Land north of Bristol to become a nature reserve

Frampton End farm, near Frampton Cotterell, would become a river and nature reserve after 2028

A farm in a village north of Bristol is set to be turned into a new nature reserve after previous fears the land was earmarked for housing.

Frampton End farm, near Frampton Cotterell, would become a river and nature reserve after 2028. Locals had been concerned the farm would be given over to housing developers, after the site was included in a key South Gloucestershire Council document.

A new nature reserve would mean a boost for the local area in health, education, volunteering, biodiversity and the environment, according to council chiefs. Planting new trees and wetlands could also act as a massive carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide emissions and tackling climate change.

Rumours about the farm being used for housing began recently after the council included the area on its call for sites, as part of the new local plan. The new plan will come into effect in 2024, setting out where major developments will take place over the next few years across South Gloucestershire.

Cllr Ben Burton, Tom Howell and Tim Niblett at Frampton End farm

In June, council bosses were urged by local resident Tom Howell to protect the farm as a nature reserve. Now Mr Howell and parish councillors Tim Niblett and Andy Pullen have said they are “delighted” the council has decided to back their campaign.

They said: “We’re absolutely delighted that South Gloucestershire Council has supported our campaign to turn Frampton End farm into a brand new nature reserve, saving it from the risk of unwanted housing and helping to protect nature locally.

“Conservation is at the heart of what we want to achieve for our rural villages, and we strongly believe that this nature reserve would have ecological and environmental benefits locally, and it’s great to see the council’s leadership share this view. We look forward to working closely with the council to progress this vision on behalf of local people.”

Map showing location of new nature reserve

The 102-hectare farm is owned by the council and has been let to the same tenant since 1993, and the tenancy is due to end in 2028. It was originally used as a dairy and livestock farm, but now is mostly arable with permission for horses. Running through the site is the River Frome and the Frome Valley Walkway public footpath.

Turning the farm into a nature reserve could cost about £1 million, funded by the West of England combined authority. About £20,000 is due to be spent by the council on researching the potential options for the plans. The council is planning to create five new nature reserves in total in South Gloucestershire, to boost biodiversity and cut carbon emissions.

Councillor Ben Burton, cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “Working to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies is part of every decision this administration takes, so when we can do something that is directly related to that goal, it’s very special. This is why I’m pleased we’re taking steps to let nature flourish at Frampton End farm.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Tristan Clark added: “We thank the Frampton Cotterell Nature Group, and want to make sure that the council works with them and other local people as they draw up plans. Residents are happy at the prospect of this land being protected at a time when so much of our valuable countryside is under threat from inappropriate development.”