I was just about starting to feel better—the antibiotics seemed to have kicked in for my dental issues, and it had been some days since I'd left the house, and I was at last starting to get itchy feet. So, a wander. But where? Well, there were a few industrial bits near Winterstoke Road in the Ashton/Ashton Vale areas of Bristol that needed walking. I knew they were likely to be quite, well, unattractive, frankly. So why not do them while I wasn't feeling exactly 100% myself? Maybe it would fit my mood. Hopefully you're also in the mood for a bit of post-industrial wasteland, for that's what some of this feels like...
Then, at the last minute, I thought again about the Bristol International Exhibition—I've got a book about it on the way now—and that gave me another goal, which could just about be said to be in the same direction, and I decided to walk significantly further than my normal 1-mile limit and try recreating another historical photo...
Sadly I don't know much about the Ashton area; it's just on the edges of my mile and I rarely have cause to go there. It's brimming with history, I'm sure: the whole South Bristol area rapidly developed from farmland to coal mines to factories to its current interesting mixture of suburbs and industrial work over the last few hundred years. As a more working class area less attention was paid to it by historians, at least historically-speaking, than the Georgian heights of Clifton, and much of it has been knocked down and reinvented rather than listed and preserved. I see here and there some of this lack is being addressed, but I'm afraid I'll be very light on the history myself on this wander, as most of my usual sources aren't throwing up their normal reams of information as when I point them at Clifton, Hotwells or the old city.
We're now through BS3 and into BS13, which the Bedminster Down district falls into. This sign's certainly seen better days.
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.
I find something intrinsically nice about this modest little terrace sandwiched in among the rather more industrial surroundings.
They didn't seem to be footballers. I asked Rich at the coffee van and he said it was a Rugby match. I don't know much about sportsball.
Apparently the proprietor's other half loves tea and can't stand coffee. I hope very much this turns into a sitcom where she runs a rival tea stall on the other side of the park with a big A-board that disses coffee.
With yet more sports fans.
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...
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.
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.
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.
28 Oct 2020
Popped out for a coffee in Greville Smyth park, and got a view of the Andy Council work on the side of the Ashton Avenue sewage pumping station on the way back.
Pretty sure I'd never been up these steps before in my life.
Andy Council's work definitely improves the look of the Ashton Avenue Sewage Pumping Station.
30 Oct 2020
Something of a misty start took me around the viewpoint at the end of Spike Island and then on to try to find a new way into Greville Smyth Park. I got lost.
This sign alleges that this underpass leads to Greville Smyth Park. From the Hotwells direction it basically leads back where you came from, or onto a four-lane flyover with no place to cross.
15 Nov 2020
My friend Sarah mentioned the high tide and I managed to drag myself out early, though still a little late. We nearly drowned in torrential rain, but the weather changed quickly and we ended up walking over to Bedminster in sunshine.
I wonder if they Tx-Rx do something with fibreoptics?
The curve of Upper Perry Hill
15 Nov 2020
A walk back from Bedminster to my place, mostly down Duckmoor Road, which I found a little dull—probably because it reminded me a little of the suburbs I grew up in on the outskirts of London—then held up slightly by some filming on Ashton Avenue Bridge. They were trying not to let the crowds build up too much in between takes, it seems, so it wasn't a long delay.
The wall, the roof, the chimneys... What is this place?
In which our intrepid hero levels up.
I keep on thinking there might be a quick way to Greville Smyth from here, but I think the only shortcut is up that muddy slope to the staircase on the left. And it's quite steep and very slippery-looking, so I've never tried it.
Yup, too steep for me.
The other way to get to Greville Smyth more quickly from there would be to go up that set of steps, but it would mean vaulting the railings, and I don't really do vaulting.
Okay, I successfully reached Greville Smyth the long way round. Of course, there's no coffee van to be found now I'm here. Curses!
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.
I have no idea how anyone managed to smack this street furniture so hard, or what direction they came from to do it. It's a pretty straight 30mph road right there, and this is only one side of the dual carriageway. Never seen so much as a near-miss there.