Popular nature reserve near Bristol closes with immediate effect as council issues safety warning

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“The safety of visitors using the site is paramount”

A nature reserve on the edge of Bristol has temporarily closed with immediate effect ‘for everyone’s safety’. 

​​Wick Golden Valley nature reserve in Wick will remain shut until autumn this year, South Gloucestershire Council has announced.       

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The council said the closure of the former ochre works site is due to ash dieback, with affected trees to be felled later in the year. 

In a Facebook post announcing the closure, South Gloucestershire Council wrote: “We are sad to announce the temporary closure of the Wick Golden Valley nature reserve as many of the ash trees have been infected with ash dieback fungi making them structurally unsafe leading to unpredictable limb and whole tree failure.

“The nature reserve is ecologically very rich, providing nesting habitat to many bird species and roosting sites to 12 of the 18 UK bat species. 

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“Following consultation with the landowners and specialist tree / ecological advisors, we will need to keep the reserve closed until the Autumn, as the trees cannot be cut down immediately due to the impact on local wildlife and the safety of visitors using the site is paramount. 

“The plan is for the affected trees to be felled during late September/early October.

”Footpaths near the reserve will remain open, but the paths through and within the reserve will be closed.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding. We know how many of you love visiting the reserve, but we must close it for everyone’s safety and to make sure the work is done at a time which minimises disturbance to the unique wildlife in the area.” 

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​​Wick Golden Valley nature reserve is temporarily closing due to ash dieback ​​Wick Golden Valley nature reserve is temporarily closing due to ash dieback
​​Wick Golden Valley nature reserve is temporarily closing due to ash dieback | South Gloucestershire Council

From 1892 Wick quarry, on London Road, was the site of the Wick Golden Valley Ochre and Oxide Works, with ochre extracted from the limestone pits and mines.

The site closed in the 1970s and in 2005 the quarry was converted into a nature reserve, managed by South Gloucestershire Council, the local community and landowners MJ Church.  

Ash dieback is a disease caused by a fungus which has been spreading for over 10 years across the UK and it is anticipated around 80 per cent of all ash trees will become infected. 

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