Bristol Off The Beaten Path

  • Surrounding Buildings, Bristol
    Surrounding Buildings, Bristol
    by spidermiss
  • Surrounding Buildings, Bristol
    Surrounding Buildings, Bristol
    by spidermiss
  • Photo; Dave Molesworth.
    Photo; Dave Molesworth.
    by northeast80

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Bristol

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    Glenside

    by northeast80 Written Oct 18, 2012

    This is the name of one of the campuses of the university I work at, it's in the Fishponds area of Bristol and you're most likely to have seen it if you're on the M32 you can view its clock tower.
    The history of the building is fascinating and academics at work have done a lot of research into it leading them into the history of treating mental health in England, the site even has its own museum open to the public whihc was recently featured in a BBC programme on mental health by Ruby Wax.
    Coming from Frenchay Park Road you'll need to head up Blackberry Hill and what a hill! It does have a cycle lane for cyclists traveling up it to be safer. The 13 bus (the centre to UWE) goes up it too and stops right outside the campus.

    There has only ever been a 'lunatic' assylum on this site, before that it was open pasture, which began life in 1861 when it was built next to another hospital (Stapleton Hospital, began as a prison in 1779), these two hospitals merged and now the part on the old Stapleton one has all but closed down and the NHS laundry service has also just moved out. My university bought it in 1996 and it's not the best building to have to turn into a university; some of them are grade II listed and there's a huge vaulted (by the Victorians) underground lake beneath the whole site (not many people know that but I've seen a police diver training video of it).

    I'll be interested to see what develops here as the half of the site that was closed (by the NHS) was sold to the Government's Homes and Communities Agency for housing, shops, etc.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Bristol's Central Library & Surrounding Buildings

    by spidermiss Updated Jun 30, 2012
    Bristol Century Library
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    Bristol Central Library is housed in a historic building near the Cathedral and adjacent to the historic Abbey Gatehouse. H. Percy Adams and Charles Holden built the library in 1906 in a Edwardian Free Style architectural design. It has become a listed building during the 20th Century and holds Bristol main collections. The library was built following Vincent Stuckey's bequest left in 1899 to replace the city's old public library.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Laurence Weston Community Farm

    by northeast80 Written May 16, 2012
    Sorry, only photo is of the dog saying hello

    This small community farm is rather off the beaten track, I live in the area so it's just a walk for me, it would be easier to drive if you're coming from anywhere else but the bus 41 and 41 go from the centre through Lawrence Weston (LW).

    We usually pass when we're walking our dog and one of us stays with the dog (they're not allowed in) whilst the other looks round. There are pigs and sheep, rabbits, chickens and goats, a stall selling crafts, plants and jams and honey. They also run as a community centre, LW is quite a large estate so bringing the countryside to it it brilliant, with many educational events taking place, they've got a classroom too and most of the people that work / volunteer there are children and young people.

    They run green wood working sessions, Forest leader's awards, pig and chicken keeping courses, offer farm tours and student and corporate volunteer placements / days.

    There's a vole walk, you may be luck and spot one, picnice area, toilets, a wildlife garden, a new orchard which very sadly only a few days after opening a sculpture / play structure was burnt down. Hopefully it'll mature into a beautiful orchard.

    It's a lovely place to wander around seeing what the animals are getting up to and how they're growing.

    It's free to get in though as it's a registered charity donations are much appreciated.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Work Abroad
    • Family Travel

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    Frenchay

    by northeast80 Written Apr 18, 2012
    Photo; Dave Molesworth.
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    The area of Bristol that I work in is called Frenchay which borders South Gloucestershire. The are is served by Bristol Parkway and Filton Abbey Wood train stations and there are plenty of busses as there's a campus university here too.
    The MOD, NHS, Hewlett Packard, Sun Life are also here which helps the area obtain the large amount of cycle routes as reducing the amount of people getting into one area by car is appealing. I know most of the organisations have a car parking ban if you live within a 3km radius. There are also plans to build a new sports stadium in the area so a cycle / bus route is already being built.
    There is a large swathe of protected park land called Purdown which leads you down to Muller Road as well as many more parks that you can cut through; I like the one which leads you under the motorway and out to the bottom of Blackberry Hill.
    The photo of a pond snake was taken by a colleague (Dave Molesworth) at one of the ponds at our work.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    The WD Watts Memorial Drinking Fountain & Lampost

    by TheLongTone Updated Jul 12, 2011

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    This is a very curious item of street furniture: I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. A very exuberant bit of cast iron commemorating a member of the County Council. I'm particularly taken by the decoration of the column, with a dado-like band of a foliage motif that recalls Arts and Crafts wallpaper. Someone has given their Dictionary of Ornament a real hammering here.
    Of course the drinking fountain no longer delivers. And just as well, since the nearby Victorian cast iron pissoir has also been decommissioned.*

    On Horfield Common, intersection of Wellington Hill and Kellaway Avenue. If you're up here, you really are off the beaten track as far as the tourist trail goes.

    *The pissoir has now been repainted and put back into service.

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    A proper bascule bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Jul 12, 2011

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    The Radcliffe Way bridge was built between 1939 and 1942, and at that time must have been of enough economic importance not to get shelved in favour of building more munitions. One of the art-deco styled control rooms still has the original cumbersome electrical switchgear still in it, preserved by the same inanition that saved the cranes on Princess Wharf.

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    Genuine Brunel bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Jul 12, 2011

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    No disrespect to the suspension bridge, but it's not direct from the great man's drawing board. This fine wrought-iron construction is, though no longer used. It's IKB's swing-bridge for the south lock of the floating harbour, and it's rivetted tubular girder construction is a forerunner of his magnificent bridge at Saltash.

    It now lies disused under the Plimsoll swing-bridge. When the New Entrance (or North) lock was constructed in the eighteen seventies the engineer pinched it to bridge the new lock. But he then had to replace the old bridge, which he did by using Brunel's drawings. It's this replica, cut down and immobile, that provides access today.

    There's a plan afoot to re-use this somewhere. I hope it doesn't come to fruition soon: it's much more interesting as it stands, with what is possibly its original slew ring visible through the gaps in the planked decking.

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    The Black Castle

    by TheLongTone Updated Jul 12, 2011

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    This is a real peculiarity. Built around 1750 by William Reeve who was a wealthy copper and brass smelter, it's largely built from blocks of irridescant black slag from his works.

    It reminds me irresistably of a toy castle: square in plan with circular turrets at each corner and an imposing gatehouse in the middle of two if the walls, the whole sprinkled with blind arrow slits and so forth. It's one of those buildings that raises a smile.

    Originally the stable block and laundry of his estate, it's now converted to a public house. and restaurant

    The beaten track that it's off is St Phillip's Causeway (the A320)... look for the whacking great Sainsbury's. A little up the road is the house to which ist was an adjunct, also a nice bit of Gothick and now a hotel, and the gatehouse to the estate, which is also rather extraordinary.

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    Sic transit gloria mundi: Arnos Vale

    by TheLongTone Written Jul 12, 2011

    I'm not a great one for cemetaries now, and don't intend to stay in one when I'm dead either. But Arnos Vale cemetary is rather pleasant, if you go for that Gothick thing, and apart from a good collection of suitably ivyied Victorian necrokitsch interspersed with, in the right season, a delightful array of wiild flowers there are a couple of very good Classical Revival chapels. One of them used to be the crematorium and if you are curious you can descend below stairs and see the lift that conveyed the coffin to the furnace and the furnace itself: there's a macabre little 'push the button' animated exhibit illustrating the process.

    And a stupa is not the thing you'd expct in a Victorian cemetary, either.

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    Princes Street Swing Bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Jul 12, 2011

    Well of course I'm being entirely misleading here. It isn't something to do, it's something to have a look at. And it's only 'off the beaten path' beacuse that's where all the other bridge tips are. lmost by definition, a bridge is placed where where people want to beat a path: this is a swing-bridge, so people want to be able to beat a path on the water as well.

    Anyway, I've no idea why I havn't extolled thevirtues of this one befor now since it is one of my very favorite Bristol bridges: moreover it's somewhere that the casual tourist is quite likely to see, being hard by the Arnolfini and Wapping Wharf.

    I'm not 100% percent certain, but I imagine that the italianate weatherboard tower to the left of the picture would have housed the hydraulic accumulator to drive the thing.

    This is one of Bristol's moving bridges that actually has been seen to open (ie be closed if you are a road user...) fairly frequently. Wot larks, pip!

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    Create Centre

    by diocletianvs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Create Centre
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    In the Cumberland basin three impressive brick warehouses are located. They used to be tobacco bonded warehouses where tobacco was stored before going through the customs and onto the market. These listed buildings dominate the Cumberland basin and are being converted to new uses.

    One of the warehouses is now the home to Create centre dedicated to environment protection. The centre hosts a range of events, conferences and exhibitions. On the ground floor there is an exhibition dedicated to sustainable development, environment protection and recycling. Adjacent to the old brick building is the purpose-built Ecohome. The Create centre is also home to a number of organizations working in the field of sustainable development.

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    Valentine Bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Feb 28, 2011

    Until the 'Mobius Bridge' spanning the Floating Harbour by Castle Park is built this must be the front runner for the title of 'most mannered bridge in Bristol'

    S-shaped in plan and supported off cables running over a tilted mast, it's certainly not a utilitarian solution to the problem of spanning the Floating Harbour. On the other hand, the design bears the marks of something that has not been fully worked out: the mast is fouled by a bunch of spotlights which ruin the clean lines of the structure. And, as a bridge, it's very much spoilt by the cycle barriers: not there to protect pedestrianss from speeding cyclists bot to protect the owners from lawsuits from cyclists who have fallen off due to the less than grippy deck surface.

    Curiously, evn assiduous Googling has not revealed to me any details of who designed the thing: but at least I did find out about the Mobius Bridge, which I look forward to crossing.

    Like the Cheesgrater Bridge, spanning the Floating Harbour behind Temple Meads.

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    The Banana Bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Feb 27, 2011

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    This footbridge over the Avon just along from Temple Meads station has, for the obvious reason, always been referred to as the Banana Bridge. Finally the council bit the bullet and painted it yellow and black. Part of what makes Bristol great.

    To be found spanning the New Cut, between the Bath Road and the Bedminster Bridge.

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    Everyone is calling it the cheesegrater bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Feb 27, 2011

    Like 'Pero's Bridge' and the adjacent 'Valentine's Bridge' this footbridge (officially the 'Meads Reach bridge') over the floating harbour is as much a piece of sculpture as it is a bridge.

    It's a single-span low arch fabricated from stainless steel, and the cheesegrater tag has been bestowed on it because the skin is perforated by a dense grid of holes. This is because the structure is internally lit: at night it's a vision of twinkling loveliness. Well, nearly. It's rather less impressive by day, and on those occasions when the sun is bright it actually kicks back so much light that it's uncomfortable to cross it.

    The holes are, fo those whose tastes lie that way, interesting: it's not a simple regular grid of equi-sized holes. Rather, since the skin of the structure is load-bearing (like an aircraft, it's a stressed-skin construction) the dimension of each hole is as great as it can be without compromising the strength neeeded in that area. Another of the miracles of computer stress analysis. Which really sums the whole thing up: if you're an engineer it's impressive, but to the average Joe it's rather ordinary.

    To be found behind Temple Meads station: If you exit the station by the back way, past the original train shed, and then turn right.

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    • Architecture

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    Another suspension bridge

    by TheLongTone Updated Feb 26, 2011

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    Gaol Ferry Bridge

    Clifton suspension bridge is so well-known that it even puts in an appearance on commemorative £1 coins. Bridge fans may enjoy another Bristol suspension bridge, this slightly camp footbridge over the Avon (or, to be exact , the New Cut) connecting Bedminster to Spike Island (the island created between the Avon and the floating harbour). Built in 1935 on the site of an old ferry crossing which carried 10,000 passengers a week. The Spike Island end is close to the site of the old Bristol prison, the gatehouse of which is still there. hence the name.

    There's a very similar, if not identical, footbridge further up the New Cut, upstream of Temple Meads station.

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    • Architecture

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