05 Nov 2020
I spotted the fog and decided to go for a morning walk rather than a lunchtime walk today. It was cold on the Portway, but it was worth it. Most of my One Mile Matt photos are "record shots", but it's nice to get the chance to do something a bit more artistic.
14 Nov 2020
It's a famous Bristol tradition, but I've never done it.
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.
A long ramble, starting with trying to find the Hot Well of Hotwells and leading up the side of the Avon Gorge to the Downs and then through Clifton for coffee.
Although it seems to be a shrine to a Sainsbury's Carrier bag, this stone jutting from the hillside always feels a bit like an altar.
05 Dec 2020
Back to Cliftonwood for a wander that included some of the belle views of Bellevue Crescent and other bits of the easternmost part. Highlights included watching someone bump-starting an elderly Nissan Micra in the narrow confines of Bellevue Crescent.
13 Dec 2020
A long walk around Cliftonwood and Clifton with my friend Lisa, taking in some of the 12 Days of Christmas display at Queens Parade, picking up a take-away coffee from Pinkmans of Park Street, and poking our heads up against the glass of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral.
17 Dec 2020
I think the cute little Duncan Cottage was my favourite bit of this wander up the hill to get coffee and a pain-au-raisin from Twelve, though I did enjoy gently musing on the public and private gardens of Clifton, inspired by a closer pass than usual to Royal York Crescent's garden.
I managed absent-mindedly to clear my GPS track before saving it, so this hand-created track-log may cause me problems in the future. I suppose we'll see.
28 Dec 2020
Fractionally outside my one-mile zone, but I got curious about Saint Vincent's spring, whose last remnants you can see in a defunct drinking fountain on the Portway. Along the way I passed Gyston's cave, sometimes called St Vincent's cave, in the sheer wall of the gorge. It's now accessible by a tunnel from the observatory—I tried it about twenty years ago, I think, and still recall the vertiginous moment of looking down from the protruding balcony and realising that you could see straight through the grille floor to the drop below—but from what I can work out the tunnel is relatively recent. Before the tunnel was dug it was accessible only by access across the cliff face, which must have been even more terrifying.
This cave was first mentioned as being a chapel in the year AD 305 and excavations, in which Romano-British pottery has been found, have revealed that it has been both a holy place and a place of refuge at various times in its history.
A few different sources say that the cave became a hermitage and chapel to St Vincent following Bristol's early trading in Iberian wines; St Vincent of Saragossa is Lisbon's patron saint, and a lot of nearby things bear the name.
I'm not sure where the crossover of Vincent and Ghyston happens, though. On the giants Goram and Vincent (or Ghyston), Wikipedia says:
The name Vincent for one of the giants rests on the fact that at Clifton, at the narrowest point of the Avon Gorge, there was formerly an ancient hermitage and chapel dedicated to St Vincent, at or near the present cave in the cliff-face which bears his name. Another (apparently modern) version of the story calls the Clifton giant Ghyston, which is in fact the name, of obscure origin, for the whole of the cliff-face of the Avon Gorge at least as early as the mid-fifteenth century, in the detailed description of the Bristol area by William Worcestre. The place-name was personified to produce the giant's name. Vincent's Cave is called Ghyston cave or The Giant’s Hole in an article in the July 1837 issue of Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal.
In my research on the original Hot Well House, I've seen quite a few contemporary paintings which state their viewpoint as "from St. Vincent's Rock", so in the 16th century it seems the cliff-face name was typically St Vincent Rock rather than Ghyston's Rock, perhaps.
I am, as you can tell, no historian!
On the way, I also wandered around the base of the popular climbing area, which I think is the site of the old Black Rock quarry.
The interesting-looking modern block at the top of the cliff on the left is Seawalls, on Seawalls Road, built in 1977. Zoopla's estimated price for a two-bedroom flat there looks to be around half a million pounds.
What can I say? I went to a quarry in the Avon Gorge. Most of my pictures are going to be of rocks. Sorry.
These are all in the rock-climibing area in the old quarry below Peregrine Watch Point. I saw no peregrines.
My historical research took a wander underground recently, partly inspired by the Canynge Square sinkhole, partly by St Vincent's (Ghyston's) cave and its tunnel to the Observatory, and I was surprised to find that there might be an intact tunnel from the Bristol Port Railway and Pier still just sitting there under Bridge Valley Road. A quick search turned up this recent video by an intrepid explorer, so it's definitely still there.
I went looking for the entrances today, and definitely found the south entrance, at the start of the Bridge Valley Path, the footpath that starts with steps at the bottom of Bridge Valley Road. It's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. I think I've figured out where the north entrance is, too, but it was getting dark at that stage and the Portway was still busy enough that crossing the road was still the normal nuisance, so I thought I'd leave further explorations for another day.
There's a lot of work been done to shore up the cliffs here.
This is a little section of tunnel just before Bridge Valley Road.
Every surface of the cliff face around here is basically bolted on to stop it falling into the road.
...and on the other side is the exit from the tunnel section closer to town. I don't know if that was also part of the Portnalls Number One tunnel or if it had a separate name. Either way, the railway would have run from Hotwells Halt on the city side all the way to Avonmouth, from what I can work out.