On 12th January 2016 Narroways Millennium Green became an official Local Nature Reserve (LNR). Before then it was just a ‘Site of Nature Conservation interest’ (SNCI), which has a lower level of protection.
It has been a major goal of the Narroways trustees for some time to gain this extra protection for the site, situated as it is in central Bristol with the risk of development pressures. It also emphasises the importance of wildlife and biodiversity at Narroways, and its educational value, especially to local children, some of who regularly use it in ‘Forest Schools’ in the area.
Narroways Millennium Green Trust, the site lease-holders, signed up a Nature Reserve Agreement with Bristol City Council, the site free-holders under the terms of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The contract is for an initial 21 years.
Included in the agreement is a 3-year management plan for Narroways to support and encourage wildlife and biodiversity on the reserve. This includes an annual haycut in late summer to encourage flowering meadows, cutting back of bramble where it encroaches too much and installing more bird and bat boxes. St Werburgh’s City Farm Community Gardens are also within the new reserve and farm staff and volunteers will encourage biodiversity on the site as well as growing crops and providing an excellent facility for disabled volunteers.
Narroways joins other new Local Nature Reserves in Bristol such as Northern Slopes in Knowle and the Avon New Cut, and longer established LNRs such as Trooper’s Hill and Royate Hill. All have a fantastic variety of plants and animals and need to be cherished. http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/lnr/15lnrs01.pdf
Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are sites containing special interest within the administrative area of a Local Authority for their flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features, and which are managed for the purpose of their preservation or for providing opportunities for related study and research. They are also recognised as an important means of providing for the public enjoyment of nature. LNRs should have a high degree of natural interest, or a combination of reasonable natural interest and high value for environmental education by providing opportunity for research and study of flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features. In contrast, Local Sites are required to have only substantive nature conservation interest and do not necessarily have to provide opportunities for study and research. A commitment to ongoing management for nature conservation, study and research into nature conservation or both, is central to LNR designation. There are now over 1280 LNRs in the UK.
Narroways is managed by a small group of trustees but always welcomes volunteers and people who can appreciate and help to maintain a quiet breathing space for wildlife in the inner city. We have all travelled a long way from the battle in the late 1990s to stop British Rail selling the land off for development. Well done to the people of St Werburghs.