Narroways finally gained the statutory designation of Local Nature Reserve under section 21 of the National parks & Access to the Countryside Act in spring of this year. These are places with wildlife that are of special interest locally, which offer opportunities to learn about nature. Bristol City Council leases the site to the Narroways Millennium Green Trust to manage the small but diverse habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of local people. This affords Narroways and the area round it, additional protection from development.
The Trust took the opportunity this year to make further improvements to the reserve. We commissioned The Conservation Volunteers to put in new steps and improve the paths that had been particularly muddy in the past. The Trust also negotiated and fenced, with the help of Bristol City Council, a further 300m2 of woodland that had previously been fenced outside the site. Now this area will be kept just for wildlife and enhanced with nesting boxes for birds, log piles for amphibians and insects and more.
The most noticeable reserve improvement is the magnificent new three metre steel signpost/sculpture in Narroways Cutting designed by Kevin Hughes. With direction pointers to Boiling Wells, Ashley Hill and Mina Road/Stottbury Road no one needs to get lost on the site again! It is topped by the Narroways logo, which includes a steel version of a Marbled White butterfly on top. It took a large team of volunteers in October to haul the parts up to Narroways cutting, dig a hole for the sub base and erect the signpost. On Saturday 29th October we had a little ceremony to celebrate the event, with a guest appearance by Steve England who foraged and cooked up some wild food for the occasion. A couple of bottles of sparkling wine were also found and a couple of short speeches made.
In addition a new notice board has been erected on the hill to give more up to date information about Narroways. A new donation scheme has been set up which enables dog walkers (and anyone else!), the most frequent Narroways users, to donate towards the upkeep and improvements on Narroways. For more information go to: http://www.narroways.wordpress.com/donate or alternatively, you can donate £5 by using a mobile phone to text the following: Text NWMG16£5 to 70070 to donate £5 to Narroways.
Narroways is run entirely by volunteers and needs the support of local visitors to the hill to be able to look after it for the benefit of wildlife and anyone who needs a quiet breathing space in the city.