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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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.

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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Leigh Woods and the Avon silt banks

Back at the start of May, I had a morning trip to Leigh Woods, and it was wonderful – a perfect Spring day, with the clouds whipped across the sky, the light changing continually, from sunny to cloudy and back again.  It was such a perfect Spring day, and I loved exploring the Stokeleigh Camp Iron Age Fort, so on the way back down Nightingale Valley, I turned north and walked up the silt banks, through the long grass, and along the tide lines.   I have photos, and sounds, below, but let’s start with photos.   The album is on flickr, but if you mouse over the first picture, it should bring up a slideshow…

Stokeleigh Camp Iron Age fort

and here’s the map of where I walked – without all the back-and-forth of looking at the same things over and over!

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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

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