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Bristol has more green spaces than any other British city and a wealth of urban wildlife. There are over 80 designated wildlife sites in the city most of which are managed by the council. They include everything from the Avon Wildlife Trust’s nature park on Brandon Hill to the spectacular Avon Gorge and contain some wonderful wildlife - from skylarks and kingfishers to cowslips and ancient oaks. You can also discover wildflower meadows, bluebell woods, streamside walks, wildlife ponds and hillsides carpeted with heather.
Bristol Parks is working to look after its parks for wildlife and to increase people’s enjoyment and understanding of wildlife in the city. We are involved in a wide range of major conservation projects, from introducing wild flower meadows into parks and designating Local Nature Reserves, to monitoring rare plants on the Avon Gorge and organising wildlife events with local people.
We are also a partner in The Bristol Biodiversity Action Partnership. Nature conservation issues are often a material consideration in development control and you can get information here on biodiversity and the planning system.
Fascinating facts about Bristol's wildlife
- Peregrine falcons returned to nest in Bristol in 1990. They nearly became extinct in the 1960s due to widespread pesticide use and last nested in the Avon Gorge in 1934.
- Common lizards live less than two miles from the city centre in allotments in St Werburghs - they are the gardener's friend, eating many pests.
- Bristol has one of the largest badger populations of any city in the UK.
- Bristol used to have the largest fox population anywhere in the world. In 1996 Mange disease nearly wiped them out but numbers are now recovering.
- Bristol has three rare plants named after it (all external links) - the Bristol Onion, the Bristol Rock-cress and the Bristol Whitebeam - all are growing in the Avon Gorge and found nowhere else in Britain.
- The Severn estuary is an internationally important area for large flocks of wintering wildfowl and waders, so much so that it has received a European designation as a special protection area for birds.
- Many hedges several centuries old survive in Bristol, and many of the city's older streets follow the lines of hedges they replaced.