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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Avon Stories Podcast #23: Soundwalking with Dan Pope

There are so many ways to explore a place, and one of them is through the sounds you find there.  Dan Pope is an acoustic consultant and musician, who also makes sound-art and runs sound walks, and for this episode, we went walking down the St Philip’s Greenway and the closed Avon path, on a soundwalk.

Between stopping to find out what we could hear, Dan told me about various kinds of soundwalks, and how we can come at them from art, science, politics, ethnography, history, psychogeography, planning, and so many more viewpoints.

We also talked about his work, and what can be done to add positive (and negative!) soundscapes to places.

Dan has a fantastic list of sound resources, for people who want to explore sounds in their area:

  • The Hush City app is a great resource to add sounds you encounter to a global community – you can explore their website and see what they do
  • Cities and Memory is a global sound project, collecting sounds and having sound-artists remix them into sound-art pieces.  For example, their Politics of Protest global sound map.
  • The World Listening Project runs World Listening Day every year, with tons of events, including soundwalks – this year it’s on 18th July
  • The Institute of Acoustics has regional branches across the UK, which run events – find your local branch here.
  • The Bristol Walking Festival doesn’t have specific soundwalks this year, but there are tons of interesting walks to places that you can listen to
  • Apps like Titanium Recorder and the Soundcloud app are great for recording interesting sounds you hear out and about – look them up wherever you get your apps

We also briefly talked about some people working in sounds:

Continue reading “Avon Stories Podcast #23: Soundwalking with Dan Pope”

April Avon Nature Reserves walk

Last Thursday was the hottest day of 2018 so far, a truly beautiful day, where it felt like summer, not spring, and a perfect day for a walk.  Tracy Homer and I were exploring some of the nature reserves along the Avon – a very similar walk to one I took in November last year with Vik, but in reverse.   It includes four very different nature reserves:  the Goat Gully; White’s Paddock & Bennett’s Patch (aka the home of the wicker whales); Bishop’s Knoll Woods; and Old Sneed Park Nature Reserve.

My map is here:

and there’s a photo album on flickr, or if you mouse over or click on the first photo below, it should open up the slideshow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ventilation shaft

So what did we do?

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An April lunchtime walk

I met with my friend Cee last week for a lunch-hour walk from Victoria Square to Castle Park along the Harbour, including the new path under the Huller & Cheese flats and through the Finzel’s Reach development.  It was a stunning day, like the first real day of spring, with people everywhere, but our route was surprisingly empty.Map of our walk:

And a couple of photos…

Boats:

Grass-roofed boat

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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?

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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

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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