Bristol Ornithological Club Walks & Meetings

All details of meetings, including a comprehensive programme of mid-week meetings, can be found in Bird News, (the club’s monthly publication for members), or by contacting us.


Tuesday 18 April – Chilcombe Bottom, Northend, near Batheaston.

This new walk covers my favourite BBS square and its neighbour so should be between two and three miles long. The first half mile or so is a long uphill slog but not too steep and the views are wonderful. The gentle stroll back down Chilcombe Bottom should produce a few early returning migrants with luck. No stiles, I think (all kissing-gates now), but muddy after rain and a hiking pole may be useful. Parking is limited so please park tidily in the cul-de-sac, Eagle Park, and meet at the bottom of Eagle Road. For those who can carshare and are coming from the north, the A46 has plenty of laybys where you can meet and leave a car – the best is on the left as you approach Bath, just before the dual carriageway starts. There are at least 3 single track roads into Northend none of which are for the faint-hearted, but one starts at the junction just beyond that layby. It may be easier to go through Batheaston (avoid the bypass) and look for the turn sign-posted Northend. There is a slow two mile lane to Eagle Road at the far end of Northend village. The walk will be cancelled if there are gales or heavy rain. So, if in doubt, call Jane.
Leader: Jane Cumming.

Sunday 23 April – New Forest

Meet at 1000 hrs at the Ashley Walk car park (SU187157), by the B3078 east of Fordingbridge. Allow about one and a half hours to drive from Bristol. This will be an all-day meeting, comprising a leisurely walk of about four miles through heathland and woods, with a picnic lunch. Bring food for the day and waterproof clothing/footwear as appropriate, as after rain the New Forest can be pretty soggy underfoot. We hope to see some of the Forest residents such as Dartford Warbler, Hawfinch, and Woodlark, and the first of the summer visitors such as Redstart and Hobby. Please contact Jane to offer or request a lift.
Leader: Jane Cumming

Tuesday 25 April – Kings Wood.

Meet at the National Trust car park at King’s Wood which is off the A38 to the right going south, immediately after a filling station about a mile past the traffic lights at Winscombe/ Sidcot. This is a walk that has not been done for several years through King’s Wood and onto limestone grassland and scrub on the Mendip Hills. Some hills and may be muddy in places. Lunch at the Star Inn.
Leader: Clive Burton.

Saturday 29 April – St. Catherine’s Valley

Meet at 0900 hrs in Beeks Lane (ST 770727) for this morning only walk. Beeks Lane is a minor road running southwest from Marshfield and the meeting point is about half-way to Beek’s Farm. Parking there is rather tricky so take care. The walk covers about four and a half miles through some peaceful and attractive countryside, over fields and alongside the upper reaches of St. Catherine’s Brook. Some steep slopes. Good for a wide variety of resident birds plus possibly some early migrants. Wellingtons or good walking boots are advised as the path may be muddy in places. Contact Robin for further information or if you need, or can offer, a lift.
Leader: Robin Prytherch

Tuesday 02 May - Elm Farm, Burnett

From Keynsham take the B3116; turn right at the first Burnett road sign, left at junction, then right into the farm. From Bath, take the A39 and right onto the B3116, fork left on farm drive as you enter Burnett. The farm is 112 hectares in size and consists of seventeen hectares of arable crops, over six hectares of woodland and five hectares of crops exclusively for the benefit of birds and other wildlife. Many field margins next to hedges or water are preserved for conservation. The remaining grassland is grazed by cattle, sheep and ponies. No fertilizer is used on the species rich grassland which is managed to encourage insects for the wild birds and bats. The farm is home to a wide variety of birds including Barn Owls, Skylarks and Linnets.
Leader: Roger Palmer

Tuesday 09 May - Southstoke near Bath

From the Keynsham by-pass (A4) pass through Saltford and take the second exit at the Globe roundabout. Climb up the hill signposted Twerton, cross over the A3062 and right onto the B3110 and in a short space right again to the village of Southstoke where parking is limited (car share if possible, please). Meet in the middle of the village for a walk of four miles with a few stiles, a longish hill at the end, plus possible mud.
Leader: David Body

Tuesday 16 May; Shapwick Heath

Meet at 10.30 in the RSPB Ham Wall Reserve car park at Ashcott Corner. From the middle of Meare Village on the B3151 Wedmore to Glastonbury road, take the minor road south, signposted to Ashcott. After approximately one mile the car park is situated on the left just after the Railway Inn and the Drain bridge. We can confidently expect to see Hobby, wetland birds including Bittern and if really lucky, Otter. Level walking. We will return to the car park for lunch at about 13.00 and visit Ham Wall afterwards for those wishing to stay on. Parking charges - please note that these have been introduced at Ham Wall. Both the Natural England and RSPB car parks are charging £3 a day. RSPB members are exempt at the Ham Wall car park (place membership card in the windscreen), but they have no exemption at the Shapwick site. (Remember to remove valuables from parked cars)
Leader: Mark Watson

Friday 19 May – Highnam Woods.

EVENING MEETING. Meet at the RSPB car park on A40 west of Gloucester at 1900 hrs (car park open from 1845 hrs). A site for Nightingale at the western edge of the range, as well as for all three woodpecker species. Footpaths can be muddy. BOC is making a contribution to RSPB Gloucester for access to the car park,and for the leader’s time. A donation to BOC of £3 on the day would be appreciated
Leader: Hannah Booth RSPB - Lifts: Gareth Roberts

Tuesday 23 May Newport Wetlands

Take the M4 (over the new bridge - £6.60 toll) towards Newport to junction 23a and take the A4810, After three roundabouts this road is very straight for a long way, past industrial estates and new housing developments. Eventually the dual carriageway curves first right then left. Go straight through the next small roundabout and at the second, larger, roundabout follow the RSPB sign onto the West Nash Road. Keep on this road for about one and a half miles. Watch for a brown-coloured reserve sign on the left indicating the almost immediate right turn into Nash village (Easy to miss this road and a need to turn round). Keep on through the village with the power station in full view. The RSPB car park is on the left-hand side. There are brown duck signs at the various junctions but they can easily be missed. Hopefully we will see Bearded Tit, Cetti’s Warbler, Cuckoo and Marsh Harrier in the reed beds and waders on the Severn Estuary. After our picnic lunch we will travel about two miles to the village of Goldcliff hopefully to see breeding Avocets and other waders. Level walking at both sites.
Leaders: Margaret and Ray Bulmer


Tuesday 30 May Winscombe

Meet in the car park behind the Woodborough Inn next to Studleys Garage in the middle of Winscombe village on the A371. If the car park is full use nearby streets. Those lunching please allow time to order. A Mendip walk through woodland and grassland with one half mile, fairly gentle uphill section, a 500yard steep grass field descent, and a couple of stiles. May be muddy after rain.
Leader: Sue Watson

Sunday 04 June – Arne.

You’ve seen it on Autumn Watch and Winter Watch now see it for yourself. The Club is going to Arne by coach in June. Cost will be £16. Arne is a diverse reserve, deciduous and conifer woodland, heathland, farmland, acid bog, salt marsh and mud flats. Marsh Harriers are breeding again and it is a stronghold for Dartford Warbler. We should see Common and Sandwich Tern and possibly Spoonbill. We’ve arranged a guided tour with the RSPB of areas of the reserve not normally open to the public so there will be something new even if you’ve been before. Departure 07:45 hours from the Water Tower on the Downs. Book through Judy Copeland.
Leader Alastair Fraser

Sunday 02 July - Dinas

Meet at 1000 hrs at the RSPB Dinas Reserve car park. The reserve lies in the Towy Valley in mid Wales approximately 10 miles north of Llandovery and is reached by the minor road from Llandovery to the Llyn Brianne Reservoir. The entrance to the reserve is about four miles north of Rhandirmwyn, before reaching Llyn Brianne. Allow about three hours for the journey from Bristol. This is always a good meeting in a beautiful area with the possibility of Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers, Dipper, Red Kite and maybe Peregrine. There is some rough walking so bring stout footwear and food for the day. Please contact Robin Prytherch about car sharing - if you would like a lift or if you can provide a seat in your car.
Leader: Robin Prytherch

Saturday 08 July - Forest of Dean

A joint meeting with Bristol Naturalists.
EVENING MEETING. Meet in the car park at New Fancy View at 1830 hrs. Go through Parkend on the B4234 and turn right onto Fancy Road. Turn left after just under a mile and New Fancy View car park is on the right after a quarter of a mile. We will have a short walk here and possibly also at Cannop Ponds, and then move on to a location near Speech House with a view to hopefully hearing and seeing Nightjar. You may wish to bring insect repellent.
Leader: Mike Johnson


Saturday 15 July - Marshfield

EVENING MEETING. Meet at 1900 hrs at Marshfield on the A420 (ST 774738). Park in the layby on the south side of the Marshfield bypass near Tanners Close. The specialities of this area are Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers with the possibility of Grey Partridge and Quail.


Indoor meetings.

The next indoor meeting is Aug 17, so until the autumn – happy birding.


The attention of members is drawn to the fact that the Bristol Ornithological Club accepts no liability in respect of damage or personal injury occurring during its activities.