0 The unusual reason half of Ashton Court golf course has been closed off

Orchids, including the rare green winged orchid, were able to grow on parts of the course during lockdown

Orchids, including the rare green winged orchid, were able to grow on parts of the course during lockdown (Image: Jon Kent/Jon Rowley)

Half of Ashton Court golf course has been closed off to the public after a rare orchid flower bloomed during lockdown.

Orchids, including the rare green winged orchid, were able to grow on parts of the course following the closure of facilities during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Bristol City Council, which runs the golf course, says it has taken the decision to reduce the number of holes available to play by nine to allow for the plants to seed.

It added that it plans to have all 18 holes back open by July 15 and has asked the public to be patient in the meantime.

A council spokesman said: "Following the closure of golf facilities during the Covid-19 lockdown, maintenance was reduced on the Ashton Court golf course to allow our teams to focus on areas still open to the public.

"As a result, orchids, including the rare green winged orchid, have been able to grow on parts of the course.

"In order to protect these flowers, we have taken the decision to reduce the number of holes available to play from 18 to 9, to follow the advice of our ecologist and in line with the Higher Level Stewardship agreement in place for the rest of the site.

"This will both allow the plants to seed and enhance the environment for pollinators. We currently plan to bring the 9 holes back into play on July 15, when the plants will have seeded.

"We would ask the public to be patient and respectful of our staff as they work to make as many services available as possible in a safe way during unprecedented circumstances."

A ranger told The Sun: "The golfers aren't particularly pleased about it, but we have hundreds of orchids that have sprouted up on the fairway.

"The flowers have gone now, but we are keen to make sure the seeds mature so we get more next year."


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