We visit a 'hidden gem' Bristol nature reserve with ruined cottages, orchards and a natural spring

This tucked away nature reserve is teeming with wildlife

Tucked away between St George and Hanham, Magpie Bottom Nature Reserve historically marked the boundary between Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Flowing through the valley is Stradbrook, which flows under the Bristol to Bath main road at Hanham, through Conham Vale to the River Avon.

The valley used to be home to several small coal mines. After the mines closed, market gardens, nurseries, orchards and glasshouses were built in the valley.

Small-scale market gardening proved to be uneconomical in the mid-1960s, so many of the small nurseries were used to build the housing that is here today.

In 1985, Kingswood Borough Council bought 15 acres of the land to develop the valley as an open space for local people to enjoy.

Around this time, several old cottages, especially around Magpie Bottom Lane and the glass houses, were demolished, and since then nature has slowly reclaimed the ruins.

Magpie Bottom Nature Reserve is owned by South Gloucestershire Council and is managed in partnership with the Friends of Magpie Bottom, a group of local volunteers who help to actively preserve, maintain and enhance the site for the benefit of wildlife and visitors.

Here are 20 photos from our visit to Magpie Bottom Nature Reserve:

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