Explore natural Bristol this Spring with The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project

Explore natural Bristol this Spring with The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project

Posted on: 11 Jan 2022

Throughout the year, the team run a wide variety of walks, talks, courses and more.


The Avon Gorge and Downs Project have released a full programme of Spring 2022 events, offering children and adults of all ages the chance to learn about and discover the stunning green spaces within walking distance of the city centre.


Running from 12 March to 15 May, this year's series includes ten different courses exploring a wide variety of wildlife and flora. Events are organised in conjunction with Bristol Zoo Gardens and slots can be booked now, either through the Zoo's website or their booking line.


Read on for a quick rundown of the courses on offer, and be sure to book your places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


Meet the Avon Gorge goat keeper walk | 10:00 – 12:00, Saturday 12 March 


Attendees will embark on a strenuous walk searching for and hearing about the rare breeds of goats and the unique way that they help balance the ecosystem of the Avon Gorge. Tickets are £7.50.

A year in the life of birdsong talk | 19:00 – 20:00, Tuesday 15 March


During the pandemic, Tim Dowling created a beautiful, recorded collection of birdsong on the Downs. In this talk, Ed Drewitt will use the recording to demonstrate the peak dawn chorus and how birdsong develops throughout the year.


This talk will take place at the Zoo, and tickets are available at £6 per person.


Learning birdsong on the Downs course | 10:00 – 15:30, Saturday 26 March


The Downs is home to many species of birds, making it a perfect place to learn about their song. After an introduction about the different species, Ed Drewitt will lead a walk to identify these birds.


Tickets for this one are priced at £30 per person.

Gorge-ous spring plants walk | 10:00 – 12:00, Saturday 2 April


Internationally important in terms of its botanical makeup, the Avon Gorge is the perfect spot to search for Spring-flowering rarities. Join, local botanist, Libby Houston for a scramble through the steep and uneven terrain for this one. Tickets are £7.50.


Early birds and bacon butties walk (with a veggie/vegan option) | 6:00 – 8:30, Sunday 3 April


An early morning walk around the Downs identifying birds with, expert, Michael Johnson followed by breakfast (bacon, egg, or vegan sausage bap) and a coffee at Bristol Zoo. Tickets are £15.

Feathered friends (children’s event for 8–12-year-olds) | 10:00 – 15:30, Thursday 14 April


The Downs boasts a wide range of birds from blue tits to peregrine falcons and, on this Easter holiday event, children can have fun learning about our feathered friends before making bird masks to take home.


While the meeting point for this event and the location of the craft activity is the Zoo, entry to the Zoo is not included. Tickets are £20.


Spring on the Downs in batik course | 10:00 – 16:30, Saturday 30 April


Artist Jo Whiteland will be teaching how to use the art of batik (using hot wax and fabric dyes) to create pictures inspired by the Downs’ spring wildlife. Attendees will learn how to design a picture, transfer to fabric, and apply the wax and dyes before dipping it into a dye as per the batik style. Tickets are £30.

Butterfly Britain talk | 19:00 – 20:00, Thursday 5 May


Head to Bristol Zoo Gardens to enjoy Oliver Smart’s wonderful photographs of Britain’s many butterfly residents – a species that have declined in numbers dramatically in recent times.


The talk will delve into every aspect of the butterfly including ecology, behaviour, and habitats. Tickets are £6.


Music with Mummy on the Downs (for children under 4) | 10:00 – 11:00, Friday 13 May


Make melodious music, decorate, and play a shaker, sing, dance and meet some puppets on the Downs with Fiona from the well-known ‘Music with Mummy’ franchise.


Tickets are £5 per child, while babies and adults can come for free.


Writing the Downs course | 10:30 – 16:00, Sunday 15 May


The Downs is not only an area of ecological interest but also a human one. For this event, Poet in Residence Dr John Wedgwood Clarke will lead a creative writing workshop exploring how the past has informed the Downs we know today.


The event consists of a guided walk of the area in the morning followed by an indoor writing workshop at the Zoo’s Conservation Education Centre. Tickets are £25.

This series of spring events is a collaboration between the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens. Tickets can be found on the Zoo website or purchased over the phone at 0117 4285300.


To find out more about what’s coming up at the Zoo or the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project, head to their respective websites.

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Article by:

Stanley Gray

Stan is a born and bred Bristolian, recently graduated from studying English Literature in Sheffield. His passions are music and literature and spends the majority of his time in venues all over the city immersing himself in Bristol’s alternative music scene. A lifelong Bristol City fan, Stan’s Saturday’s are spent watching his team both home and away.