Wildlife group

Welcome to the wildlife page.

Members: 21
Latest Activity: Oct 30, 2019

Work of the Wildlife Group

Comments for the Wildlife group are posted below this introduction to the work of the wildlife group.


Our formal ‘Victorian’ park might not seem to provide much in the way of interesting habitat for wildlife. Yet we can boast of having over 175 mature trees comprising at least 32 different species. (If you open the 'Trees' tab at the top of the Main page, you can find out more about our park trees.)

Comments for the Wildlife group are posted below this introduction to the work of the wildlife group.
Over 14 years ago an earlier wildlife group planted stretches of hedge along Effingham Road and opposite St Bart's Church made up of a mix of native tree species and flowering shrubs which have now matured. These attract a variety of birds and insects by offering them a range of food as well as nesting and shelter sites.

We have been steadily improving on this existing biodiversity. In agreement with the Parks department, we have built a pond (2007) seeded a wildflower meadow (2009) and planted additional hawthorn and blackthorn saplings (2009.) We have (2010) persuaded the Parks department to replace their previous severe hedge-cutting regime and institute instead a much more wildlife friendly approach to the cutting and management of the mature hedges which will involve less frequent cuts and allow the plants to grow significantly thicker and higher. This has to be good news for many invertebrate species as well as hedge nesting birds and birds that just use the hedge as a food resource. A shady 'woodland' area between the edge of the depot and the meadow area has been partially planted with shade loving native species: wild garlic, red campion and native bluebells (2011). A further section of this shade area will be similarly planted in 2012.

In September 2012, three diseased cherry trees were cut down in the park.  The trunks were placed in the lower corner between the depot and the shade area. As these slowly rot, they will become a rotting wood habitat, colonised, we hope, by various invertebrates and fungi that feed on and in the wood.

We organise regular morning birdwatch meetings on the third Sunday of the month, usually from September to June, to follow the changing bird populations during the year.

Photographs of the natural history of the park are regularly added to the website which record the natural wildlife and seasonal changes taking place in the park.

The south facing slope below the Bowling Green was cleared (April 2011) of the small ash trees that had seeded themselves here.  Also partial clearance and serious pruning has been carried out on the gorse,bramble,Taveller's Joy (wild clematis) and cotoneaster shrubs that had come to dominate this area.  In their place, a variety of herbaceous plants have been planted which should provide an attractive resource for insects looking for pollen and nectar. 

The following plants form the main body of the planting on the slope:

  • Fragasia vesca                                
  • Thymus drucei                                 
  • Nepeta mussinii                
  • Aubrieta deltoides              
  • Aster novii - belgii                
  • Scabiosa autopurpurea                    
  • Waldsteinia ternata                         
  • Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye'
  • Geranium Macorhizzum 'Ingwersen's Variety'

 If you would like to help in any way in developing the park as a more interesting and attractive place for wildlife, or just to be kept informed of any news and developments relating to the animals and plants of the park, then you are most welcome to join our group; please contact us through this website.

 You can find out about nature reserves managed by Bristol City Council here.

Jo Corke and Simon Randolph.

Discussion Forum

The Value of Different Tree Species for Invertebrates and Lichens

Started by Des Bowring. Last reply by Fo SAP Apr 21, 2017. 5 Replies

Here's an interesting web page that lists the most important tree species for associated invertebrates…Continue

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Comment by Jo Corke on May 6, 2010 at 14:43
When will they be frogs? Frogs can spawn as early as December and as late as April, depending on how warm the weather is. The frogspawn was laid in this pond at the end of February. This is what we expect to happen….
When will they be frogs.doc
Comment by Jo Corke on April 14, 2010 at 12:37
Wildlife Annual Report. This will be presented at the AGM. You can read it in advance here.
AGM Wildlife Report 2010.doc
Comment by Jo Corke on April 4, 2010 at 15:31

Pond Conservation March 2010. Attached. Spring_Newsletter_2010.pdf From Angela Julian, Pond Conservation Supporter Scheme Manager. Tel 01865 483114 If you would like to comment on the articles, or simply pass on any other interesting snippets of information, then please do go to the weblog: Alternatively you can call 01865 483249 or e-mail them on ………………….. Pond Conservation is the UK national charity working for life in fresh waters through research, education, training, practical conservation projects, and influencing national and international policy. Take a look at the Pond Creation Toolkit at: ***Become a Pond Conservation Founding Supporter*** As one of Pond Conservation's first ever supporters, you can help stop the decline of ponds for just £2 a month. Join now at Pond Conservation: The Water Habitats Trust c/o School of Life Sciences Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington Oxford, OX3 0BP. Registered Charity No. 1107708
Comment by Jo Corke on March 25, 2010 at 15:09

The publication of the results of the Big Pond Thaw Survey, 2010, has given valuable new insights into the factors underlying the unusual levels of amphibian deaths that so many people reported to Pond Conservation at the end of the winter. A quick summary drawing out the main findings of the survey which we hope you will find interesting is attached Big_Pond_Thaw_Report_-_March_2010_-_Summary.pdf. There’s a more detailed breakdown of the results on their web-site, which can be reached using the link. They have also updated their advice about what to do with your pond in snowy weather, and added to the advice more generally about the design of ponds. We are pleased to say that St Andrews Park pond was designed and maintained with their advice and we are expecting our amphibians to have survived. If you would like to comment on the results, or simply pass on any other interesting snippets of information, then please do comment on their weblog: Alternatively you can e-mail them on or call 01865 483249. Information received from Angela Julian, Pond Conservation Supporter Scheme Manager, tel 01865 483114
Comment by Simon Randolph on February 14, 2010 at 19:18
Looks more like a raptor to me!! But a good idea to alert people to this Jo.
Comment by Jo Corke on February 14, 2010 at 19:08

Avon Wildlife Trust launches an investigation into why one of the West’s best-loved garden birds – the house sparrow - is disappearing.
House sparrows used to be so common they were regarded as a pest. They have disappeared so quickly in the UK they are now a Red Data Book species of conservation concern. Wild Sparrows has been launched by Avon Wildlife Trust to bring house sparrows back to the cities, towns and villages of the West Country. Trust spokesman Steve Micklewright explains: "The cheeky, chirpy house sparrow used to be one of our commonest birds, but numbers have dwindled so much they are now a species of conservation concern. We are keen to find out why numbers are dropping and where they are hanging out - but we need the public’s help. So we’re asking everyone to take part in the online survey we’re running at and let us know about any house sparrows they see.”
Comment by Simon Randolph on November 8, 2009 at 11:13
Hi Wildlifers,

Nov 8th ‘09

Hugh Holden, the Chair of Bristol Tree Forum has requested, through the Bristol Parks Forum email newsletter, for any suggestions concerning planting of trees in Bristol. The Tree Forum was formed to bring together organisations interested in the management and maintenance of council trees in Bristol, including trees in our streets, parks and green spaces.

The aims of the Bristol Tree Forum are to:

• protect and enhance our urban trees in streets, parks, gardens and all open spaces
• encourage Bristol City Council to ensure the replacement of trees that have been (and continue to be) removed
• establish sufficient funding to ensure the retention of mature trees in our city and slow the present rate of felling
• establish sufficient funding for the planting of new urban trees
• stabilise then increase the urban canopy cover
• work with Bristol City Council to plan for "climate proofing" our city in accordance with predicted urban temperature increases in the next 20 years
• argue for a formulaic approach to ensure that Bristol achieves a sustainable balance between the built form / hard surface and tree canopy cover
• provide a mechanism for open consultation on urban trees issues between local community groups, interested professional bodies and several Bristol City Council departments
• Promote greater understanding of the values of amenity trees and stay up-to-date with current thinking, policy and research

Simon Randolph sent this suggestion to Hugh Holden of Bristol Tree Forum:

A suggestion for your Tree Forum tree strategy plan.

St Andrews Park is well endowed with specimen trees - over 170- but I would guess that most of these were planted when the park was first constructed. We therefore have a beautiful collection (about 32 species) of mainly very large mature trees. But because of this, there is a very real danger that the majority of these will tend to reach the end of their lives over a fairly short time span, perhaps during the next 25 to 50 years. I don't think the Council has planned for this eventuality, though it has generally planted new trees to replace the occasional old or diseased specimens that have died in the past. I believe it now needs to be proactive and plan ahead for the time (which may well be soon) when there will be a significant increase in the frequency with which the park's mature trees start to die off. i.e. trees need to start being planted now to help bridge (literally) the gap when these old trees all start to die over a period of a few years. I would think that the minimum number of new trees that should be considered for such a project would need to be in the order of 30 to 50. The only problem would be to ensure that, wherever possible, the young replacements are planted near to the old specimens while remaining clear of their canopy/shade.

If such an idea is accepted, I would like to further suggest that at least some of the replacements should be oak, of which we have none at present and which would have the potential of significantly increasing the park's biodiversity, an important aim of the Friends of St Andrews Park Wild Life Group.

In conclusion, it is possible, perhaps probable, that if the council could give an estimated cost of this, we could get our Neighbourhood Partnership to agree to provide some of the finance for the planting.


Below is the reply Simon received from Miles Harris, and below that, the reply Miles had from Russell Horsey, the Senior Arboricultural officer for BCC. Clearly this is not a problem unique to St Andrews Park. But we will need to persist with this issue with the Council, otherwise it will doubtless get forgotten.

Hi Simon,

Following the e-mail enquiring about planting trees in St Andrews
Park, I contacted our arboricultural department and they responded with the attached e-mail. I hope this answers any queries you had.

Kind regards
Miles Harris, Community Park Officer (Central)

Subject: Re: Fwd: New Trees St Andrews Park

We would need a structured planting plan for the entire park as we have started with other parks such as Victoria Park, which would then
need consultation and formal agreement.

This would come through PGSS if the site was seen as a priority. The resources would then be needed to pay for additional Landscape Design
time and Tree Officer Time to do this.

This is especially important for areas such as St Andrews Park, due to is current structure. Can you feed back to the relevant parties please.

Until that time we will have to continue with replacing the historic planting structure as and when trees die/fail.

This problem is not specific to St Andrews but across the city and I am hoping that PGSS will kick-start parks improvement plans (which
will include Tree Planting as an element).



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