The Avon Valley walk around rivers of east Bristol

I really enjoyed the Bristol Walk Fest, and the last walk we went on was completely fantastic, one I’ve seen in the past, and wanted to do:  the Avon Valley Walk, run by Susan and Rob Acton-Campbell of the Friends of Troopers Hill.  It sold out very fast, but Vik and I put our names down on the waiting list, and were lucky enough to get places.  I have to admit, that when we were on the bus on the way over, and a massive torrential thunder storm started, we were a bit worried, but it was a fantastic day, taking in a secret bath-house, an incredible tree, water meadows, riverside lunch, a ferry, and so much more.  If you ever get the chance to go on a walk run by the Friends, do it!

I’ve tried to map the walk – apologies to Rob and Susan if I got it wrong!

And I have an album of my photos over on twitter (hopefully if you mouse over/click on the first picture, it should start the slideshow too…)

Bath house in the woods

And Vik has a couple of her holga photos from the day, which I love, over on her flickr album:

The green, green grass of home....

So what did we do?

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An “ordinary” walk around the Harbour

Last Friday Vik and I met after work, did a bit of shopping on Park Street, and then walked home on our usual route from the top of the Triangle – down Jacobs Wells Road, along the Floating Harbour, through Underfall Yard and along the south side of the Harbour, over Vauxhall Bridge and home.  I must have taken parts of this walk thousands of times (though if I had the choice I’d take the Chocolate Path, as I did commuting for years, but now it’s been closed by Bristol City Council and left to fall into the river…) and I am always in awe that this is one of my standard routes around the city.

It had rained for most of the day, and the light was spectacular, with more rain clouds overhead, with sunshine making clouds glow against the greys, if you looked in the right direction.

I have some photos in this flickr album – hopefully you can also make it work as a slideshow here…

Avon reflections

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Dru Marland’s latest maps

Back in February I went down to the Kennet and Avon Canal, to podcast-interview Dru Marland about living on the water, her life as an artist and poet, and a lot more.

Since then, Dru has made more gorgeous maps celebrating the water and the area, and they, like her other illustrations and poetry books, can be bought from her Etsy site.  But look how lovely they are!  Big thanks to Dru for letting me put them here.

First, her new Kennet & Avon Canal Map – the Summit and East End (this is a companion map to her previous K&A West End map)

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The stream in Paradise Bottom

OK, I have to start by saying I love the name Paradise Bottom!  It’s a valley with a couple of streams in it at the most northern part of Leigh Woods, on the bank of the River Avon.  This part is owned by the Forestry Commission, and it includes what was an arboretum, designed by Humphry Repton in the 18th Century, so there are all kinds of interesting trees.  The main stream starts at a pond at the top, with other springs and streams joining it, and more ponds further down in the woods, before the stream joins the Avon.

I’ve walked and cycled on the path along the Avon, but never gone up into it before, so Matt Gibson and I went exploring last Sunday, looking for the water.

My photos are here – it was dappled woodland light, which all my cameras found hard, but wow it was beautiful!  Golden-green sunlight through the leaves, the smell of wild garlic everywhere, and I have some clips of what it sounded like below.  Mouse/swipe over the first photo, and it should bring up the slideshow…

Waterfall from a Paradise Bottom pond

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Take the Ferry down the New Cut

I really enjoyed the Bristol Ferry trips down the River Avon, but I’m very excited about an upcoming trip I’ve booked on – taking the Ferry down the New Cut.

This is a rare trip, especially because they were stopped completely for the last few years as the works on Ashton Avenue Bridge as part of the Metrobus works dragged on and on, and there are only two more planned for 2018, on 6th July and 14th August.  I don’t know how far it will go, but I absolutely can’t wait for the July trip, because I’ve always wanted to see the Cut from this angle.  It costs £18 for adults, or £15 for concessions, and the trip on 6th July leaves from the SS Great Britain landing at 10am, and will take around 3.5 hours.

It will be extra poignant this year, given that the Chocolate Path alongside the Avon is closed indefinitely, with no clue about when, or even if, work will start to re-open it.   But it will be a fascinating trip – if you come too, say hello!  You can see more about the trip, and book tickets, on the Bristol Ferry website – and there are more of their trips here.

Find out more about the history of the Avon New Cut, and why it’s so important to the city, in my podcast with Roy Gallop of the Friends of the Avon New Cut.

Things to do in Bristol this week – walking and canoeing

Lots of water-related activities to do over the next few weeks in Bristol –  I know it’s a bit last minute, but I’m a bit over excited about them!

2018 National Go Canoeing Week, is 26th May-3rd June, with canoe and kayak activities all over the country.  If you know me in real life, you’ve probably heard me moaning about not being able to find a way to paddle around the Harbour, so I was extra excited to see, via morseykayak, that there are canoe trips this week.

We’re going on the evening canoe tour of Bristol on 30th May, run by All Aboard watersports, who are based between Underfall Yard and the Cottage Pub – and there’s 20% off the usual prices for the three special events they’re running this week.  Click through and find out more (and look out for 500 waterproof camera pictures!).  And if you’re not in Bristol, and want to find events in your area, there’s a lot more information on the British Canoeing website.

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Throughout May it’s been Bristol Walk Fest, with all kinds of interesting walks, and while the month is coming to an end, there are still a lot of fun walks to do – if I wasn’t pre-booked, I would definitely go on Monday’s walk exploring the life and times of maritime explorer John Cabot, the Avonmouth Story Walk and the ones that include the River Trym, Exploring Badock’s Wood and Tuesday evening’s walk around Westbury.

The full programme is here – definitely click the “View All Events” link at the bottom of each day, as often the best ones (and evening ones) lurk there!  And follow the @briswalkfest18 twitter and #BristolWalkFest hashtag, to see what other people are enjoying.

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A Forgotten Landscape is a cultural heritage project to conserve and enhance the Lower Severn Vale Levels area, with a lot of community engagement, and they have a really great website and twitter.  They’re currently running the Severnside Walking Festival, with events until 17th June, including walks, workshops and art projects.

I especially like the look of the two workshops creating fire sculptures, which will be burned on Severn Beach, on 8th and 9th June.  Wish I was free, they look like incredible experiences.  But all their events look so fascinating, and they’re also running the Severn Festival at Severn Beach (*sometimes* a really lovely train ride from Bristol…) on 14th July.   I definitely recommend spending some time on the AFL website, though, it’s full of intriguing projects, lovely images and so much to think about.

Avon silt clouds

Last Tuesday I was completely obsessed with the silt clouds flowing out of the Entrance Lock into the Avon, and I posted one or two (!) little films – but I also took a ton of photos as well.  I’ve put the one I took on my Olympus XA2 film camera into a flickr album, and if you mouse over the first one below, you should be able to see the slideshow…

Silt clouds in the Avon

Some of my favourite images:

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