Monday, 28 April 2008


Clifton → Portishead


Distance: 12.8 miles
Ascent: 17 metres
Duration: 3 hours 38 minutes

Back down the Avon
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I got burned by the sun today, a remarkable achievement given yesterday's weather forecast and the heavy hailstorm that Bristol greeted me with as I stepped off the train.

Crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge wasn't the uplifting experience I was expecting. From afar it's a majestic structure, but up close the Samaritans signs and carefully blended security wires brought home the inevitable.

On the western side, a one kilometre road-walk took me to the entrance of Leigh Woods, where a steep path dropped back down the the floor of the Avon Gorge. The next five miles were beautiful. The tow path on the south bank of the Avon is bordered by a freight rail line, and beyond it dense woodland. Huge iron mooring posts point back to the river's industrial past. "Do not loiter" signs remind walkers of the risk of rock falls.

Past the village of Pill the path passes under the Avonmouth Bridge again. And here too - as on the other east bank of the river - is a monument. A plaque on one of the legs of the bridge commemorates four workers who fell from the bridge due to negligence on the part of their employer.

Those walking this way in the future would do well to pay close attention to recent maps. I continued downstream hoping to find the right of way through the docks marked on my map. On the ground it isn't there so I had to backtrack to the bridge and pick up the cycle route into Portishead. Here too there is recent change - a vast new housing development on the south-east side of the town where my map only has fields meant I once again had to follow my nose.

It's been a good length walk in the sun today, with plenty to think about. The walk on from here will be on more familiar coastal territory, but it's always good to see the different industrial landscape.

Posted by pab at 19:27 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!