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…)
And Vik has a couple of her holga photos from the day, which I love, over on her flickr album:
So what did we do?
Continue reading “The Avon Valley walk around rivers of east Bristol”
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…
Continue reading “An “ordinary” walk around the Harbour”
OK, I have to start by saying I love the name Paradise Bottom! It’s a valley with a couple of streams in it at the most northern part of Leigh Woods, on the bank of the River Avon. This part is owned by the Forestry Commission, and it includes what was an arboretum, designed by Humphry Repton in the 18th Century, so there are all kinds of interesting trees. The main stream starts at a pond at the top, with other springs and streams joining it, and more ponds further down in the woods, before the stream joins the Avon.
I’ve walked and cycled on the path along the Avon, but never gone up into it before, so Matt Gibson and I went exploring last Sunday, looking for the water.
My photos are here – it was dappled woodland light, which all my cameras found hard, but wow it was beautiful! Golden-green sunlight through the leaves, the smell of wild garlic everywhere, and I have some clips of what it sounded like below. Mouse/swipe over the first photo, and it should bring up the slideshow…
Continue reading “The stream in Paradise Bottom”
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…
and here’s the map of where I walked – without all the back-and-forth of looking at the same things over and over!
Continue reading “Leigh Woods and the Avon silt banks”
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:
We also briefly talked about some people working in sounds:
Continue reading “Avon Stories Podcast #23: Soundwalking with Dan Pope”
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.
So what did we do?
Continue reading “April Avon Nature Reserves 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…
Continue reading “An April lunchtime walk”
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.
So, what did we see?
Continue reading “Coombe Brook, April 2018”
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.
Continue reading “Snowy walk along the closed Avon path”
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.