From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Great places to see wildlife in Bristol

Peregrine falcons, ravens, badgers, hedgehogs, foxes, gulls - there's wildlife aplenty in this European green capital.

Published: December 8, 2014 at 8:44 am
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Portbury Wharf

This Avon Wildlife Trust site was the first to be managed as part of a residents levy initiative. Consent for a nearby housing estate was granted on condition that developers designated this land a nature reserve, with householders meeting the cost of maintaining it. Wildlife highlights include water voles, otters, hairy dragonflies and greater horseshoe bats.

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Brandon Hill

In 1980, this landmark at the heart of Bristol became the first city-centre nature reserve in Britain, bringing hay meadows, ponds and butterfly gardens to a formal park setting.

It is full of cowslips in spring, and in summer ox-eye daisies, knapweed and yellow rattle add a fine splash of colour. Toads, frogs and smooth newts breed here, and grey squirrels (above) are common.

Three Brooks Nature Reserve

Close to the M4/M5 junction, this reserve comprises a lake, grassland, woodland and a trio of streams. It hosted a bioblitz in July – 617 species were found in 30 hours.

Bennett’s Patch and White’s Paddock

A new reserve due to open in 2015 beside the busy Portway road. Avon Wildlife Trust aims to transform the 5ha former sports ground into a mosaic of wildflower meadows, native woodland and ponds, to inspire local people to create habitat in their own communities. Slow-worms are already present.

Leigh Woods

Reached by Brunel’s iconic suspension bridge, Leigh Woods is a wide expanse of deciduous woodland with magnificent pollarded oaks, and a scattering of rarer species such as the wild service tree. Carpets of wood anemone in spring are a classic indicator of ancient woodland.

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Avon Gorge

Linking Bristol with the River Severn, the limestone gorge serves as a wildlife corridor for badgers, hedgehogs and several bat species, and has resident peregrines and ravens. It is botanically rich, with several rare orchids and plants such as Bristol rock-cress, Bristol onion and Bristol whitebeam.

Authors

Sarah McPhersonFeatures editor, BBC Wildlife Magazine
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