FroGS is the community group not only for Greville Smyth Park, but also for Ashton Meadows, the green space opposite the CREATE Centre. Ashton Meadows extends from the Riverside Garden Centre to the River Avon tow-path and includes the concrete area underneath the Brunel Way flyover.
Ashton Meadows is an important green space and a significant site for recreation for those who live in and around the Cumberland Basin; it is also an important commuter route for foot and cycle traffic. From here, there are unparalleled views of the Avon Gorge and Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Historically, this was the site of the 1914 Bristol International Exhibition and White City Barracks for Bristol soldiers preparing for deployment in the First World War. The area was remodeled in the 1960s by noted landscape architect Dame Sylvia Crown as part of the construction of the Cumberland Basin flyover and road works.
Ashton Meadows is an important green corridor linking the Avon Gorge and Ashton Court to the New Cut.
Ashton Meadows is widely used for both recreation and relaxation. The area has a purpose built BMX bicycle pump track and is regularly used by local skateboarders. Other uses of Ashton Meadows include:
- Walking and biking to city centre for work and for recreation
- Accessing the tow path and Ashton Court
- Dog walking
- Children’s games and natural play
Ashton Meadows has had little ‘ownership’ in the past and has recently been subject to a range of interventions including: the creation of new cycle paths, the expansion of the Wessex Water pumping station, tree planting, and the creation of a bicycle pump track. While these interventions may have been necessary and/or well-intended (and in the case of the Pump Track are a great addition to activities for young people), there has been little or no consultation or coordination in their planning and delivery.
In the next few years, there is likely to be further significant change: The Bristol Metro bus route will pass through and the old railway depot to the South of Ashton Meadows is being marketed for housing development.
FroGS aims to work with other local groups to ensure that this vital area of Bristol is protected and any future interventions improve rather than detract from this important green space.