Aerial photograph of Bristol Zoo Gardens site showing large green areas with trees

Bristol Zoo Gardens presentation boards August 2021

Accessible version of the boards presented during our public consultation event on 19th August 2021

Our future

Why is Bristol Zoo moving?

In late 2020, we announced our plans to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society – a charity founded 186 years ago – by relocating Bristol Zoo to our Wild Place Project site.

This followed an extensive process, exploring a number of options, informed by independent professional advice, to ensure we were taking the best possible course of action.

For many years the 12-acre Bristol Zoo Gardens site, has been struggling with its size, declining visitor numbers and restricted parking.

On a site of 136 acres the new world-class Bristol Zoo will offer an extraordinary opportunity. Visitors and animals will be immersed in the natural landscape – the zoo in nature and nature in the zoo.

Our focus, more than ever before, will be on conservation and sustainability – Saving Wildlife Together.

Graphic comparing size of Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project sites
Size comparison of Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project sites

Our vision

…for the future of the Clifton Bristol Zoo Gardens site

Our vision for the Clifton site is ambitious. We will create an exemplar, a design for much-needed homes and public places that are fit for the future we face. That future requires us to find a new and profound relationship with nature.

Fundamental to the scheme will be good quality, eco-friendly zero-carbon homes, largely in areas where there are already built structures on the site.

This site will become a remarkable place for people to live, for nature to thrive, and for Bristolians to enjoy.

Aerial photograph of Bristol Zoo Gardens
Aerial view of Bristol Zoo Gardens looking southeast towards Clifton College

We want to hear from you

Please tell us your thoughts about the future of the Clifton site, and how a residential-led development can enhance Bristol’s environmental reputation and be a valued asset for generations to come.

Across these boards are a series of questions for you to consider.
Thank you for helping to inform and shape our proposals.

  • What type of new homes do you think are needed in Clifton? For example houses, apartments or a mix?
  • What type of homes do you want to see at Bristol Zoo Gardens?

Our gardens

Bristol Zoological Society has created a beautiful and diverse landscape, which has been recognised as a historic park and garden, and open space.

This creates an exciting opportunity for a development to engage with the landscape, and look for enhancement opportunities.

Aerial photograph of Bristol Zoo Gardens site showing large green areas with trees
Aerial view of Bristol Zoo Gardens looking north towards the Downs
Photograph of Purple Beech Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Purple Beech Tree
Photograph of Wedding Cake Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Wedding Cake Tree
Photograph of East Lawn at Bristol Zoo Gardens
East Lawn
Photograph of Silver Pendant Lime Trees at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Silver Pendant Lime Trees
Photograph of Gingko Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Gingko Tree
Photograph of Monkey Puzzle Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Monkey Puzzle Tree
Photograph of West Lawn at Bristol Zoo Gardens
West Lawn
Photograph of lake and small islands at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Photograph of Sweet Gum Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Sweet Gum Tree
Photograph of Hawthorn Tree at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Hawthorn Tree
Photograph of Herbaceous Border at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Herbaceous Border


  • How important is access to green space in residential design, on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is most important)?
  • How important is future public access to the gardens, on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is most important)?
  • Should the new proposals include facilities for local residents and the general public  and, if so, what?
  • Do you have a special part of the gardens that you most like to visit?
  • Should the gardens allow for future educational use and, if so, how?

Our history

Bristol Zoological Society has always carefully nurtured our Bristol Zoo Gardens site. We understand its historical significance and the place this holds in Bristol’s collective memory, and will bring forward proposals for its future that respond to this heritage, including the sensitive conservation of valued buildings and monuments.


Bristol Zoo Gardens site plan from 1855 with archive photographs of refreshment building and bear pit
Bristol Zoo Gardens site plan (1855)


Bristol Zoo Gardens site plan from 1951 with archive photographs of Alfred the gorilla, Guthrie gate and the Bird House
Bristol Zoo Gardens site plan (1951)

Designations and Listed

Bristol Zoo Gardens site plan showing designations and listed buildings with archive photographs of the Monkey Temple, Grand Terrace and the Carnival Bridge
Bristol Zoo Gardens designations and listed


  • Which aspects of our heritage across the site do you most value?
  • When the Zoo moves, what would you like to see happen to the historic buildings, such as the Monkey Temple?

Clifton Conservation Hub

Our plans include a space within the iconic entrance building, for telling the story of Bristol Zoological Society and Bristol Zoo Gardens, with a café and meeting place – as well as providing a new home for the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.

Photograph of Bristol Zoo Gardens entrance, with small circular images of a cafe, natural outdoors environments and an archive photo of a keeper with a camel


  • How can we best capture memories of Bristol Zoo Gardens?
  • What would you like to see happening in the Clifton Conservation Hub?
  • Would this be a place you might want to meet friends?
  • Would this be a space that would benefit local residents and community groups?


One Planet Living link
We are using the One Planet Living framework created by Bioregional – find out more at

Sustainability sits at the heart of Bristol Zoological Society’s core aims. We will set ambitious targets, building on the themes set out in the Bristol One City Plan, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and One Planet Living principles, to create zero-carbon homes in a truly sustainable community.

Health and happiness

Creating quality homes that are comfortable, low-energy, that promote wellbeing, and are day-lit with views. Encouraging active lifestyles and promoting good health and wellbeing.

Zero carbon energy

Setting Net Zero Carbon targets for the buildings, reducing operational and embodied carbon levels, and investing in low and zero carbon technology.

Zero waste

Repurposing existing material on site, and reducing construction waste and pollution by using modern methods of construction and circular economy principles.

Materials and products

Evaluating and using construction materials from sustainable sources, including products which help people reduce consumption.

Travel and transport

Promoting cycling, walking and public transport connectivity to and from the Clifton site.

Local and sustainable food

Using the site to grow seasonal and sustainable food, promoting healthy diets.

Sustainable water use

Encouraging water efficiency and protecting local water resources, by promoting rainwater harvesting and using local water bodies to help prevent flooding and drought.

Land and nature

Protecting biodiversity and habitats of ecological value such as the pond, along with new habitat creation on green roofs and strategic planting.

Culture and community

Nurturing the local identity and heritage, empowering the community and promoting a culture of sustainable living.

Equity and local economy

Creating safe, equitable places to live that support the local economy.


  • Would you consider reducing your car use to address the climate challenge we face?
  • What are the barriers to you reducing your car and energy emissions?
  • Do you think we should have more good quality, eco-friendly zero carbon homes in Bristol?
  • Which three sustainability principles do you think are the most important in planning this development?
  • What are your thoughts on how to ensure a sustainable future for the gardens?

Next steps

The project team is listening to feedback from this and other consultation events and activities.

We will review the outcomes of the technical surveys and research, before creating initial masterplan proposals for the site. We will then share these proposals with the community so that you can provide your thoughts, feedback and further input.

Following this, we will share a more detailed masterplan for public consultation.

We intend to finalise the planning application in early 2022, for submission in February 2022.