Stoke Park improvement work 2018 to 2020

Stoke Park improvement work 2018 to 2020

Information on the improvement works at Stoke Park, volunteering and how to keep informed about the works.

Improvement works are taking place at Stoke Park from 2018 to 2020.

These works are shown in the Stoke Park Restoration Plan (pdf, 3.2MB) (opens new window) .

You can also learn about the works in our Stoke Park Restoration video.

Proposed changes to the restoration plan

Following the last Stoke Park public meeting on 4 July  and meetings with Stoke Park Partnership, Natural England and Historic England, changes have been made to reduce the amount of autumn/winter tree thinning and scrub removal planned for land between and below Pale Plantation and Barnwood. 

For information on the changes see:

More consultations

Tree planting consultation 

For information on a proposed tree planting project at Stoke Park see the One Tree per Child consultation page.

Accessible path proposal

To find out more about plans to upgrade a path in Stoke Park, see the accessible path proposal page. You can give your views on the plans at the public consultation page. The consultation runs until 4 November 2018.

The restoration plan

Following recent public meetings and discussions with key stakeholders, including Stoke Park Partnership group, we have revised the landscape works between and around Barn Wood and Pale Plantation. 

This includes reducing the amount of thinning in secondary woodland to retain 70% canopy instead of 50%, and retaining 10% of scrub instead of 5%.

Restoration works: October 2018 to March 2019

The following works are due to be completed between October 2018 and the end of March 2019:

  • Removing scrub on the sloping ground in the centre of the park
  • Thinning trees in secondary woodland to retain a 70% canopy
  • Continuing to put in fencing, gates and cattle grids to allow grazing
  • Re-seeding part of Purdown with a wildflower and grass mix
  • Laying historic hedgerows, including  banking up and replanting gaps
  • Installing security railings, vehicle and pedestrian gates and cattle grid around the World War II Anti-Aircraft Battery 
  • Restoring a wall at the end of Sir John’s Lane
  • Replanting an historic orchard and re-planting parkland trees

The parts of the restoration plan

Scrub and young woodland

Uncontrolled scrub and young woodland has damaged the 18th Century Thomas Wright parkland landscape and historic views and made some areas inaccessible.  It has also reduced the ecological quality of grassland, particularly the nationally important species-rich grassland.  

Extending cattle grazing

Some parts of the estate are already grazed by cattle and the plan is to extend the amount of parkland that will be grazed in the future.  

Grazing helps stop the spread of scrub and invasive, fast-growing trees, allowing a greater variety of grassland plants and wildlife to flourish.  It also provides a more sustainable and natural way to manage the land particularly where scrub cannot be controlled by mechanical means.

Stoke Park was once grazed by cattle.  As we reintroduce grazing we will install new fences that largely follow the line of old fences, and we’ll also restore historic hedgerows.

Grazing will take place from April to November in different parts of the estate with the cattle being moved between fields. During this time we ask park users to follow the guidance below:

  • Do not approach, chase or feed the cattle
  • You must keep your dogs on a lead at all times in the fields where cattle are grazing. If cattle approach your dog, let it go.
  • There are alternative routes available if park users wish to avoid routes with cattle in.
  • Notices will be put up to advise you when cattle are grazing in a field.
  • Please follow the country code, leave gates as you find them.

Restoring the World War 2 anti-aircraft battery 

The anti-aircraft battery in Stoke Park is an important historic feature which needs to be protected.   

The plan is to clear the area of trees and scrub, protect it from damage with security fencing and graze it with sheep and/or goats. 

Further funding will be sought to take work further to protect the battery from damage and to make the site a place which can be used as a key educational resource.  

Wall repairs

Wall repairs will take place in spring 2018 and 2019. This will happen in the spring because warm weather is needed to set the lime mortar.

Historic hedgerow restoration

We are restoring a historic hedgerow, as shown on the revised restoration plan.  

We have removed scrub and small trees from a corridor 3 to 3.5m wide on either side of the hedgerow. We did this because: 

  • the hedgerow had been damaged by scrub crowding out the less hardy plants
  • the hedgerow needs more light to help it thrive 
  • we need to excavate the ditch on the upslope side of the hedgebank and move the excavated material onto the hedgebank. This will form a planting bed along the hedgerow and bury some of the pleachers laid along the hedgerow, helping create a denser, more species rich hedge
  • we need to install a fence on either side of the hedge to help protect it from livestock

We will keep mature trees in or next to the hedgerow. We have removed branches from some trees to balance them or treat disease or damage.

Over winter, the corridor will be replanted with a species rich hedgerow containing:

  • 50% hawthorn 
  • 10% spindle 
  • 10% buckthorn 
  • 10% blackthorn 
  • 10% hazel 
  • 10% dogwood

In November 2018, we will thin the woodlands next to the hedgerow to 70% canopy cover. We have marked the trees we will keep with red stripes. Small areas of the woodlands will be closed to the public during this this time. We appreciate your ongoing understanding.

Other work

Other restoration work includes:

  • restoration of the heritage wall
  • construction of an access track to enable cattle to be brought onto the site along the boundary by the M32 without damaging the ground

Background to the restoration works

In 2017 we consulted on several conservation and improvement proposals. 

You can see the results of the consultation on the Stoke Park: Future Plans consultation page.

Conservation Management Plan

These restoration works are in response to the consultation, and in line with a conservation management plan.

The Stoke Park Conservation Management Plan provides the context for why the work is taking place and can be found at the bottom of the Stoke Park Future Plans page.

Funding the restoration

The proposed work is being funded by a Countryside Stewardship grant awarded by Natural England and money from Stoke Park’s dowry which can only be spent on Stoke Park.

Rules of the Countryside Stewardship grant state that this initial work must be completed within 2 years.

Volunteering 

If you’re interested in getting involved with restoration projects at Stoke Park contact us at stoke.park@bristol.gov.uk

To volunteer with the proposed tree planting project visit One Tree per Child.

Keep informed and give us your feedback

We’ll keep you updated on upcoming work on this page and through information displayed locally as well as updates through social media and local newsletters.

The Stoke Park: Future Plans website contains resources such as a summary of the proposals and conservation management plans.

Also see Avon Wildlife Trust’s position statement about the works taking place.

Our Stoke Park frequently asked questions list (pdf, 269KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 254KB) (opens new window) contains responses to the questions that have been raised for the Stoke Park improvement works.

Public meetings and information walks

You can attend public meetings and free 'walks and talks' led by the Parks team.

Public meetings

19 September: The Old Library, Muller Road

A public meeting was held 19 September at The Old Library on Muller Road. Notes from the meeting on the 19 September are now available:

Stoke Park public meeting notes: 19 September 2018 (pdf, 166KB) (opens new window)

If you have any queries please contact us at stoke.park@bristol.gov.uk 

Stoke Park ecological studies

The value of Stoke Park for wildlife has been reviewed during the process of writing the Stoke Park Conservation Management Plan. 

See our ecological statement and surveys for more information: