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Ashton Court Estate conservation areas reinstated

Ashton Court Estate conservation areas reinstated

Visitors are being urged to help preserve the ecology of the Ashton Court Estate as temporary conservation areas have been set up.

22 March 2022

Sections of The Plateau located near the Clifton Lodge car park of the 850-acre country park, have been roped off for the spring to offer protection to some of the endangered wildlife on the estate. 

Areas marked with a rope fence should not be entered, and visitors must stay on the mown and marked paths with dogs being kept on a short lead.⁠ This replicates last year’s temporary conservation areas which were put in place following record numbers of visitors during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Parks and Green Spaces service has closed off The Plateau to protect breeding skylarks which make their nests amongst the grass. Increased visitor numbers and numbers of dogs roaming off the lead are believed to have contributed to a decline in their population over the last 40 years. 

After the success of the previous temporary conservation zone in protecting skylark nests, it was decided that they would be put in place again this year.

The area is also home to an important population of green-winged orchids, some of which are in danger of being damaged by the impact of walkers while they are dormant underground.

Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet member for Communities, said: “We recognise how important the use of Ashton Court Estate and the other parks and green spaces throughout Bristol have been for people to exercise and maintain their physical and mental health, and we support and encourage this to continue.

“The action we are taking at Ashton Court Estate is about striking a balance between maintaining these facilities and protecting the ecology within them to ensure the spaces can be used and enjoyed by all citizens well into the future.

“Everyone can play their part in safeguarding the wildlife at Ashton Court by not entering the roped-off temporary conservation areas, keeping their dog on a short lead in the area and sticking to the mown and surfaced paths."

Bristol City Council has introduced the measures as a manager of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The temporary conservation zones are expected to remain in place until the mid-summer. 

For further information and an estate map which includes the location of The Plateau please visit: www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/ashton-court-estate

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Bristol City Council
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