06 Nov 2020
It's surprisingly easy to overlook the giant Wesleyan Grenville Chapel—now converted into flats—if you've lived here a while. Other sights that seem to slip from my memory include the modest Ashton Avenue, a tidy terrace of little houses on a road that presumably gave its name to the Ashton Avenue bridge.
I'm not sure I ever realised there was still and Ashton Avenue to go with Ashton Avenue Bridge.
07 Dec 2020
I realised that if Hopper Coffee in Greville Smyth Park was in reach during my lunch hour, then perhaps Mark's Bread at the end of North Street would be do-able, too. And I was right. I also managed to cross Clift Road, with its pretty gable bargeboards, off my list, and encounter a dapper gent walking his dogs while playing loud jazz music from somewhere under his jacket. That's North Street for you.
15 Dec 2020
On the down side, I got to Bedminster and found long enough queues at both Mark's Bread and Hopper Coffee that I gave up on the idea of buying a drink and a pasty (from the former) or a mince pie flapjack (from the latter.) On the up side, I got to take some pictures of Cumberland Basin being drained and sluiced out, part of its regular maintenance cycle.
18 Feb 2021
Really just a quick loop of the Cumberland Basin. I was going to go further, and it was a nice early spring day, but I hadn't slept that well and I wasn't really in the mood. Ah well. Not every walk is great. At least I got out of the house for a bit.
03 Jun 2022
I managed to go for a wander a while ago that was meant to finish off a little tangle of paths in Leigh Woods, or at the very least finish off my wandering of the Purple Path there. And I managed to miss doing either of those things through some kind of navigational incompetence.
Today I woke up with a bit of a headache, feeling a bit knackered as soon as I dragged myself out of bed, but at least with the energy to realise that I'd be better off (a) going for a walk in what looked likely to be the last of the Jubilee weekend sunshine than (b) moping around the flat until it started raining, at which point I could mope more thoroughly.
I had a look at my map, considered going to Ashton Court, but remembered that there was a music festival there today, and instead found these little leftovers of Leigh Woods and decided to have one more try at walking them.
This is a sentiment that I've often shared, I confess, but never been motivated to express in the form of paint.
It's quite the commentary. But then if someone believes they can have their life turned around by a fly-posting stranger, perhaps a warning is a reasonable addendum.
03 Dec 2021
On my last wander, to Bower Ashton, I was intending to knock Blackmoors Lane off my list "to-do" list, but got a bit diverted. I also took a little look into the history of the Gridiron, once a cheaper alternative to dry dock that was nestled just south of North Entrance Lock.
Today I had to go to send a parcel off somewhere, so I decided on going to the North Street Post Office via Blackmoors Lane. I didn't have much intention of anything else, but as luck would have it I walked out both at low tide and also as some lockkeepers seemed to be having a bit of a training session, and one of the more senior people was (a) happy to answer a few random questions on the Gridiron and (b) actually knew a lot about it, as Gridiron maintenance had been one of his jobs, more than twenty years ago...
Dear fellow photographers: If you're going to take a picture like this, you could at least whack the potato through the microwave first, so it at least looks like once in its life it's been warm enough to melt cheese.
Portishead rail line, Metrobus route, and a bit of the A3029.
I am actually getting better at finding my way around this concrete tangle of roads and underpasses. This way avoids having to dash across Winterstoke Road or walk quite a long way down to the first pedestrian crossing.
The road up above is the A3029, also known at this point as Brunel Way. It replaced the earlier Ashton Avenue, which as you'd expect headed from here and crossed Ashton Avenue Bridge. This parevenu diverts from the original route at about this point and has its own bridge a little further downstream.
I've snapped this before; it just looked particularly attractive today. Al's Tikka Grill has some rave reviews on TripAdvisor. Maybe I'll give it a try one day.
This isn't so much of a photo as a reminder to talk about the amazing malty smell that wafts out and inhabits this whole stretch of North Street when there's some brewing going on. Presumably it's the days when they're boiling wort.
16 Apr 2021
Another day, another quick dash out for a coffee. I did at least try to take a different route from normal, especially on the way back, where I yet again got a bit lost in the strange paths, flyovers and underpasses that make up the odd maze of pedestrian "infrastructure" among the concrete jungle between the west of Greville Smyth and my neck of the woods in Hotwells. I swear one day I'll take a turn I've not tried before and end up being gored by a Bristolian minotaur.
I'd heard there was going to be something of a wild party in Greville Smyth to mark the end of lockdown. It seems it may be the start of a regular thing, with a dance festival bringing 8,000 people to the park. I imagine I'll be able to hear it from my place, and therefore safely avoid it.
Sure I've snapped him before, but he caught my eye today.
Even on a quieter day, the roar of the traffic is pretty amazing. I was listening to a podcast about electric cars on noise-cancelling headphones, while wishing there were already a few more on the roads...
I think I should have gone back down into the park to come back up my normal path, that leads to a place where you can walk under the flyover and get back on the bridge to Hotwells. As it is I just tried heading north and ended up having to cross four lanes of busy traffic.
That seems to be the failure of the pedestrian paths around here: if you know where you're going really well, the best you can hope for is not to make a wrong turn, and then you can end up going all the way around the houses, including quite often back the way you came, and might manage to use some of the provided underpasses and crossings and avoid the most dangerous traffic. But if you don't know them like the back of your hand and just try heading for the place you want to get to, that you can actually see, you'll be led entirely astray and end up in a variety of dead-ends.
05 Jun 2022
Another day not dissimilar to my last wander: I'm feeling a bit tired and rather than just moping around the house I thought I'd find some tiny bit of somewhere that I'd not yet walked and get outdoors. This time I headed for the Tobacco Factory Market in Bedminster, as I often do, but went the long way around via Ashton Court Mansion as I knew there were some footpaths and a small section of road I'd not ticked off up there. Finishing all the Ashton Court footpaths will be quite a long job, but you've got to start somewhere...
I did feel rather better by the time I got home, and, pretty much astoundingly given the weather forecast, managed to avoid the rain completely.
Ah, so not only is it the Bristol Triathlon next weekend, but it's also the UWE degree show. That's usually worth a look-see. Mind you, it's also Clifton Open Gardens, so maybe I'll see what the weather's like before I make a choice. UWE's Bower Ashton campus can be absolutely sweltering on a warm day, from what I remember, so I might be better off sipping Pimms in a garden if it's too sunny.
I like the sound of "Flax Bourton". I keep on meaning to dust off my bike; maybe a trip along there would be an interesting day trip. Might want to make sure I can still ride comfortably before I try a ten-mile round trip, though...
Looks like work has finally started on the new flats on the site of the former railway depot/concrete factory/Bristol International Exhibition site.
Yup, it's definitely all kicking off. They'll probably manage to build an entire development here before the Council finish fixing the bit of Cumberland Road that collapsed just around the corner.
We're suddenly out of the woods and a fair distance away; I didn't take any snaps on my way through the little alleyway I've used before to get to Rownham village and down Parklands Road back toward Bedminster. Here we see an eye peeking out at the start of an underpass.
People have been telling me I'd enjoy Peep Show since it first came out in 2003. Nineteen years later anonymous daubers are still making the exhortation at me...
Wikipedia notes "The television series has been considered one of the best ever produced in the 21st century", so perhaps I should give it yet another try.
Pre-Upfest, as recently as April, Pikto's boy with the catapult still adorned the side of the Coopers Arms.
Not quite sure what to make of the replacement. It's much lower-contrast and less eye-catching, for me. Also, I'm so out of touch I have no idea if that's an original character or some famous pop-cuture reference.
Ahh, according to Natural Adventures it's "what looks like a Vaughn Bode Lizard, an Iconic character in the world of street art", and it's by an artist called Derm. I'd never heard of Vaughn Bodē or his Cheech Wizard and lizard apprentice, so it's not surprising this piece is going over my head. Probably more one for the real aficionados to appreciate.
17 Jul 2021
Okay, not much in the way of actual pasture to be had in Bedminster these days, like most of Bristol, but I did take advantage of the current rather toasty weather in Bristol to go and sit under a tree in Greville Smyth Park to read a book for a while before firing up the GPS and taking a little detour around some back streets of Ashton and Bedminster rather than going straight to Coffee #1 for an espresso frappé. This is the first walk in a while where I've actually crossed off an entire new street (the frankly unexciting Carrington Road) as well as exploring a couple of back alleys, just because they were there, really. Along the way I spotted a few examples of graffiti of various qualities, including a live work-in-progress by SNUB23 on Ashton Road and the finished Six Sisters project on North Street.
By all accounts a fine cafe in the greasy spoon archetype. Top right you can see a little tribute to Ashton Gate football stadium, a stone's throw away. Currently the stadium is being used as a Covid-19 vaccination centre.
It was actually the sound of Six Underground, the astoundingly good Sneaker Pimps number, coming from this direction that caught my ear before the in-progress mural caught my eye, but they both had the same source, as it turned out...
I think I'm right in saying that that's snub_23 popping up a new piece, but I'm only really basing that off some quick Instagram research and some assumptions; I'm not exactly plugged into the Bristol graff scene and I didn't want to interrupt the conversation.
I'd noticed I'd missed this end bit of Durnford Street in previous wanders, so on my way to knocking off some full-length roads (and alleyways, as it turned out) I took a snap. It's not very prepossessing.
In my defence, this little alleyway/service road looked more like a road on the map. Still, seeing as I'm here...
I went out simply wanting to knock off the very last little unwalked section of Clanage Road, over by Bower Ashton, which has been annoying me for a while as it's quite close by and I've walked the other bits of it several times. So, my plan was to nip over to Greville Smyth Park via a slightly unusual route to wander Clanage Road and tick it off.
Along the way, though, I inevitably got a bit distracted. I took a few photos of Stork House, a grand Hotwell Road building that's recently been done up a bit (I imagine it's student lets, though I'm not sure) and which I found a reference to in a book about the Port Railway and Pier the other week, and also tried to match up a historical photo of Hotwells before the Cumberland Basin Flyover System laid it waste, which included some interesting markers I'll have to do a bit more digging into...
Because yes, we have just had a little excursion into Somerset, technically. So welcome back to Bristol, home of traffic jams.
Or possibly a caravan-park-to-be. This is the old Police stables and kennels, and dog-training ground, I think. There are plans afoot for the Baltic Wharf caravan park, forced out of its home by the plan to redevelop the area as flats (which I imagine will be touted as "affordable" and then turn out to be luxury apartments with at most 5% barely-"affordable" apartments around the back), to this site.
A milestone, perhaps? And there looks to be a benchmark on the bigger bit.
Aha! A quick look at the historic OS maps on Know Your Place finds a marker right on this spot marked "B.S.", which the National Library of Scotland's helpful abbreviations page translates as "Boundary Stone". With that in mind I then had a look on the wonderful geograph site and there it is:
The front stone appears to be an old boundary stone, delineating the Administrative County, Parliamentary County and Rural District boundaries that were part of the Bristol limits in the twentieth century, possibly dated 1897? Behind it is a larger block of stones that may have been part of the Smyth estate further up the hill. On the latter is a partly hidden benchmark.
So I spotted the partly hidden benchmark correctly, too :) There is, of course, a benchmarks directory with an entry for the benchmark itself. What did people do before the internet?
View into the car park of the former stables/kennels. I just poked my camera through a big hole in the gate.
I think it's mostly used for sport, but the only thing I've ever used it for is the Clifton Car Boot Sale.
So that's why all the cars are there—not for the Open Day, it turned out; it's the other signs that are the giveaway. Somewhere, some people are committing a sport.
Speaking of sport, this is the cricket ground.
Quite the insult. This is in the underpass on the way to Ashton Gate. Normally I find it hard to make my way to North Street when coming from this direction, because of all the badly-marked underpasses that lead in improbable directions, but today I just followed the moderate throng of sports fans on the assumption that they were heading for Ashton Gate, which would take me in the right direction.