All about the Friends of Brislington Brook…

We are a group of like minded people all living in BS4 who want to enhance and look after the very special green spaces which are Nightingale Valley and St Annes Woods.


Andy Coogan (Chair 2019-present) (Secretary 2016-2019) – “My full name is Bernard Andrew McBride-Coogan but many people just call me Andy, I answer to pretty much anything these days. I love to walk and make a point of walking through Nightingale Valley and St Anne’s Woods as often as I can. Most weekday mornings you might see me strolling along the brook and snipping away at the overhanging branches & brambles. I moved to Bristol in 1978 and have lived in St Anne’s since about 2003. I guess you can call me semi-retired and this gives me the chance to do stuff I want instead of going to work. I want to make Brislington Brook a little bit nicer so that’s what I am doing; well that, amateur dramatics and riding big noisy motorbikes. Don’t forget to say Hi if you see me tramping through the woods.”


Claire Dowling (Treasurer 2011-present) – “I have lived in Brislington for over 40 years and I have brought up my family of three children, who have been lucky enough to enjoy walking, climbing, fishing, and playing in Nightingale Valley and St Annes Woods. I have spent many years working in the Play Sector, understand the importance of outside green spaces for children and would like to see future generations have these same opportunities for play.” 


Andrew Knight (Joint Secretary 2019-present) – “I moved to Brislington in 2011 and couldn’t believe what a great place Nightingale Valley and St Anne’s Woods were, I’d run through them and it was just so peaceful. Since then I’ve had kids and whilst I still get to run in the woods, I more often find myself walking through them exploring with my two boys whatever the weather. I joined FOBB to help keep the brook and woods in the best possible condition so that other residents, and more importantly for me the children, can grow up appreciating the outdoors and such an amazing green space right on our doorstep.”


Mary Churchill (Joint Secretary 2019-present) – “I have lived in BS4 all my life and my current house backs onto St Annes Woods. I first got involved with the Friends of Brislington Brook because I wanted to get more involved in my local community and do something to help protect the woodland areas where I spent many hours in my youth. Being a Mum I encourage my son to enjoy and appreciate the outdoor green spaces and happily volunteer a few hours a month to help the working parties to manage and maintain the woodlands of Nightingale Valley and St Annes Woods.”


Barry Gray – “I’ve lived in Brislington since 1973 and retired from a career in environmental protection in 2007 and became involved in what is now F.o.B.B. Bristol has some wonderful green spaces which we need to protect and enhance. Brislington and St.Anne’s also has a unique history. By getting involved in looking after the valley and celebrating this history we can all help to build and enjoy a strong community that we’re proud to show to others.”


Esther Coombs – “I’m Esther and I became involved with FOBB after training to be a Citizen Science Leader for the HSBC Water Programme. I test the water in the Brook for the pollutants nitrates and phosphates for a global project with the Earthwatch Institute and Freshwater Watch. I also carry out Riverfly monitoring on the Brook – this is to monitor pollutant sensitive invertebrate such as caddis fly and freshwater shrimp.”


Julian Thomas (Chair 2015-2019)- “I was the chair of the Friends of Brislington Brook from August 2015 until September 2019. As a retired Park Keeper I know that BS4 has many lovely wild spaces and formal parks, and I’m very pleased to be part of a group of volunteers who give up some of their time to help care for this beautiful, if little-known, valley that runs through the heart of Brislington.”