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.
Despite its looks, this is neither of the two footpaths actually called the Zig Zag (the Zig Zag itself, closer to town, and the New Zig Zag, further out.) This is in fact the Bridge Valley Path
This joins up with Bridge Valley Path and a couple of other less-travelled bits around the top of the gorge, including a homeless encampment I stumbled over on another walk.
To show the lights off better. It seems to have a jury-rigged battery pack and solar panel, so for all I know, it's still there, saying hello in the night...
In other words: Hello, hello, hello. (I do wonder what this all is then...)
Peeking over the side to see if I can discern the other end of the Portnalls tunnel.
I'm glad my friend Lisa joined me today; she drove in from Shirehampton and told me that the Portway was looking rather lovely, so we set off that way. She's also braver than I am when it comes to doing urbex stuff, so this was just the opportunity to take a peek into the Portnalls Number One Railway Tunnel/Bridge Road Deep Valley Shelter whose entrance I'd found on a previous wander.
It was definitely dark and spooky and impressively big, with a side tunnel that Lisa explored that leads to a little door I don't think I've previously noticed on the side of the Portway. I didn't get many photos—even my astoundingly powerful little torch (£) didn't do much to light things up, and you're not going to get much joy hand-holding a camera in that darkness—but I did shoot a little video, which I might edit and add later.
After plumbing the bowels of the earth, we went up Bridge Valley Path to Clifton, explored some bits around the College and Pembroke Road, then came home via Foliage Cafe for coffee. Nice.
Lisa led the way. She's got Urbex experience. And I'm a scaredy-cat.
A Bristol estate agent would probably sell this as having an excellent view, too.
Lisa went right to the end of the side tunnel that leads to this door inside the Portnalls tunnel.