Ardagh Community Trust, Bristol

Creating a community-led future for The Ardagh at the heart of Horfield Common.

Ardagh Community Trust (ACT) is a charity, led by local volunteers. ACT manages the Ardagh site for the benefit of the Horfield Common community. ACT generates income through social enterprise activities including the Café on the Common which is open daily from 10am – 4pm. 

During the winter months, the wider site is open from 9am – 5.00pm. At the beginning of April opening hours are extended to 7pm in line with seasonal time changes.   

ACT provides volunteering opportunities, sports, leisure and wellbeing facilities. In addition, we have public gardens, space for community activities (including gardening, a Repair Café and a range of events and performances)and a community hub and  café, open daily. 

ACT is working to improve the quality and availability of the facilities available at The Ardagh for this, and for future generations.


Statement from Ardagh Community Trust, 18.01.2024

Please see below statement in response to social media posts on local forums: 

It is disappointing that the future of assets in parks in Bristol continues to be under threat following reductions to local authority spending in general, and for parks in particular. These financial decisions produced a shift in Bristol City Council (BCC) policy in 2010, when the Council decided it would no longer subsidise the cost of leisure activities in parks – including sports. For some of the background to this issue, and the events that led to the Ardagh bowling green being removed from the local authority’s sports strategy in 2020 (which has led to an ongoing decline in quality) please see this timeline:…/1GhrgSgadny4PFQbK…

and these links: & 

When Horfield Common and The Ardagh were threatened with development, ACT was formed to develop a community asset project, following negotiations with BCC in 2016. The Ardagh Bowling Club decided not to join in with this project. As the council had intended to sell the Ardagh site for development, there has been a 30-year lack of investment, necessitating significant capital costs which need to be met in in the medium-long term to ensure that all areas of the site can continue to be used safely. ACT is working hard to secure funding to pay for this, but there are, of course, no guarantees. ACT have taken responsibility for managing the Ardagh site to ensure its survival and ongoing availability to our local community – as a public asset – as well as to ensure that it stays available for community use rather than being developed.

ACT offered the green to the bowls club for sole use for competitive lawn bowling for the 2024 season at cost and this offer was declined. The bowls club is a private club which ACT is not permitted to subsidise; ACT’s offer to the club was based on recovering only actual expenditure on the green. ACT will continue to facilitate social bowling but cannot subsidise competitive bowling.

ACT intends to continue to make the green available for social bowling and complementary activities (e.g yoga, tai-chi) through 2024, while Trustees consider its long-term future.

For any further detail about the bowling club, please contact the club directly.



As a charity, ACT is unable to subsidise private sports clubs such as the bowls club.  Its charges to the bowls club for the use of the green in 2024 is based on recovering actual costs only, as it is required to do under charity law.

Trustees are extremely disappointed and concerned at misleading statements made on social media by members of the bowling club but remain committed to ensuring the future of the whole Ardagh site for use by all the local community.


ACT Trustees confirm that:

  1. The terms ACT is offering to the bowling club were set out in a meeting with bowling club representatives that took place on 30th October 2023.
  2. The deadline for agreement to these terms was December 31st 2023 to enable ACT to proceed with planning for external grant funding applications to further improve facilities at the site.
  3. The Board reiterated that the principle of only charging the bowling club actual costs applies to all capital work.
  4. Improvements to the green to enable ongoing use for competitive Lawn Bowling would only take place in agreement with the club, which would bear the full costs.
  5. Works deemed necessary for health and safety reasons would be required to be completed with the club bearing the full cost. If such works were not agreed, or able to be carried out in a timely manner, ACT would close all or part of the green to protect the public and comply with its insurance requirements.

Following publication of a range of claims on social media in January 2024, in addition to the principles set out above, Ardagh Community Trust is able to confirm the specific costs that the bowling club will need to pay if they want to play competitive bowling on the green at the Ardagh for the 2024 lawn bowling season (April – Oct). 

The offer made to the bowling club was for hire of the green at £10ph. For a standard game where 2 bowlers are playing it will cost £5ph each which is the same cost as other greens in Bristol and nationwide. For pairs, triples and fours games it will be considerably cheaper than comparators in Bristol and nationally.

For the green to be able to be used for competitive bowls, the ditches surrounding the green need to be repaired at a cost of £5940. This quote was provided by an independent external contractor following completion of a full site structural survey in Autumn 2023. There is no need for these repairs unless the green is being used for competitive sport. Social bowling will continue at the Ardagh in 2024 and can continue without this work being completed.

The additional cost to the bowling club is a maintenance contract, supplied by an external contractor at £12,500 per annum – this is exactly the same cost and supplier that the club have used to date. 

ACT understands that this is a difficult amount for the bowling club to raise since Bristol City Council withdrew the subsidy as part of its sports review, however, as a charity it cannot subsidise a private sports club.

The Ardagh Market returns on Saturday 9th March 2024!

Join us at the Ardagh Community Trust for a delightful day of food and crafts!

A monthly food and craft market happens here every second Saturday from March – December on the triple tennis court.

We are particularly celebrating local trade and produce so come along and browse the varied selection of stalls.

Indulge in a wide variety of mouthwatering delicacies from local vendors, showcasing highlights of Bristol’s culinary scene. From scrumptious cakes to gourmet street food, there’s something to satisfy every craving.

Browse through an array of unique crafts and handmade goods, lovingly created by talented local artisans. Discover one-of-a-kind jewelry, pottery, artwork, and much more.

Free entry to the market and you can always stop for a coffee at the Café on the Common while you decide what to buy! 

For further details about the markets take a look at our events page. For details on how to book a pitch, please contact Myles at

Community Plant Nursery open daily at The Ardagh

Support us to improve the Ardagh gardens and facilities further by buying your garden perennials, compost, bedding plants, hanging baskets, houseplants & more from our new gardening social enterprise! Our volunteer gardening team are always happy to offer advice and tips. 



Days of the year we are open.

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Residents can walk here in 10 minutes

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trees make up our 0.4km ‘Fruit & Nut’ hedgerow – planted by volunteers

Registered Charity Number: 1172556

Personal Info

Donation Total: £25.00

Buy a giftcard to support ACT

If you are looking for a thoughtful gift idea – and you’d like to share the gift of enjoying some lovely food, drinks and more at The Ardagh, you can support your local community business and charity by purchasing a gift card for the Café on the Common.
These are delivered electronically so are a super sustainable  and quick option. Suitable for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, or just to say ‘I’m thinking of you’. 
The Café on the Common is a social enterprise run by Ardagh Community Trust, with all surplus reinvested in the site to improve the availability and quality of facilities at the Ardagh for everyone.
To purchase a gift voucher click on this link for secure payment: