Eastwood Farm is looked after by Friends of Eastwood Farm, a small group of local residents who work with Bristol City Council on habitat improvement and visitor access, among other things.
Thanks to their hard work, the local nature reserve has become an urban oasis for many. For such a short walk, this circular route on the edge of Bristol passes through a surprising array of habitats. Discover wild woods and lush meadows before returning along the banks of the River Avon.
Eastwood Farm Local Nature Reserve walk
1.1 miles/1.8km | 45 minutes | easy
1. Into the trees
The walk starts at the western entrance of Eastwood Farm Local Nature Reserve. Look for a playground on Eastwood Road (parking often available on residential streets) and take the path running to the right of it. This leads down to a basketball court, to the right of which is a rough vehicle track. Cross straight over the track and into woodland. The path divides three ways; take the middle path, dropping through trees. If you’re quiet, you may spot roe deer grazing new shoots on the woodland floor.
2. Lush grasslands
It's not long before the trees begin to thin and an area of open grassland appears. There is often a small pool in the middle of the meadow, hidden among lush grasses and wildflowers in spring and summer. You half expect a herd of elephants to emerge from trees and converge on the watering hole.
Turn right and stick to the clear path between the trees and the meadow for about 400m to reach a small parking area at the end of a vehicle track. Here, look for look for a gap in trees on the left.
3. Down to the water
The path slinks among the trees and divides in several places. Stay right where possible, heading downhill (east) on a permissive path towards the river. The woods here are home to many species of bird, including green woodpeckers, which can often be heard drumming against the trees. If you’re lucky – and quiet – you may even spot the flash of a fox.
After a couple of minutes, you’ll emerge once more from the forest, this time onto the banks of the River Avon.
4. Along the river
Turn left and follow the river downstream. You’ll pass a series of water meadows and lagoons, offering further opportunities for wildlife spotting. Swans, moorhens and black headed gulls seek refuge among these quiet pools, which are also home to elusive smooth newts, voles and bats. Lesser celandine, blackthorn trees and delicate cuckoo flowers kick off the floral show in early spring, ensued not long after by great clouds of hawthorn blossom and towering umbrellas of hogweed.
5. Drink in the view
A walk of about 600m brings you to the end of the riverside trail, where the path leaves the water through a tunnel of trees to meet a rough track and the parking area for Beeses bar/café/restaurant. Open from mid-spring and throughout summer, Beeses is an idyllic spot for a cooling drink beside the river. In the high season, there is even a rowing boat service that transports you across the Avon to Conham River Park.
Back on the trail, turn left up the rough track. It’s a short but steep climb and before you know it you’re back at the playground where you started.
Eastwood Farm Local Nature Reserve map
Danny is the Section Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.