01 Nov 2020
This started as a little local walk with my friend Lisa, but when we randomly met my friends Sarah and Vik at Ashton Court, turned into joining them for a very long wander out to Abbots Leigh Pool. Most of this was well outside my one-mile radius but it was a lovely walk.
Came across a pipe band practising in the car park of the Avon wood project (I think)
21 Nov 2020
A rather more wide-ranging weekend wander with Sarah and Vik, taking in some mock Tudor bits of Bedmo (I should note that I've subsequently been corrected to "Bemmie", but I'm an outsider and have been calling it "Bedmo" for short for decades...), a chunk of Ashton, a path up Rownham Hill called Dead Badger's Bottom(!), The Ashton Court estate, a bit of the UWE campus at Bower Ashton, and some of the Festival Way path.
Quite ornate, for a railing
"above is a 3-light oriel with cusped tracery and flanking niches with statues of knights"
The Bristol Society of Model and Experimental Engineers seems like it would be a fine organisation to be involved in. This it the model railway at Ashton Court.
I guess we may now know where the bloke with this sign on his gate from earlier bought his signage.
01 Jan 2022
I picked a fairly arbitrary reason for a wander today. Really, I just wanted to do a New Year's Day wander just to get out of the house and to set a precedent for the year to come.
My ostensible reason was to investigate what looked like a road on my map that quartered the lawn in front of the Ashton Court mansion. As it turned out, this is just a muddy footpath/desire line similar to a half-dozen other tracks nearby, and must be some kind of bug or misclassification with the mapping system I'm using, but that's not important. What's important is that I went for a little walk on the first day of the year. As a bonus, I did happen to wander down a couple of sections of new footpath, so technically I broke some new ground too, which is nice.
These are the Kennel Lodge Allotments, and...
...and this is the Kennel Lodge itself. Presumably you'd want to keep your hounds a fair distance from the house just to keep the racket out of earshot.
Which seems a bit odd, given that it's not in Hotwells wouldn't really lead there in either direction. Looks like a fairly modern development; maybe it's just one of those roads where the developers picked a roughly local name of out a hat.
Even on a fairly grim day, it's still an expansive landscape.
This sounded like a fragment of poetry to me. All Of Ending Bicycles, perhaps a work by Keats?
Though this isn't the allegedly main-ish road I was trying to find, so I didn't pop through it.
This bit that's marked on my map in the same style as a normal, tarmac road. Clearly it's not. I think perhaps I need to figure out what's going on with the mapping on this website, as the main openstreetmap site, which is where I'm getting my data from, does seem to have it as a simple track.
A small challenge for the new year, I suppose... Perhaps a refresh of the way the map looks on the site would be a nice start to the year anyway!
21 Dec 2020
Despite the weather, Sarah and Vik and I wandered around Ashton Court a bit as the sun rose. Not that you could really tell. Sadly, the bit we wanted to watch the sunrise from was closed, because people hadn't been treating the deer with appropriate respect. Ah well, at least it was some exercise.
And quite noisy, but to be fair I was shooting at 12800 ISO, so it could definitely be worse.
Bower Ashton is an interesting little area just south of the river from me—in fact, the Rownham Ferry used to take people over from Hotwells to Bower Ashton, operating from at least the twelfth century to around the 1930s.
It's a strangely contradictory little area, with a cluster of old and new houses sandwiched in between the busy A-roads and significantly more industrial area of Ashton and the bucolic country estate of Ashton court roughly east to west, and also between Somerset and Bristol, north to south.
I've been around here before, mostly poking around Bower Ashton's arguably most well-known bit, the Arts faculty campus of the University of the West of England, but I'd missed at least Parklands Road and Blackmoors Lane, so I initially planned just to nip across briefly and wander down each in turn. On a whim, though, I texted my friends Sarah and Vik in case they were out and about, and ended up diverting to the Tobacco Factory Sunday market first, to grab a quick flat white with them, extending my journey a fair bit.
To start with, though, I nipped to a much more local destination, to see something that you can't actually see at all, the Gridiron...
(I also used this wander as a test of the cameras in my new phone. I finally upgraded after a few years, and the new one has extra, separate wide and telephoto lenses compared to the paltry single lens on my old phone. Gawd. I remember when speed-dial was the latest innovation in phones...)
I was really just busking my route at this point, and finding a handy entrance to Ashton Court I figured that wandering back through the estate was a good plan.
No idea what's through here. Let's go take a look. Is there a way to get back to Parklands Road? I don't even know if you can get into Parklands Road from this end...
Presumably these are school playing fields, though there was no great barrier to entry. They seem to be school-adjacent, but maybe they're more public... I followed some people who looked like they knew where they were going, which I find is often an expedient way of getting lost.
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.
While my main target is Leigh Woods, I do also want to nip into Ashton Court and walk a little path I missed last time I was in the field with the little steam railway in it, so to the gatehouse we cross...
There was actually a gatekeeper today, as it's the weekend of the Love Saves the Day festival, being held at Ashton Court for the first time this year, I think. Happily, as long as you just want to walk a stretch of the grounds away from the festival site, they just wave you in. I wanted to walk a footpath behind the railway track I walked past back in...gosh! November 2020. I've been doing this a while, haven't I?
I'd already clocked that the first turning was a mountain-bike-only path.
Guessing this is a polite hint from the golf club. In my mind's eye I can see an irate greenkeeper chasing a couple of mountain bikers in his golf buggy.
To the left is the edge of the golf course. I'm looking to wander along the edge and the behind the railway, which is behind those trees.
It's quite an extensive area, stretching a decent length of the back of the golf course.
I think I'm pretty much a mile away from my house right here. Nice of someone to erect a marker.
Time to exit Ashton Court and head for my main target at Leigh Woods.
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 feel like the sign is a bit redundant at this stage.
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...
Hard to do this tree justice, as it was both wider and taller than the widest angle of my camera, and any further back the fence gets in the way.
Of course, if I'd brought a full-frame camera with a wide-angle lens, this is exactly the moment when a peregrine falcon would land on a branch at the same time a magnificent stag wandered past in the middle distance. You never have the right lens...
I do enjoy the bits of my walks where I can look back and see Hotwells, or at least the higher bits surrounding Hotwells.
Well, it's giant, it's got a definite red hue and it's made of wood. I wonder what it could be...
A batch of giant redwood seeds arrived at the Veitch nursery in Exeter in 1855, and the Smythe family bought quite a few of them, apparently. Many of the sequoia around Bristol date from around then, including the lovely tree in Paradise Bottom in Leigh Woods, which would then have been Leigh Court's arboretum.
Alan Barber, late campaigner for public parks and green spaces, helped design this rose garden at Ashton Court, and it was dedicated to him in 2008.
Trasparenza, by Andrea Greenlees, originally built for Burning Man in 2016. It has transparent benches inside, but it looked a bit of a tight squeeze, so I left the children of the family that arrived a couple of minutes later to it. They seemed to enjoy exploring. There's a view from the inside on Andrea's Instagram.