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Go Green!: Environmentally Friendly Bristol

25 September 2018 | Natasha Healy

Bristol has long been a hub of sustainability being the first city in the UK to be named the European Green Capital in 2015. Bristol gains this environmentally friendly reputation through various fair trade and sustainable organisations that it boasts, including the BBC’s Natural History Unit, the Environment Agency, the Soil Association and the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, who are focused on developing the cycle network around the UK. In honour of the UK’s national recycling week which runs from 24-30 September, we have collated the best activities in Bristol that are great fun and kind to the environment.

Wildscreen Festival
Next month, the Wildscreen Festival, which is dedicated to highlighting the importance of conservation for both wildlife and nature, returns to Bristol. The festival celebrates the highest quality nature photography and film and subsequently attracts the best talent from around the country: this year features hard-hitting films about conservation in areas from the Congo to the ocean. Celebrities such as Judi Dench and patron David Attenborough are also starring in their own environmentally conscious films, and will be present for Q&A sessions after their screenings!

Image Credit: Wildscreen Festival via Facebook

Wildscreen Festival is running at screens across Bristol from 15 to 19 October.

Walking Bristol
Walking is not only healthy for the body, it’s also a zero emissions way to explore a city. Bristol is intersected with beautiful natural places meaning there are plenty of options for an afternoon stroll around the city. Scenic Ashton Court Estate is within walking distance of the city centre, but feels like you have been transported far into the surrounding countryside. Herds of deer have called the estate their home for over 600 years and leisurely stalk around the greenery amongst visitors who can enjoy the golf course, cycle paths or stately home. Alternatively, spend a couple of hours walking around the city’s picturesque harbour past the historical ships and iconic rows of multi-coloured houses.

Image Credit: Ashton Court Estate

Ashton Court Estate is located at Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN. Opening hours: daily 9am to dusk.

Bike around Bristol
Bristol was named the UK’s 1st Cycling city and it certainly earned that reputation with hundreds of bike paths crossing the city centre and surrounding areas. Cycling is a perfectly green way for visitors to explore the contrasting areas of the city, from the stately Clifton to edgy Stokes Croft. Cyclists can also visit Bristol’s neighbouring Bath by following the Bristol to Bath cycle path, crossing through lush Somerset countryside along the way. There are plenty of places to hires bikes around Bristol so cycling can be a cheap and easy option for all.

Image Credit: Better by Bike via their website

Sustainable Restaurants
Bristol also offers the chance to re-fuel after a day’s walk or cycle in numerous sustainably minded restaurants and cafes. Better Food is a health food store with numerous sites across Bristol, that offers its customers a chance to sit down and enjoy a meal or coffee made with some of the amazing locally sourced produce on offer. The Canteen in Stokes Croft is another restaurant that has environmental interests at its heart, and is dedicated to sourcing its drink, ingredients and entertainment locally. It has achieved its environmentally friendly goals so well that it has been awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Associations highest rating of three stars.

Image Credit: The Canteen via Facebook

Better Food is located at 1-5 Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 6WE. The Canteen is located at 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY.

University Botanical Gardens
On the edge of the Downs, the University of Bristol’s Botanic Garden is open to visitors and tours all year round. The Botanic Garden puts on events for people of all ages such as fun and arty courses including a Paper Peony Workshop and instruction on how to shoot perfect autumnal pictures. However, it also does more vital environmental work through teaching people the importance of skills like horticulture and bee-keeping. The garden is home to 4,500 species of plants meaning it is a hub of ecological diversity and sustainability. There are constantly opportunities to volunteer at the garden to do your bit for the environment too.

Image Credit: University of Bristol Botanic Garden via Facebook

University of Bristol Botanic Garden is located at The Holmes, Stoke Park Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol, BS9 1JG. 

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