Bristol ferry trip down the New Cut

This summer, I experienced something that was legitimately one of the very best things I’ve done in Bristol, and something I’ve longed to do for years – I went on the Bristol Ferry trip down the New Cut, to Netham Weir.

This is a rare trip anyway, as the Bristol Ferry Boat Company only run a couple of these a year, but for the last year they haven’t run them at all, as Ashton Avenue Bridge was covered in scaffolding for the Metrobus works.  In the past I’ve only seen these trips after they happened, but for the 6th July expedition,  I booked my tickets early, and persuaded some friends to come too – my good friend Matt Gibson, Charlie Revelle-Smith of Weird Bristol fame, and landscape architect Wendy Tippett, who I podcasted with last year about the Sylvia Crowe landscapes of the Cumberland Basin, and her architect husband Andrew.

Here’s the map of our trip:

and my album of photos – click through, or mouse/swipe over the first photo below, and hopefully you’ll see a slideshow.  I took a lot of photos, so I’ve written about them as well below…

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If you want to know about the New Cut, before I start, check out my podcast interview with Roy Gallop of the Friends of the Avon New Cut, who told me about the history of this very special part of the Avon.

Continue reading “Bristol ferry trip down the New Cut”

Low tide adventures

The heatwave may have dried up the rivers, scorched the grass and given farmers a terrible year, but I have some good memories too.  Back on 3rd July I walked home from work “the long way round”, and went to the very end of the Floating Harbour, where it meets the Avon in the curve of the Entrance Lock walls.  It was low tide, a gorgeous day, and one of the highlights of my summer.

Here’s a flickr photo album of 35mm film shots from my Olympus XA2 (if you mouse/swipe over the first photo below, hopefully you’ll get a slideshow…)

Someone else

And some words about some of the photos, and a sound:

Continue reading “Low tide adventures”

Weird Bristol Walk, June 2018

I am a huge fan of Charlie Revelle-Smith‘s Weird Bristol twitter, sharing little nuggets of information about the city – and so I was excited to share the druid gravestone that Vik and I saw in Avonview Cemetery on our way home from the Bristol Walk Fest walk around the Avon Valley.  We’d been talking about going on a walk together, and this was the perfect place to start, to look around the cemetery and come back via some of my favourite weird Bristol places.  On 28th June, in the heatwave, we got on a bus after work and went exploring.

Here’s the map of where we went:

And here’s my flickr photo album (click through or mouse over the first picture to start a slideshow)

Netham Weir

Make sure you follow Charlie’s twitter – and look out for his Weird Bristol book that’s coming out soon!  And to find out more about him, listen to my podcast interview with him from last July.

Continue reading “Weird Bristol Walk, June 2018”

Eastwood Farm and Strad Brook, June 2018

Vik and I had been to Eastwood Farm as part of the fantastic Bristol Walk Fest Friends of Troopers Hill walk, but we wanted to have another look, so on 23rd June, our friend Matt drove us over to have a look.  We ended up walking around Eastwood Farm (and dipping cameras into the lagoon!) then crossing the Avon on the Beese’s Ferry, and walking up the Strad Brook, the stream that divides Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Here’s the map of the walk:

And the first batch of photos, a flickr album from Eastwood Farm:

Underwater, Eastwood Farm

Continue reading “Eastwood Farm and Strad Brook, June 2018”

Kayaking on the Floating Harbour

Back on 8th June, Vik and I went kayaking on the Floating Harbour.  Ever since we moved to Bristol I’ve wanted to canoe or kayak, but it’s been endlessly frustrating failing over and over again, because I’d basically need to buy my own boat and space to leave it – or so I thought!  Then I read about Go Canoeing Week, and one of the options was a canoe trip around the Harbour with All Aboard watersports, so we booked it!

The initial tour didn’t happen, but we re-booked, and it felt luxurious, just Vik and me having a bespoke session.  We have different levels of expertise, because a million years ago I was an outdoor activity instructor, teaching canoeing and kayaking (among other things) in the Lake District, while Vik has been in a kayak once.  We were in little short surf-style kayaks, which are super-maneuverable, but were a bit frustrating for Vik as a practically first-timer, and we had a bit of teaching, and then went for a trip.  My photos are here:

Seagulls fighting over a chicken leg

and check out Vik’s photos too:

Continue reading “Kayaking on the Floating Harbour”

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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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.

Silt clouds in the Avon

Yesterday Vik and I were on a walk, and it wasn’t going so well – the walk leaders didn’t have a map, just instructions, and didn’t know where they were going, and that makes me so stressed. So when we got to the Cumberland Basin, we peeled off, and went to look at the river instead.

After the long, long winter, May has been pretty much perfect, and yesterday was a beautiful day.  The sun was low in the sky, and the tide was very high, very still.  We stood on the very end of the Cumberland Basin, looking at the bridge, and then down at the water directly below us.  The first Entrance Lock gates had been opened recently, and clouds of silt were flowing into the river, at first slowly, and then when the second lock gate was opened too, very fast.

It’s one of my very favourite things, watching the clouds of silt under the water – the way they move, like eruptions, or something blossoming.   It’s magical to me, and I always hope I’ll see it.  Of course I wish I’d had my DSLR and tripod with me, as filming on my mobile has limitations, but still, I took nearly 50 snippets of film on my phone.  I’m not posting all of them here, but check out how gorgeous it was.  The light was changing, the water pressures kept changing too, and I was hypnotised.  We spent about an hour and a half there, and then walked home, with everything looking beautiful.  I also took a whole load of photos on my film camera (and UPDATE!  they’re here).

The sounds to imagine are a base rumble of traffic from the Portway ahead to the right, and behind on the Plimsoll swingbridge; the piercing blackbird song coming from across the river ahead of us, other birdsong layered up; and the sound of the water flowing, with gloops as eruptions of silt hit the surface.  The smell was of river-water on a hot day, so evocative and refreshing.  Spring breeze on my skin and in my hair, the stone of the Harbour edge warm in the sun, and gently-rough on my hands and where I sat.  The water was so high, it was only a metre and a half below us, and I was having fantasies of jumping in.

At first, it was relatively slow

Looking out across the river, the surface tensions were picked up by the light, but it was just too bright for my phone

Continue reading “Silt clouds in the Avon”

Cranbrook and the Redland Springs, April

In March I was looking at the springs in Redland that lead to Cranbrook, but I hadn’t realised that the Cranbrook leads down to The Arches, and that, according to the Big Blue Map of Bristol, it’s above ground around there. So two weeks ago, Tracy Homer and I went to have a look for it.

My (mostly phone) photos are in my flickr album (if you mouse over/tap the photo below, you should be able to see a slideshow…)  I have a film-ette and some sounds in the post below too.

The makeshift bridge

Continue reading “Cranbrook and the Redland Springs, April”