City Nature Challenge West of England Programme
1st April 2023
City Nature Challenge West of England is back for 2023! Join the epic, global wildlife count taking place this spring Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May.
Join residents across 400+ cities in a mission to record as much wildlife as possible over four days using the iNaturalist app. You don’t have to be an expert to take part! Take up the challenge and help put nature on the map in your region and support conservation efforts across the UK.
Find out more about the UK-wide challenge here. West of England (including Bristol and Bath) resident? Keep reading…
West of England (previously 'Bristol & Bath')
City Nature Challenge will be running across the Bristol & Bath region again this year, under the new project name ‘City Nature Challenge 2023: West of England’. Help gather as many wildlife records as possible and help put nature on the map from Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May.
Local charity The Natural History Consortium is leading activity for the West of England during the challenge, hosting iNaturalist training and wildlife recording hubs across Bristol and Bath over the four-day event.
In last year’s challenge, the West of England reached a whopping 8,006 nature observations, 1,264 species recorded, and 406 individuals taking part – putting us top of the leaderboard for participants and second place for observations and species numbers. Let’s beat this in 2023!
Local activity hubs
There will be City Nature Challenge activity hubs popping up in green spaces across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire to help residents learn how to use iNaturalist and join engaging guided nature walks and workshops to practice new wildlife recording skills. See the programme of activities below:
Friday 28th April
- Join us for a guided urban nature walk led by wildlife experts in Bristol City Centre
Led by wildlife expert Ed Drewitt, we’ll be taking you on an early morning tour of the nature thriving in Bristol city centre, from the wildflowers flourishing in pavement cracks to our favourite urban birds.
Led by wildlife expert Ed Drewitt, we’ll be taking you on a lunchtime tour of the nature thriving in Bristol city centre, from the wildflowers flourishing in pavement cracks to our favourite urban birds.
Led by wildlife expert James Beaumont, we’ll be taking you on an evening tour of the nature thriving in Bristol city centre, from the wildflowers flourishing in pavement cracks to our favourite urban birds.
With thanks to support from Bristol City Centre BID and Redcliffe & Temple BID.
- Join us for a lunchtime guided nature walk led by wildlife experts in Bath City Centre
Led by spider expert Mark Pajak, we'll be taking you on a lunchtime tour of the wonderful spiders living in Bath city centre, hearing about their feeding habits and web making. Mark will introduce the basics of spider identification and fieldwork and we'll use iNaturalist to log our findings.
Saturday 29th April
- Grow Wilder
9:00am - 5:00pm | Grow Wilder, 181 Frenchay Park Road, Bristol BS16 1EL
Visitors to Grow Wilder will be able to take part in a range of family-friendly events to help them engage with City Nature Challenge. Join the Avon Wildlife Trust and Festival of Nature teams for a habitat BioBlitz, blossom walk or learn about the various benefits of adding wildflowers to your garden. Find out about visiting Grow Wilder here.
10:00am - Bird Survey with George Cook
10:30am - Pesticide-Free Growing with Tim Foster (FULL)
11:30am - Pond Dipping with George Cook
1:30pm – Bug Hunt with George Cook
- Westonbirt Arboretum
9:00am - 4:00pm | Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury GL8 8QS
Explore Forestry England's Westonbirt Arboretum with new nature recording skills. Learn how to become a citizen scientist using the wildlife data app iNaturalist and take part in this year’s regional City Nature Challenge with your findings. The Natural History Consortium team will be at Westonbirt to talk all things wildlife and train you up in iNaturalist recording skills with fun interactive activities all day for the whole family. Find out all you need to know about visiting Westonbirt Arboretum here.
- Tyntesfield Gardens
10:00am - 4:00pm | Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol BS48 1NX
Explore the Tyntesfield gardens with new nature recording skills. Learn how to become a citizen scientist using the wildlife data app iNaturalist and take part in this year’s regional City Nature Challenge with your findings. The Natural History Consortium team will be at Tyntesfield to talk all things wildlife and train you up in iNaturalist recording skills with fun interactive activities all day for the whole family. There will be free wildlife expert led walks taking place at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm on site, each lasting roughly one hour.
12pm walk with Pete Cooper: Mammals - Tracks and Signs.
1pm walk with Hannah Westbury: Spring Plants and Bird Calls.
2pm walk with Sharon Humphries: Nature, Health and Wellbeing.
- Frampton Cotterell BioBlitz
5:00am - 10:00pm | Centenary Field, Mill Lane, Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2AA
Join Frampton Cotterell Parish Council and Frampton Cotterell Nature Group at Centenary Field for the 2023 Frampton Cotterell BioBlitz! An exciting day packed full of free wildlife events for the whole family, including: dawn chorus walk, tree walk, butterfly walk, iNaturalist recording workshop with BSL provisions, bat detector workshop, wildflower walk, bug hunt, bat walk, den building and seed bomb making. Find out more here.
- Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project BioBlitz
10:00am - 2:30pm | Learning Annexe, Suspension Bridge Road, Clifton Village, Bristol BS8 4DU
Head to Avon Gorge & Downs for some City Nature Challenge fun, with iNaturalist training and interactive wildlife trails. Come down to find the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife team with family friendly activities, info, fun things to do and lots of guidance at the Clifton Hub (Learning Annexe) and the Downs Café on Saturday 29 April from 10.00am – 2.30pm. Find out more here.
- Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve BioBlitz
11:00am - 3:00pm | Old Sneed Park, Glenavon Park, Bristol BS9 1RW
Join the Friends of Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve group for a day of free outdoor nature reserve activities for the whole family during City Nature Challenge. Sessions include: 11.15am & 1pm 'Introduction to BioBlitz', 11am - 1pm Pond Dipping, 2pm Guided Bird Walk, 11am - 3pm full day of Species Identification using iNaturalist. Please note: there are no toilet or catering facilities at this venue. Please confirm attendance with FOSPNR@gmail.com. Find out more here.
Sunday 30th April
- Stoke Park
10am - 2pm | Stoke Park Estate, Duchess Gate, Park Road, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1AU
Head to Stoke Park to get involved in a full day of free family-friendly activities all about recording local wildlife. The Festival of Nature and Bristol Parks teams will be on site helping residents take part in City Nature Challenge and get stuck into some outdoor nature fun. The location for this hub can be found with what3words: https://w3w.co/arrow.cloth.ruins. Please note: there are no public toilets at this site.
- Wild Place
10am - 4pm | Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol BS10 7TP
The Festival of Nature team will be at Wild Place all day on Sunday 30 April to help visitors learn how to record the native wildlife that can be found around the site, including flowers, trees, bugs, birds and small mammals like mice, rabbits and squirrels. Find out how you can turn your own photos of nature into important records for conservation and research of British wildlife using iNaturalist. Come and have a chat and join in some fun interactive activities for the whole family during your visit. Find out about visiting Wild Place Project here.
- Somer Valley BioBlitz
11am - 3pm | Haydon Batch, Kilmersdon Rd, Haydon, Radstock BA3 3QR
The Somer Valley Rediscovered and Festival of Nature teams will be at Haydon Batch in Radstock for a day of wildlife recording to find out what nature is thriving in the grassland and woodland at the site. Wildlife-expert led guided walks will are taking place in the afternoon with consultant ecologists and naturalists Rupert and Dawn. Look for the gazebo outside Haydon Que Club!
These walks will provide an introduction to plant identification and provide an opportunity to discuss the ecology, culinary use and cultural significance of the plants we encounter. We will also keep an eye and ear open for birds, including returning summer migrants, and, if the weather is kind, for insects. Walk leaders Rupert and Dawn are both consultant ecologists and enthusiastic naturalists; Dawn is editor of Nature in Avon and Rupert is President of the Bristol Naturalists Society and Avon Bird Recorder.
- Manor Woods Valley BioBlitz
10am - 1pm | North Entrance, Manor Woods Valley, Crantock Avenue, Bristol BS13 7QW
Join RSPB's Bristol Group and Manor Woods Valley Group for a morning of wildlife recording in BS13. Part of Citizen Science Sundays and City Nature Challenge. Everyone is encouraged to join in regardless of level, from enthusiastic beginners to seasoned bird nerds. If you spot something interesting but aren’t sure what it is, you can ask your fellow observers, or just snap a photo and put it on iNaturalist. Find out all you need to know about joining the Manor Woods Valley BioBlitz here.
Monday 1st May
- Badock's Wood Nature Reserve Walk
10:30 - 12:30am | Badocks Wood, Northern Gateway, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PP
Join Friends of Badock's Wood for a gentle morning nature walk, recording the wildlife you find along the way on iNaturalist. This event is taking place as part of Bristol Walking Festival and City Nature Challenge. Starting at the Northern Gateway Entrance. Badock's Wood is a small, semi-natural woodland along with a number of wildflower meadows. Find out more and register your attendance here.
Tackling the Ecological Emergency
Across the West of England, wildlife and biodiversity is struggling. We are in a state of ‘ecological emergency’, meaning nature is declining all around us and urgent action needs to be taken to help it. For us to support nature’s recovery, it’s important to know what wildlife exists, where it is located, and what is missing from the map. City Nature Challenge is a chance for anyone and everyone to play a part in tackling the Ecological Emergency in the region by taking photos of the wildlife they see and uploading it on the iNaturalist app.
Become a Citizen Scientist for the region
Your wildlife recordings submitted on the iNaturalist app during the challenge will be used by the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) for conservation purposes and go towards important monitoring for our Ecological Emergency.
Bees and Trees
During this year’s challenge, the West of England region will be highlighting the importance of pollinators and trees. Pollinators include: bumblebees, honey bees, solitary bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, hoverflies. Trees to record might include: hazel, english oak, elder, hawthorn, horse chestnut, silver birch. The Natural History Consortium will be leading a programme of activities across Bristol and Bath to help people find and record pollinators on iNaturalist. The West of England Combined Authority is funding this activity.*
How do I take part?
Taking part is easy! Simply download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone or tablet and use it to upload photos of any wildlife you see over Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May.
After you upload your photos, the app will give you some handy suggestions of what it thinks you’ve seen. An online community of scientists and wildlife enthusiasts will then verify your sighting. It’s a great way to learn more about the wildlife around you, and best of all, the records you submit can help inform local and national conservation work.
Check out our guide to using iNaturalist to get started and learn some top tips for recording different species. No need to wait until the challenge though – you can start using the app today!
Join the Project Page
Once you’re on the app, join the iNaturalist ‘City Nature Challenge 2023: West of England’ project page to see live updates on how your local area is doing during the challenge e.g. number of observations, species and participants.
You can also join the UK City Nature Challenge Leaderboard to see live results from all the cities taking part and watch the wildlife recording race as it happens!
*West of England City Nature Challenge 2023 activity is funded by the West of England Combined Authority. Find out more here.
City Nature Challenge International is organised by the California Academy of Sciences and Natural History Museum Los Angeles County. The Bristol-based charity The Natural History Consortium are supporting City Nature Challenge UK cities and leading on West of England region activity.