Coombe Brook, April 2018

I’m really enjoying using this project to explore places I’ve never been in Bristol, and last Wednesday’s walk with Tracy Homer was a perfect example.  We wanted something not too long and arduous, and I’d had on my list these little runs of water through Speedwell and Clay Bottom, which seemed even more intriguing on the Bristol City Council’s Big Blue Map of Bristol, which shows (most of) the rivers and streams where they run above and below ground, and named this one:  Coombe Brook, aka The Gossey.  It’s only a few kilometres long, but it runs through two very different nature reserves, and even when it’s below ground, its path is a green corridor through the city almost until it reaches the River Frome.  Intriguing in so many ways!

Our walk map is here – with the line of the river very approximately in blue.  I’ve added in our full walk, including heading back along the Bristol-Bath Cycle Path:

And my photo album from the walk is on flickr, or below (if you click or mouse over the first image, it should bring up the slideshow.

Coombe Brook footbridge

So, what did we see?

Continue reading “Coombe Brook, April 2018”

Redland springs – and some thoughts on owning rivers

I’m getting really interested in the beginnings of rivers, and especially springs.  I’ve never really thought about them until recently, but when I did, I imagined them as something like the Source of the Malago, rather than the oozing of water that was the other Dundry stream source that I saw with Tracy when we were exploring the beginning of the Malago (and more!) back in February.

I’ve been doing a lot of pouring over my OS maps, looking at the sources of rivers, and looking for Bristol waterways, and last month I went walking through Redland, to see if I could find the Cranbrook, the little stream that starts out at Redland Green and disappears underground.

These aren’t great photos – I’ve broken my film cameras, so was playing with my friend Cee’s camera, and some are mobile shots – but they’re like it looked, if that makes sense.

The beginning of the Redland secret stream

Redland secret stream

Unfortunately, the stream itself is behind huge spiky fences, running along the bottom of the Redland Green Allotments, and although the snow had only melted the week before, it seemed pretty dry.  But walking along the fence, looking to see if I could take some photos, I found a spring.

Continue reading “Redland springs – and some thoughts on owning rivers”

Snowy walk along the closed Avon path

Last Saturday the snow was still around, and I went walking in it with my friends Kate and Tim.  They’d never been down the closed part of the Avon footpath, or seen the Netham Weir, which is there to try to stop the Avon being tidal, so off we went.

Map of our walk:

And photos too.   If you mouse over/click on the first photo it should open the slideshow, or you can go directly to the flickr album.

BOC Gas

Continue reading “Snowy walk along the closed Avon path”

Thinking about my photography practice

For the past few months, my photography has felt to me like it’s been changing, and not in a good way.  I get my rolls of film back, and there are very few that jump out at me as ones I love, and that’s frustrating.  There are some different reasons behind that, and I’m not sure they’re all bad, but they’re interesting to me.

One of the things I realised recently is I’m not experimenting as much as I have in the past.   “Experimenting” is maybe the wrong word – maybe it’s that I’m not taking as many abstracts, or just shooting for fun.  One of the reasons for that is I’m definitely feeling the pinch, financially, with camera film and processing so expensive, so I’m putting pressure on myself to make every shot count.  I could use digital, but I can’t have fun with it in the same way I can with film:  on one hand, it’s too clean, the images are too crisp and perfect; on the other, I get caught up in looking at the photos as they happen, whereas I can use film to get into a kind of meditative place, where I’m looking, and shooting, and not thinking about how they’ll turn out.  I know, technically I could not look at my digital photos until I get home, but that’s really hard for me to do, because I know I CAN see them.  I could try to work on that.

But the other thing I’ve been thinking about is how my practice has been changing.

Continue reading “Thinking about my photography practice”

Snow day Avon

Because we’re on the water, and in the south, it doesn’t often snow in Bristol, and if it does, it rarely sticks, so the huge “Beast from the East” snowmaggedon was a huge deal here, that I’m sure people in Scotland and the Frozen North are rolling their eyes at.   But not having to get anywhere, with a warm house and a stocked pantry, it was a ton of fun, just for a weekend.

On Friday Vik and I walked along the Avon and up to Stokeleigh Camp, the Iron Age fort in Leigh Woods, and back.  While the parks and slopes were full of children sledging, once we got to the Avon footpath, it was really empty, with much less traffic on the Portway than usual. All the interesting layers pulled into focus, outlined by snow, from the terraces of Hotwells, to the striations of the Gorge.

Up in the woods it was pretty magical, with everything so quiet we could hear the falling snow hit the evergreen and remaining dead autumn leaves.  We walked around the Fort walls and talked about what it might have been like to live there, as the wind blew swirls of snowflakes off the drifts on top of the earthworks.  As we walked home, a skier passing us on the Nightingale Valley path, the tracks we and others had made were already covered in snow, and it felt like we were the first people to walk on the path, and on the silt banks.  It was a gorgeous day.

Photos are in the album – mouse over/click the first image to get the slideshow, or go straight to flickr.

Striations

Walking the River Trym, February 2018

My friend Tracy Homer puts up with a lot, walking with me, from clambering through ditches and up slopes, to battling knee-high brambles, walking after dark and in torrential rain, and more.  It’s a good thing she likes me, but I don’t want to push my luck, so on Wednesday’s walk with her, we walked a gentle route with no possibility of getting into scrapes – an urban nature exploration, following the River Trym from Southmead, where it first appears in Bristol, to Sea Mills, where it joins the River Avon.

The map of the walk is here:

And the photo album is here (mouse over or click on the first image and it should take you to the slideshow, or click through to flickr)

Looking back to the start of the River Trym, in Southmead

Continue reading “Walking the River Trym, February 2018”

Portishead railway and the footpath to Clevedon

I try not to repeat walks too frequently, but I really loved exploring the disused railway line in Portishead, and it’s ideally a winter walk, as it would be tons harder when covered in undergrowth, and with the plans to reopen the line, I wanted to do it again, while I still can.  So Vik and I went back last Saturday to see the line, and then walk down the footpath along the Bristol Channel to Clevedon.

The map of our walk is here:

and I have an album of photos on flickr, and below.  If you mouse over or click on the first image, it should bring up a slideshow, or use this link.

Portishead lighthouse

Continue reading “Portishead railway and the footpath to Clevedon”