A walk from Filton to Eastville along the Frome

Last week I was up in Filton, recording the podcast with the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, and afterwards, since I was up in that neighbourhood, I walked down through the Stoke Park Estate, and along the Frome.

Stoke Park was beautiful – completely empty on this hot, summer day, with the sounds of crickets, birdsong, ‘planes overhead, and the M32 thrumming in the distance.  It’s somewhere I’ve only been once before, and I really should find out more about it, especially the strange ruins.

Stoke Park Estate

I have a thing about being underneath roads, so in the tunnel under the motorway, I recorded the sounds – under, and then next to it:

After Stoke Park, I went down to the Frome, starting at the weir at Broom Hill.  Clambering over the sluicegate to stand on the end of the weir, I put my disposable underwater film camera into the weir, for different views of it.  I love these three especially

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Avon Stories #9: Protecting our rivers with the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust

My Avon Stories project is based around the river and the waters in Bristol, and while I’ve been looking at how the river impacted on the history of Bristol, and how people use and are inspired by the river, I’m also very interested in the water itself – and in this podcast, I set out to find out more

I talked to Claire Hutchinson, a Project Officer with the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART), a community-based charity that works to protect and improve the rivers and streams.  Claire told me about how healthy the water is, the challenges and issues facing the rivers, including the different forms of pollution, and what BART, and we, can do to protect our environment.

The BART catchment area covers the Avon and all the tributaries that feed into it:

You can find out more about BART’s work on their website, including their projects, and the ones we talked about:

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Filming (and failing to photograph) fish in the Harbour

I always love the fish in the Harbour – from spotting big fish, to the shoals of tiny fish-lets that are in the shallowest parts of the Harbour on the sunny days, flashing silver as they dart in shoals.  I took this photo, which was a fantastic failure, but when I borrowed my friend Tim’s GoPro, one of my goals was to get some films.

This was a beautiful, mellow, sunny day.  I’d met my friend Matt Gibson for coffee at the Underfall Yard, and our walk lasted about 2 minutes before we stopped by the western jetty and slipway by the Nova Scotia.

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Avon Stories #8: Edson Burton’s creative life

Dr Edson Burton is a man with many strings to his bow: historian, poet, playwright, performer, storyteller and programmer/curator, just as the start.

I talked to him about his work, how he got into writing in the first place, running poetry and story-telling workshops, events he curates, and much more.  And we finished the conversation by Bristol Harbour, where he read one of his poems.

One of the projects he talked about included Afrometropolis, transforming the Arnolfini into a new Black city for the night, that he curated as part of the Come the Revolution collective.

Edson’s latest play, Deacon, will be on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 28th July 2017 at 2:15pm, and you can listen to it here on the day, and afterwards, if you missed it.

Find out more about Edson’s work at the Watershed Pervasive Media Studio, where he has a residency, and at the Trinity Centre, where he’s a project coordinator.  There’s information about his ongoing project, The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut, at his Afrofuturist Theatre facebook and on the Watershed page and video:

Of course you can also follow Edson on his twitter and personal facebook.  Big thanks to him for his time, and for providing the photo, taken by Claudio Ahlers.

You can download this podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.  Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.

Avon Stories #7: Weird Bristol, Harbour murders and ghost stories

In this week’s podcast, I sat by the river with Charlie Revelle-Smith, author of Bristol-based murder mysteries, as he told me about some of the famous historical murders around the Bristol Harbour, and what they reveal about the city, as well as some of the ghost stories.

He also told me about his Weird Bristol twitter, which shares fantastic factoids about the city.  Some that we talked about included:

Charlie has also written some walking tours for Visit Bristol – Grave Encounters, his guide to cemeteries in the city, and his Dark Bristol city centre walking tour for Hallowe’en.

You can find out more about Charlie’s books on his website, and on his Amazon Author page.

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You can download this podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.  Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.

Avon Stories #6 – RB Boatbuilding and the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters

This one’s a shorter podcast than usual, just 9 minutes long.  It’s an interview with John Raymond-Barker, who runs RB Boatbuilding in Underfall Yard at the end of the Floating Harbour.   He’s one of the last links to Bristol’s long tradition of boat building, and he specialises in making Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters, a type of boat that evolved in Bristol and Cardiff, to deal with the unique and treacherous conditions of the Bristol Channel, while racing to get as much lucrative piloting business as possible.

John told me more about the boats, and his work, and I hope you enjoy it.  If you want to know more about RB Boatbuilding, visit his website, which includes a page about the Pilot Cutters – and there’s lots of information about the Underfall Yard, where he’s based.

I got to scramble around a Pilot Cutter while it’s being built, and you can see those photos here (click on the picture to access the slideshow)

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