ran across the city.

There is a Facebook page where everybody is very welcome to leave photos and memories of Justin. You will need to have a Facebook log in to see the contents.

There was also a short tribute to Justin on Shepherd’s Way on BCFM radio on Wednesday 5th March. You can listen to the show via, it’s about 4’50” in.

The thoughts of everyone at the Parks Forum are with his wife, Lucy, their young son, Wilf and all his family and friends. He is a great loss.

Wild City Final Update

Wild City Newsletter 14Over the past three years the Wild City Project has organised a series of events and worked with park groups and others on many of the City’s fantastic and varied nature reserves.

Run by Paula Spiers and Helen Adshead, with additional help from Justin Smith, the project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces Programme, which is managed by Natural England under the Access to Nature Scheme. Wild City focused on 7 ‘key sites’ and also worked with 10 other ‘network sites’. Benefits have included improved access and local awareness of the sites. Many Bristol people, including the more vulnerable and under privileged, have been introduced to the sites and shown the opportunities they provide to enjoy nature and the outdoors without travelling out of the City.

Sadly the funding for the project only covered three years and the project has now come to an end. The Wild City Project followed on from the equally successful ‘Wildspace!’ and ‘Nature in the City’ projects that between them ran from 2002 to 2008. While there are many long term benefits from the project it is disappointing that at the moment there is no funding available to allow the project to continue.

The Wild City team has now published their final newsletter and this can be seen via the link below. As well as looking back on the three years of the project, Wild City is able to announce through the newsletter that 4 of their sites are about to be designated as Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) – Avon New Cut, Lamplighters Marsh, Narroways and The Northern Slopes. This will bring the total number of LNRs in Bristol to 12, see

Wild City Newsletter – Final Update…

Budget Set for 2014

Bristol City Council’s budget for 2014/15 was set at the Full Council meeting on 18th February.

The important news for park groups was that the proposed cut of £500,000 per year to the grounds maintenance budget was withdrawn as part of a last minute amendment. This followed the earlier withdrawls of the £120,000 cut to supervision at Hengrove play area; £180,000 of other estates costs and the propososed closure of public toilets.

In addition there is a new £500,000 revenue fund for ‘parks & play’, which is in part funded by a cut of £300,000 to tree planting and maintenance. There is additional funding for tree planting in the next two years from the Bristol Tree PiPS project.

The Budget also includes ‘business efficiency savings’ of £49,000,000. As part of these savings there will be changes to management structure of Bristol Parks. Details of these changes have not yet been published.

The implications of the Budget and the managment changes will be discussed at the next BPF meeting on Sat 8th March.

Bristol City Council Statement on Budget Agreement.

Bristol Festivals & Events 2014

Below is a list of the major Festivals & Events in Bristol for 2014 that are of particular relevance to Park Groups.

A much longer list of list of events in Bristol can also be seen at:

Please email us if you know of any events that you think we should add to this list.

26th April to 26th May

Bristol Walking Festival

The Festival will comprise a month of walks and events starting with a launch at City Hall on Saturday 26th  April with guest speakers, information stalls and local led walks.


1st June

The Big Lunch

Take part in the annual get-together for neighbours…


1st to 8th June

The Big Jubilee Tidy Up

Keep Britain Tidy are organising their biggest EVER tidy up to mark their 60th Anniversary.


14th & 15th June

Festival of Nature Weekend

As well as the weekend events on the Harbourside, there will be a week of events leading up to it and an outreach project running from May to July.

14th to 22nd June

BIG Green Week

the UK’s festival of eco ideas, art and entertainment – will be back in the centre of Bristol for the week following the Festival of Nature.

12th to 27th July

Festival of Archaeology

A national festival with Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives organising local community events.

18th to 20th July

Bristol Harbour Festival

Lots going on around the harbour, Queens Square and Castle Park

25th July to 3rd August

Love Parks Week

This year Love Parks Week will be ramping up its fight for parks and encouraging the creation of a year round movement with a launch of a new brand – ‘Love Parks’, after all a park is for life not just for summer.

7th to 10th Aug

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Some of Bristol’s green spaces make great viewing spots for the mass ascents.

Tree PiPS Planting Events

treebristolThere will be a launch event for the Tree PiPS project at Oasis Academy Bank Leaze on 25th February. This will be a closed event for the school but will be followed by a public event on Thursday 27th at Newquay Road Playground and then further tree planting events in March.

Tree PiPS will plant 36,000 trees across Bristol over the next three years by involving all Bristol’s primary school aged children in a tree-based education programme leading to each child planting a tree. They will be working with communities and partners to see these trees planted in school grounds, green spaces, streets and front gardens.

Public events start at 10am and run until the trees have been planted. Tree PiPS provide all the trees, tools and guidance you will need. Wear warm waterproof clothing and stout footwear.

Dates and venues:

  • Thursday 27 February 2014 – Newquay Road childrens’ playground, Knowle, Meeting point: in the playground off Newquay Road
  • Monday 3 March 2014 – Old Quarry Park, Henleaze, Meeting point: in the park off Henleaze Road entrance
  • Tuesday 4 March – St Augustine’s Park, Whitchurch Park, Meeting point: near the childrens’ playground in the north end of the park
  • Wednesday 5 March – Doncaster Road open space, Southmead, Meeting point near the childrens’ playground, access from Doncaster Road or Greystoke Avenue
  • Thursday 6 March – Redland Green, Redland, Meeting point : Redland Green Farm (Redland Green allotment entrance)
  • Thursday 6 March – Brook Street childrens’ playground, Easton, Meeting point: in the playground off Brook Street

For more details see