Did you know that between the cliffs on the south side of Bristol Downs, just beyond the Sea Walls, there live two goats?
The goats are big, with white, shaggy hair and horns, and have lived on “Goats’ Gulley” ever since 2011 when they were brought to the area to assist with conservation by the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project.
Originally from North Wales, and once a tribe of six, the wild goats live in a fenced area, spending their days contentedly nibbling away at the ivy and bramble, helping the rare grassland plants on the Downs to flourish.
The goats are checked every day by the Bristol City Council Downs team and at the weekend by the Avon Gorge & Wildlife Project volunteers. There are also plans to introduce more goats to the gulley post-lockdown.
On Sunday my family and I went for a bracing winter walk to Goats’ Gulley and wholeheartedly enjoyed our adventure. Going for a walk through Goats’ Gulley is an interesting walk in itself, perfect for intrepid explorers!
It involves an adventurous walk down a steep rocky slope, and, once at the bottom, you are surrounded by tall hills where you can spot the goats grazing on one side.
There’s also a ventilation shaft to find; this was originally built for The Duke of Beaufort’s private railway and looks like a miniature castle (see second photo).
This walk is not suitable for younger children due to the steep hill and would be impossible with a pushchair or pram. Wellies are also needed at the moment as it is quite muddy!
For safety it is advised that you don’t try and approach the goats or try to feed them. Dogs are not allowed in the gulley as they pose a serious risk to the safety of the goats.
Goats’ Gulley is well-worth a visit, should you be on your daily walk. Kids will enjoy it as it offers adventure, exploring, mud and billy goats, a great combination!
As my son put it, “it’s not everyday you see mountain goats in Bristol!”