26 Feb 2022
I needed to buy new walking shoes—my old ones were squeaking and it was driving me up the wall—so I ordered some for collection from Taunton Leisure on East Street in Bedminster, and decided to make picking them up an official wander.
I didn't cover any new ground within my mile, but I did take advantage of the trip to take in a few interesting things just outside my normal radius, mostly New Gaol-related. Along the way there are a couple of sanitation-related diversions, including a visit to a rare manhole cover. You can hardly wait, I can tell!
I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
And there was me thinking that a leprechaun was a polar bear's natural enemy in the wild. Or in the back of a Toyota Hilux.
19 Jun 2021
I hadn't really planned to go out for a wander yesterday; I just got the urge and thought "why not?" (Well, the weather forecast was one possible reason, but I managed to avoid the rain, luckily.)
I wanted to finish off the A369—as it turns out I may still have a small section to go, but I've now walked the bulk of it out to my one-mile radius—and also a few random tracks in Leigh Woods. I'm still not really sure that I'm going to walk them all, especially after discovering today that "the map is not the territory" applies even more in the woods, where one of the marked tracks on the map wasn't really that recognisable as a track in real life... I'm glad I'd programmed the route into the GPS in advance!
Anyway. A pleasant enough walk, oddly bookended, photographically at least, by unusual vehicles. Leigh Woods was fairly busy, especially the section I'd chosen, which was positively dripping with teenage schoolkids with rah accents muttering opprobrium about the Duke of Edinburgh. I'm presuming the harsh remarks were more about taking part in his award scheme than the late Consort himself, but I didn't eavesdrop enough to be certain...
I'm not sure what's being delivered to the lock-keepers' house, but it looks like they'll probably all be a lot happier afterwards.
10 Nov 2020
I went to grab a coffee from Imagine That's little horsebox by the marina, completely forgetting that they don't open on Monday or Tuesday. On the plus side, on the way back I was in time to watch the Plimsoll Bridge swinging for a tidy little yacht.
06 Apr 2021
I'd originally intended just to pop up to the area around Alma Road, where I'd missed a few streets on earlier wanders. It was such a nice evening, though, I decided to extend my walk up to the very top of Pembroke Road, just outside my one mile radius, to take a few snaps of something intriguing I'd found in my researches.
I've driven, walked and jogged past the little triangle of land at the top of Pembroke road a great deal in my time in Bristol, but I didn't know that it used to be the site of a gibbet, in fact that the road itself there used to be called Gallows Acre Lane. According to the Durdham Down history trail, by Francis Greenacre (an excellent name for a Downs researcher!) among other sources:
...it was below this quarry near the top of Pembroke Road, once called Gallows Acre Lane, that a gibbet stood. It was sometimes occupied by those who had committed robberies on the Downs and was last used in 1783 to hang Shenkin Protheroe for the murder of a drover. Stories quickly spread that he descended from the gibbet at midnight every night and stalked through Clifton. Such was the alarm that his body was cut down and buried.
Also very close to this little triangle of land was one of the gates of the extensive turnpike system...
Anyway. Along the way I encountered a wooden tortoise and a real squirrel, among other things. It was a good walk, and more light in the evenings means I can move my wanders out of the ticking countdown clock of work lunch-hours and be a bit more leisurely.
One of Bristol's most famous punning business names (along with mobile kebeb seller Jason Donervan and off-licence Amy's Wine House), Happytat is a long-running secondhand furniture shop on Stokes Croft.
I'm actually quite surprised it's not listed.
09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
It certainly has a lot of stuff attached to the outside.
13 Nov 2020
A quick trip with the aim of finding a better way to Greville Smyth park and a good coffee. Sadly I was stymied yet again with the former—it turns out that you do apparently have to take a strange loop around the houses (or at least around the roads) to get to Greville Smyth any way other than my normal route, unless you're prepared to vault some railings. It may be that the disused steps from where the skater kids hang out to the flyover above might once have led to a shorter route, but it's hard to tell. The geography in the area has always confused me.
You can just tell from the one light in the grille that I managed to catch that the blues and twos were running. It was more dramatic in person.
14 Nov 2020
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 think there were plans to turn the council bulding (on the right) into some kind of community centre, but last I heard they were still trying to stop the place leaking like a sieve first.