Westbury Wildlife Park will reopen in 2021 after closing 20 years ago

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A popular Bristol animal park is set to reopen after it closed in the early 90s due to new animal regulations.

The Westbury-on-Trym site could reopen to the public as early as the spring of next year, thanks to its new board of directors at the Westbury Wildlife Park Foundation.

Kira Emslie and her partner Jonathan Ashby were the driving force behind the developments and six months later the gigantic regeneration project has already started to germinate new life.

Miss Emslie said: “We were able to put our love and energy into the park, which my partner had wanted to do for some time. And since the beginning of the year, we have been working to prepare the place by bringing in groups of volunteers to help us. “



The park’s wildlife pond undergoing restoration

The 31-year-old vocal trainer said the overall plan is to restore the nature sanctuary for the wildlife that already inhabit the space.

She said: “There will be no kept wild animals as the aim of the association is to be of benefit to the local community without disturbing the natural environment.”

Miss Emslie would like to invite everyone from all walks of life to explore the shrine while making it as safe as possible once it is complete.

She said: “We would really like to create a place where there is public access – inclusive of all. So we will have different opening times for different groups of people and hopefully we can bring in schools to learn more about nature. “

To ensure that there will be no disruption to the community, there will be no dogs, alcohol or antisocial behavior allowed.

In September, the organization launched a Gofundme campaign to raise £ 5,000 to create a center for environmental education, crafts and creativity development.

According to Miss Emslie, the funds will go to the first phase of the plan which includes purchasing PPE for volunteer groups, establishing community gardens and securing wildlife specialists to survey the area for plans to better encourage natural fauna to flourish.

The team also plans to run educational workshops, restore old buildings and set up a café.



Kira Emslie and her partner Jonathan Ashby were the driving force behind the restoration project

Jackie Young, a 74-year-old local resident and administrator, has been trying to maintain the park for a few decades but has had to reduce her workload.

And although she declined to comment, Miss Emslie said: “Jackie is the longest-serving administrator and has been at the park every day for 40 years.

“She loves animals and nature more than anyone I have ever met in my life.”

Many people have started to express their enthusiasm for the reopening on the association’s Facebook page.



Ms Lisa Neal can’t wait for the park to reopen next year

Lisa Neal, who now lives in Cornwall, said: “I worked at the wildlife park for David Chaffe in the early 1970s while I was still in school.

“I worked at the Gatehouse, at the cafe and eventually with the animals in the park – sometimes I even accompanied David Chaffe to lectures and TV interviews with live animals.”

The 65-year-old said she even had the opportunity to give tours with schoolchildren and also hand-raised orphan animals.

“I loved my time at Westbury Wildlife Park, I have so many fond memories and can’t wait to see it when it opens again,” she added.



Lisa enjoyed hand-raising orphan animals while working at the site

Where is Westbury Wildlife Park located?

The park and garden can be found in Westbury-on-Trym in BS9 and is located on Trym Road, near Old Barn in Trymwood.

When will it reopen?

In spring / summer 2021

Will there be an entrance fee?

Access will be free and there will be a check-in and check-out management process during the pandemic.

Hours of operation will be phased in, as the organization is keen to keep the public safe and socially distanced.

What animals was there in the park?

There were once birds of prey, a seal, rare breeds of sheep, deer and more.

What animals can visitors expect to see in 2021?

Currently there are badgers, foxes, ducks, squirrels, a variety of birds, bees and grassland animals.


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