Following the Death of Lord Wraxall in 2004, part of the Tyntesfield Estate was put up for sale. This included Prior’s Wood; subsequently recognised as ancient woodland and one of the best bluebell woods in the South West.
Occupying the Gordano Valley, with the woods full of oak, hazel and birdlife, Avon Wildlife trust were eager to purchase this land to protect it from destructive pursuits, such as paintballing or 4x4s, also protecting the nearby hospice from the disruptive nature of these activities.
AWT turned to YANSEC and Viridor Credits for the funds to acquire it. Their application was successful, and in 2005 the woods belonged to AWT. Having bought the land, the Trust applied for additional funding to YANSEC in 2007 in order to improve the management of the woods, including clearing paths for walkers, building bridges over the stream that runs through the site and erecting interpretation boards along the trails. Now safely in the hands of the Trust, the woods are enjoyed by thousands of walkers each year, particularly during bluebell season.
The reserve was Avon Wildlife Trust's reserve of the month for April 2012.