Bristol Naturalists’ Society and the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Emergency Update: 5th Sept 2020


Dear Member,

Following the Government’s relaxation of lockdown, we are now able to offer our members a small taste of normality.

As a consequence, the following will apply:

➤ The Society’s Library will be opening soon.  Booking is essential to preserve social distancing.  Contact the Librarian via for instructions.

➤ Some field meetings are being offered but on a limited basis to comply with Government guidelines, e.g., only six members can be present; see the Bulletin for details of each meeting.

➤ Improvements to the Society Website are being actively pursued and implemented so, in time, details of field meetings and talks will also be available on the Website.

➤ The venue for our Winter Lecture Programme is not fully open and therefore we are planning to deliver our Talks via a video link in order to keep members safe.  Members must also register their interest for any particular talk that they wish to attend and we will send you the necessary instructions.

If you are not able to attend field meetings, we wish all our members well in the coming months and hope you will be able to enjoy the natural world from wherever you are located despite any restrictions now in place.  Fortunately, geology and nature are always around us and taking an interest in them is both rewarding and therapeutic.

Please abide by all the government advice to stay safe and we look forward to seeing you again as soon as we are able to return to our usual extensive programme of walks and talks.

Lesley Cox (BNS Hon. Sec.)

About us

Society Aims

The Bristol Naturalists’ Society exists to stimulate a greater awareness of natural history and geology in the Bristol area.  It is a thriving and friendly Society with something of interest for everybody, young or old, professional or amateur.  It is actively involved in a long term programme of education, research and conservation. Each year its talks, trips and publications are enjoyed by hundreds of people wanting to find out more about our Natural World.

The Bristol Naturalists’ Society was founded in 1862.  It has always had close links with Bristol University and Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and became a charity in 1972 (Charity No: 235494).

Past presidents have included many eminent naturalists, scientists and geologists including William Sanders (First President, 1862 – 1875) and Prof. C Lloyd Morgan.  The first lady President, Miss Ida Roper was elected in 1913.

Through the Victorian era and the twentieth  century, members of the Society published detailed summaries of the geology of the region and its plant life, its birds, its insects, and the wildlife of the shores and estuaries.  In the present century, current members monitor the continuing changes to augment and update the data.


The Bristol Naturalists’ Society hosts a large number of indoor and outdoor meetings throughout the year at which many eminent Naturalists and Geologists speak.  These regularly attract large audiences and are free to members.

Each Society Section (Botany, Geology, Invertebrates, Mammals and Ornithology) have a varied and interesting programme of activities.  The Society also has a General Section aimed at members with wide natural history interests.

This information is made available to all members in a monthly bulletin that is both delivered to their door and posted on this web site.


The activities of the Society are coordinated by an elected Council which oversees the day-to-day running of the Society, including the booking of speakers and field trips, the dissemination of Society news and information through the monthly bulletin, the Proceedings and the Avon Bird Report, the running of the library and the administration of grants.

Council members are also responsible for managing the Society funds under close scrutiny of the Charity Commission.  Annual subscriptions are the Society’s biggest income and Council take extreme care that this money is spent wisely to benefit the Society and its members.  All Council members are volunteers and give their time gratis.

Members of Council 2019-2020

President: Andy Radford, Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University of Bristol.

Chairman: Ray Barnett
Hon. Secretary: Lesley Cox
Hon. Treasurer: Mary-Jane Steer
Hon. Membership Secretary: Margaret Fay
Hon. Proceedings Editor: Dee Holladay
Hon. Bulletin Editor: David Davies
Hon. Archivist: Clive Lovatt
Hon. Librarian: Jim Webster
Auditor: Vacancy
Hon. Publicity Secretary: Alex Morss
Representing each Section:
Botany: Vacant
Geology: Mr R. Ashley
Invertebrate: Mike Hutchinson
Ornithology: Mr G. Morris

Mammals: Vacant

Ordinary members:
Tim Corner, Robert Muston and Steve Nicholls

Other contact details:

Please email with any enquiries.

Grants: The Society typically awards grants in the region of £500 for projects that meet the Society’s charitable aims of promoting research and education in natural history and it’s conservation in the Bristol region.

Further information and an application form can be downloaded from: Grant applications.

Grant application form 2020

Completed applications should be e-mailed to: