Open Spaces in Downend and Bromley Heath
The Open Spaces in our Parish are owned by South Gloucestershire Council but the Parish Council works very hard to support local people to enable them to share in the management of these spaces. The Open Spaces Committee has responsibility for parks, footpaths, dog bins and litter bins.
- The Skate Park was set up in 2004 through the hard work of a group of local young people called the Bromley Heath Recreational Action Group (BHRAG). They worked with South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) and the Parish Council and raised grants to install the equipment. The site can be accessed from the playing fields off Queensholm Crescent in Bromley Heath or from the cycle track alongside the A4174 Ring Road.
- The Parish Council now leases this site from SGC and pay for maintenance and to have the equipment safety checked. It was painted in the summer of 2008 and has had an extra litter bin installed to try to reduce the litter problem at the site.
- It is generally a very well used resource, well positioned and much enjoyed.
- Bromley Heath Park, off Queensholm Crescent is managed by a Friends Group called We Love the Park.
- The previous Friends Group helped to get the play equipment improved and is to be congratulated on raising money for the new kick about football area. It has been well used from the day it was put in. Some trees have also been planted around the Children’s Play Area.
- The Friends have improved accessibility of the park from the cycle track by putting in a sloping path to replace the steep steps. This was funded by a Lottery Grant. There have been ongoing issues of litter and maintenance which the Friends regularly work with SGC about.
- A survey was carried out by the Friends group to see what residents would like in the area. As a result, a picnic table has been funded by the Parish Council and installed near the play area. A concrete table tennis table has also been funded by the Parish Council and this will be installed when the weather permits. Two signs, again paid for by D&BH PC, have been installed showing the entrance into the playing fields, which was also a feature in the survey.
- Leap Valley is a hidden Open Space off Badminton Road. It is owned by South Gloucestershire Council and managed by the Friends Group. It forms part of a wildlife corridor linking the River Frome through to Emersons Green. The best ways to access it is through footpaths from Badminton Road (just along from the Methodist Church), Aintree Drive/Beverley Avenue on the David Wilson Estate or from Fouracre Crescent/Bury Hill View.
- The Friends of Leap Valley have published a Nature Journal for this local site of nature conservation interest. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful and interesting open space in our parish. This site is important for wildlife because it has such a variety of habitats – woodland with bluebells in the spring, wetland with snipe and water rail, a pond and stream, as well as lots of grassland and hedgerows. In the summer it is buzzing with life and on sunny days lots of bees and butterflies can be seen feeding on the flowers.
- The Nature Journal is for all age groups and all users of the valley but particularly for families and children. It contains ‘I-Spy’ pages and ‘Things to do’ pages as well as lots of information about the habitats, the seasons and all the animals and plants that can be found there.
- Several local schools and cub groups are visiting the site and using the Nature Journal to help the children get familiar with the wildlife and wild places they will find there.
- The Friends have held Bird Box Making Events Some of these nesting boxes have been put up in the valley. Bat Walks are also organised from time to time.
- In 2010 the Friends worked with South Gloucestershire Council to raise the money to resurface the main path running through the valley.
- In June 2013, the Friends Group were very pleased to see the opening of the new refurbished children’s play area. They worked with the local residents and play officers from South Glos. Council and received £10,000 of funding from the Parish Council. The result is the new ‘Pirate Park’ which has been a great success and is used by so many young families now that it is bright and colourful and has so much extra play value.
- For more information watch the new notice board in the valley (funded by D&BH PC) or contact Mary Lewis email@example.com .
- Visit their website where you will find a PDF of the Nature Journal – http://www.simplesite.com/friendsofleapvalley
Lincombe Barn Park and Woods
- This open space can be accessed from Lincombe Barn car park off Rockland Road.
- There is an enthusiastic Friends Group helping to manage this site – visit their website, Facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- They have held Bat Walks attended by 50 people and the bats turned up on cue! They have had an Autumn Clean and a Spring Clean and spent a morning clearing brambles and planting young hazel whips. They have also held a Dawn Chorus Walk and 2 Fungus Forays.
- They are working on access issues and had a new path put in to get down to the board walk which was installed last year. They have high hopes of further access work. They have also installed 3 seats.
- They have a Management Plan produced for the woods, giving guidance for future maintenance of the area to enhance it for the benefit of wildlife and local people.
- The Parish Council put in a notice board at Lincombe Barn which can be used by the Friends, the Barn and the Parish Council.
- The children’s play area was replaced in 2011 as part of the second year of the SGC Playbuilder Government Grant after working with local children and parents on what they would like to see there.
- The Mud Pie Explorers, a fun environment group for children, meets in the woods once a month. For further information, contact Nickie on 07753 636705 or visit their website www.mud-pies.co.uk. Click here to see forthcoming events with the Explorers.
- Five years hard work and patience by The Friends of Lincombe Barn Park & Woods was finally realised when the official opening of the Jubilee Walkway through the woods to Frenchay Bridge took place. The work was funded by South Gloucestershire Council and Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council.
- The Friends Group now have a website and a Facebook page.
King George V Playing Fields
These playing fields between Westerleigh Road and Farm Road/Sutherland Avenue are well used by sports teams.
In 2010 the children from St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School planted trees and shrubs and installed a new bench in the park as part of their 40th Anniversary Celebrations. A second bench was put in by the Parish Council.
The Parish Council worked with South Gloucestershire Council in 2011 to install new play equipment in the park. This includes a zip wire, basket swing, table tennis table and exercise equipment. The new additions have been enthusiastically received by all ages.
The litter bins in the park have been painted yellow in the hope that they are seen better and used more, especially by young people using the park as a way through to school. It is hoped to replace litter bins that are dysfunctional within the fields at some stage in the future.
The Friends Group have worked really hard with South Gloucestershire Council and the Parish Council to get the children’s play area refurbished. The play area, known as Badminton Road Playing Field, was designated as a Q E 2 Field in Trust during the Queen’s Jubilee year. A grant of £25,000 from the Parish Council has enabled Phase 1 which includes 2 trampolines, a new multi-play unit, a wheelchair accessible roundabout, seeesaw, talking tubes and springers. There is also much more seating and improved paths. The new equipment has been much appreciated by local families and the play area is used much more now that it has more play value. The Friends Group is now looking for funding for Phase 2 which will complete the access work including paths and fencing and put in a purpose built multi play on the slope. The final Phase 3 will complete the work and make this a first class play area for the children of Downend. Visit the Friends Facebook page for further updates or email the Chair of the group at email@example.com.
The Parish Council has replaced two old seats in the park and installed two more exciting pieces of equipment which will be fun for all ages at the Westerleigh Road end of the Park.
The Friends group managed to obtain funding of £35,000 from Corey for a Multi Play Unit which is inclusive for disabled children. The Parish Council will also give some funding towards this equipment. The Multi Play will be part of Phase 2 for the playing fields.
The King George V and Badminton Road Masterplan which was drawn up by South Glos. Council illustrating many different types of planting ideas to enhance the park has had some aspects already achieved. More trees, plants and improvements are being considered further this year. Some Silver Birch trees have been planted in the park recently.
Hill House Park
This is a new park open to the public. It is the old playing field that belonged to Downend Lower School site situated off Hill House Road, behind the new Willow Surgery. An access gate has now been installed and a line of trees have been planted with a view to the future when the present row of trees become old and diseased. Further work is on hold due to the 10 year rule which prevents any change of use of ex school playing fields. It is hoped that further play equipment and games facilities may be installed and that part of the site might become allotments. A Friends Group has been formed and will be working hard to consult local residents and propose plans for the future recreational use of the park.
For those of you who have never visited this South Gloucestershire Council open space you can now access it using a kissing gate from the cycle track on Bromley Heath Road at the Ring Road roundabout. In consultation with the local residents, South Gloucestershire Council has recently carried out some work including the gate, clearing the quarry area and installing some steps to make it easier for dog walkers to use a sloping path in muddy weather. It is a well used open space and leads down to the River Frome. You cannot access the Frome Valley Walkway from this side of the river but if you carry on along the Ring Road, over the bridge in the direction of the Hambrook traffic lights, you will find a steep stepped path on your left hand side leading down to the Walkway. If you would like to take a longer walk from Bromley Heath on the Frome Valley Walkway have a look at the Community Walks section of this website (Bromley Heath Walk). There are five walks from other open spaces in the Parish too.
Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council has been focusing on paths not recorded on the Definitive Map nor on the List of Streets within this area and have been putting together applications to get these added, so they will not be lost.
In June 2009, the long process began to add the first path, Farm Road to George V, to the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way for South Gloucestershire. The application made was based on both user and documentary evidence. Thirteen user evidence forms were sent to the District Council stating frequent use spanning from 1960 to the present day. This is now on the Definitive Map.
Applications have also been processed for the footpath between Oakdale Court and Heath Court, Four Acre Avenue to Badminton Road, Baugh Gardens to Fouracre Crescent, Croomes Hill to Overndale Road through Britannia Woods and Sutherland Avenue through to Westerleigh Road via Kimberley Close.
We have succeeded in getting the resurfacing of some paths, such as the ones between Badminton Road and Oakdale Court and between Badminton Road and Fouracre Crescent.
The bridle path is monitored by the Parish Council and also local residents using this thoroughfare. A recent request to renew the covering of the path was made by the Parish Council which should result in a more smoother lane during the winter months in particular.
Under the new South Gloucestershire Council Localism arrangements, Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council has chosen to continue to maintain the 32 dog bins in the parish. Dog waste can be put into dog bins, litter bins or black wheeled bins at home so some rationalisation has taken place to ensure that all dog bins are being used well enough to merit the ongoing maintenance cost.
A dual purpose dog/litter bin has been placed in Christchurch Lane, which can be accessed by children coming out of Christchurch School, in addition to users of the Medical Centre and anyone else passing. The installation of the bin has been very much appreciated and will help considerably with litter and dog waste. The bin was requested by local residents and the Parish Council facilitated all the arrangements for its installation.
- At the request of local residents we have put bins at the end of Oakdale Walk, on the path between Badminton Road and Fouracre Crescent and on the path from Queensholm Crescent to the Cycle track. We continue to maintain other bins at Quakers Road, Fouracre Road, Co-Op car park and North Street.
- Several other locations are being monitored and we welcome suggestions from members of the public about where bins are needed. However it does cost over £400 to install a litter bin and £160 a year to have it emptied!
The Litter Busters team of volunteers was established in May 2012. We have had many successful litter picks in the Parish and enjoy our regular meet-ups. If you are passionate about picking up litter and would like to join our group, then please contact Cllr Kate Conner or 0117 9048398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All equipment is provided.
Downend & Bromley Heath In Bloom
Parish Councillors and a band of volunteers, under the watchful eye of local resident, Chris Boulton, have planted up various containers in Downend Village. The project has been funded by the Parish Council, who are very grateful for the help and co-operation received from the shop keepers and businesses in Downend.
Easy Access Trails
The Easy Access Trails booklet, part two, is available to download from the South Gloucestershire Council website. This includes circular walks around Alveston, Charfield, Downend & Bromley Heath, Marshfield, Pilning & Severn Beach, Siston, Stoke Gifford, Thornbury, Wick & Abson and Wickwar.
The Parish Access Trails have been brought about by a publicly funded project through which Parish Councils were given the opportunity to create an easily accessible circular walk in their parish that reflects the character and heritage of the area. The main focus of the trails is to remove physical barriers such as stiles and replace them with kissing gates and hand gates to allow a larger user group to enjoy the countryside.
To view the walk through Downend & Bromley Heath, click on the link below.