The South Side Project
South Side runs between the Community Centre and the Library, with the back edge running parallel to Church Road.
What is the South Side Project?
In 2015, an ecological survey of the south side area was conducted and identified numerous species of flora and fauna native to the area. This section of the park is home to multiple species of protected bird, bats, diverse wood-, grass-, and meadowland, and is an area rich with foraging opportunities.
The FOSGP group is keen to protect and enhance this area, encouraging more species diversity, and educating park users about this area of natural beauty. This is in line with the wider policies of Bristol City, which was declared an ecological emergency in February 2020, due to native species decline and carbon emissions.
To do this, we need to work closely with the Council and the existing area to ensure that any future action is permitted and serves only to enhance the park and its community.
What do we hope to achieve?
With the appropriate permissions and support from the council, we aim to:
- transform the south side into a nature trail: an area to walk through that is rich in native flora and is supportive of its wildlife inhabitants.
- install bat boxes and to host regular Bat Walks with experts in the field. See our coming Bat Walk event here.
- support local butterfly and bee populations with wildflower planting.
- work with the Council to ensure supportive maintenance and mowing practices of the area.
- encourage opportunities for foraging by clearing the area of debris and foliage to make it safer and more accessible.
- work with local groups and schools to create opportunities for community gardening and collaborative projects.
- design, create, and install illustrative and informative sign boards along the trail to encourage learning, and to increase awareness of native wildlife populations and the importance of green spaces
The Plan - this section will be regularly updated as the South Side Project develops and grows
Our initial belief is that before we can plan anything, we need a thorough understanding of what species and wildlife are currently native to the area. Only then can we plan actions that are positive and supportive.
Stage One: Ecological Survey of the South Side
We have made contact with Bristol City Council, the Avon Wildlife Trust, and the University of the West of England
- Council: we have informed the Council of our plans to submit a proposal for re-wilding the south side area and are keen to work collaboratively with them throughout.
- Avon Wildlife Trust: the trust signposted us to an ecological surveying consultancy, Wild Service. We have been given a quote for a full ecological surveyance of the area. Ultimately, the council must grant permission to utilise these services.
- University of the West of England – we have had promising interest from a Professor at the University regarding collaborating with us on the South Side Project. We will keep you updated with news as we can!
**UPDATE** We have just discovered that Bristol City Council have been undertaking ecological surveys on several sites across Bristol, including the South Side area of St George park.
Once these surveys are completed, Kate has an appointment scheduled with Becky Belfin, Bristol City Council’s Nature Conservation Officer.
We can then move forward with planning what we would like to do with the area, create a management plan and proposal, and obtain permission from the council.
Once an ecological understanding of the area has been established, the South Side Project team will liaise with the council and local groups and individuals that can support us in creating a management plan of the area that outlines how it can be enhanced and maintained.
An initial assessment of the area has found many avenues of potential interest, including:
- Foraging opportunities – the area has a prevalence of blackberries, strawberries, wild garlic, and fruit trees that can be made more accessible through clearing the area of debris and excess nettle. An old walking path has been identified running along the back wall (closest to Church Road), which could be cleared of debris and excess foliage to create a “nature walk” or “foraging trail” space.
- Bats (Pipistrelle and Noctule) – bats are a protected species and the park is extremely privileged to have such occupants. We are holding a Bat Walk with multi award winning wildlife conservationist Steve England on Sunday August 30th 2020 to gather further information about our resident bats, and to raise awareness amongst the community of their presence and need for protection. Moving forward we hope to install bat boxes, and if successful, hold reoccurring Bat Walk events in the park.
- Diverse types of land – the area encompasses woodland, meadowland, and grassland, all of which are vital to a thriving and diverse habitat. We hope to liaise with the Council in regard to the mowing management of this area, and perhaps look at planting native and wildflower seeds to encourage further growth. These areas are ideal for butterflies, bees and other pollinators, as well as moths.
The FOSGP group is open, accessible, and collaborative and we always welcome advice, tips, and feedback from all users of the park.
If you have any queries or comments, please email us as : firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us map the South Side area by joining our Community BioBlitz 2020.