Westbury Wildlife Park aims to open again - with help from community
The trustees of Westbury Wildlife Park Foundation are keen to reopen this forgotten landmark in Westbury-on-Trym after many years of closure and neglect and transform it into a safe place of learning, activity and creativity for the local community.
With the help and financial support of local people, the trustees believe it’s possible to reopen the park by next summer.
There’s certainly a swell of local enthusiasm as a magnificent £900 was raised in the first 24 hours of launching a Go Fund Me page. This sum will make it possible for the group to cover the cost of insurance to have volunteers working on the site. Their next goal is to raise enough money for tools and PPE for everyone who has signed up to volunteer.
A mixture of new and old trustees and volunteers who have worked closely in the past on big projects have turned their skills to opening this space which can be found at the very end of Trym Road, with an entrance on the other side of the river by the small car park.
Speaking on behalf of the trustees Kira Emslie says: “Our mission is to turn the park into a community space to help preserve and protect local flora and fauna. A centre to educate and create. A therapeutic natural environment and a place to feel safe.
“The situation with Covid-19 means that having access to safe outdoor spaces is more important than ever. After many years of closure and neglect, we are excited to announce that we intend to reopen Westbury Wildlife Park and are dedicated to turning it into an asset to the community once again.
“We have in place a group of dedicated trustees and volunteers who are working hard towards restoring and reopening the park to the public. Many of our team were and are facing a changing work life, and many of us now have and will continue to have the time and energy to give to the park to make this happen.”
The trustees want as many people as possible to benefit from the park which will be family and community oriented. A carefully considered management plan will be implemented in stages.
Some of the Phase 1 projects which need completion before the Wildlife Park can reopen are the reinstatement of the old wildlife ponds, building wildlife surveys and creating a woodland and grassland management plan, building a forest play area for children and setting up picnic tables and river clearance and maintenance, increasing biodiversity through careful planting schemes.
An open day is planned for all contributors before the end of the year to show all the progress that has already been made over the past six months.
Kira added: “It’s been an incredible journey so far and now we need your help to continue.”
To find out more about Westbury Wildlife Park Foundation and their plans, or to volunteer see: www.wwpf.uk/