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.
30 Nov 2020
I had to return a faulty AirPod Pro to Apple (there's a first-world problem!) so I just took a quick trip up the hill to the nearest UPS drop-off point, The Ten O'Clock Shop, which is famously open until 11pm. Unfortunately it's a fairly cramped little place and neither of the staff were wearing masks, so I made it a very quick drop indeed and got out of there as quickly as I could.
I grabbed a quick coffee from Can't Dance, a stall that's—as of yesterday—in a tiny converted cargo container on the edge of Victoria Square; up until this week they were running from a little trike parked in the same place. Hopefully the new premises will let them see out the winter without worrying quite so much about the weather.
I tried to fit in a few extra streets from the surrounding area on my there and back, but that was basically my wander today: a quick little shopping trip.
04 Dec 2020
I tried to find the Strangers' Burial Ground the last time was up in Clifton, but I'd not realised that Lower Clifton Hill continues further on after the turning with Constitution Hill. Sadly it was chained shut, but it still looks beautifully-maintained, perhaps by the same man referenced by this story from John Hodgson, which helped me find it. Apparently Thomas Beddoes is buried here.
An "overflow graveyard for St Paul’s, Clifton (demolished), much used by visitors to the Hotwells. Closed 1871", says the listing for the walls and gates.
This raises a question for me: where was the old St Paul's Church, Clifton (demolished)? There's a St Paul's there today, on St Paul's Road, unsurprisingly. I know that stands on the site of where its previous incarnation burned down, but would that count as "demolished"? Did there used to be another St Pauls? I'll have to dig my old maps out.
10 Dec 2020
I didn't have any time to find a new place to go today, so I'm treading old ground here. I did buy a tub of duck food from Amazon last week and today I remembered to take a little bagful of it with me on my trip to Imagine That coffee, and spent a few minutes feeding the marina slipway ducks on the way back. This is a Bristol tradition I've seen other people doing many times, but never tried myself. It was quite genteel until the seagulls cottoned on, then it became something of a brawl.
20 Dec 2020
A long meander around bits of Bedminster, from the river to the north to Winterstoke Road to the south, taking a few roads I've seen before, and a few I haven't. The Christmas decorations were an extra bonus.
Of course, what this means is that at some time in the past someone tried to cut a child in half by slamming the gate while a group was going through it...
24 Jan 2021
I started this wander with my "support bubble" Sarah and Vik, after Sarah texted me to say "SNOW!" We parted ways on the towpath and I headed up into the bit of Leigh Woods that's not actually the woods—the village-like part in between Leigh Woods and Ashton Court, where I'd noticed on a map a church I'd not seen before. I found St Mary the Virgin and quite a few other things I'd never experienced, despite having walked nearby them many, many times over many years, including a castellated Victorian water tower that's been turned into a house...
When someone responds to, "may I take a photo?" with a leap into an action shot. Nice.
I heard at least one choirboy singing inside, perhaps a socially-distanced practise session, as the church's website suggests they're sensible closed for Sunday services at the moment. Maybe the vicar and a limited choir were doing a webcast of the service, or something...
26 Feb 2021
I'm on the first day of a long weekend, and I certainly picked the right one for it. This may be the first proper spring-like day of the year in Bristol; it was glorious.
I headed up to Clifton, around the area where I got my Covid vaccine jab the other day, to knock off a few remaining roads in that area and because it would be good exercise for an extended lunchtime walk.
Along the way I saw some very Clifton sights, including an Aston Martin, some Jacobethan architecture, and some private college sports grounds. Mostly, though, I just enjoyed the sunshine, and took every opportunity I could to snap views across the city.
I bought a vintage post card from eBay this week. It's a well-known photo of the Hotwells landing stage, showing what's likely to be a P&A Campbell paddle steamer moored there. (Just yesterday I snapped a photo of their buoy on display at Underfall Yard with its information sign.) It was posted from here to Canada in 1936, and has now returned via a presumably quite circuitous route.
For tens of thousands of people, the pier at Hotwells was the starting point of their day trip as they boarded steamers with names like Glen Avon, Glen Usk and Britannia. The salty tang of the sea was never far away as the steamers headed for Ilfracombe, Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead on the Devon and Somerset coast and Barry, Porthcawl and Tenby in South Wales.
The landing stage is long-abandoned. A variety of economic issues, including fuel prices, the increasing prevalence of the motor car, the construction of the Severn Crossing giving easier access to Wales, and the collapse of Clevedon Pier during safety testing in 1970, which prevented larger pleasure boats from stopping at the resort, all led to dwindling trade.
I went to have a poke about there today, not staying for long as it's a cold day and the wind was biting. I couldn't reproduce the postcard's view—you'd need to risk life, limb and presumably a trespass prosecution—but I did try to judge the rough viewpoint and angle of the photo by lining up with Rock House, the Colonnade and the Suspension Bridge and snapped a photo looking back to where the original photographer would have stood on the pontoon.
This Bristol City Docks history page has many good photos of the landing stage and the nearby Port and Pier Railway line (whose tunnel I was in the other day) and the Hotwells Halt railway station, which was just the other side of the suspension bridge from here.