The Clifton Suspension Bridge is an awe-inspiring site.
Located in the gorgeous Northwest Bristol area of Clifton, it spans a stretch of the Avon Gorge, 75 metres about the water.
The bridge was built between 1836 - 1864, designed by the famous Brunel.
You can walk across the bridge for a closer look, and drive across for a fee of 30pence each way.
The bridge was built high above the River Avon not far from the Severn Estuary by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and affords great views over Bristol and the surrounding areas as well as giving a useful crossing of the gorge.
Sadly though the bridge has been used as a popular suicide point.
This is one of Bristol's most famous sights, both close up and from a distance as you drive into Bristol on the A38 - it's lit up at night and is especially stunnung on a winter's night.
Think twice about walking across if you suffer from vertigo ( I never learn as I've done it several times now!)
Interesting facts - no large groups of people are allowed to march across as it could cause problems with the suspension with dire consequences! In fact the bridge is going to be closed this month when hundreds of pedestrians would use it to walk across to the annual music festival at Ashton Court.
This may be an urban legend - but the bridge is a notorious suicide spot and rumour has it that a cenyury or two ago a lady who had been jilted by her lover jumped off the bridge, the wind caught her voluminous skirt and petticoats and she floated down to the ground - and later married and lived to a ripe old age!
My daughter lives in a house on Hotwells and the bridge is the view from her bedroom window. Not bad, eh?!
The most famous spot of Bristol... the Suspension Bridge.
The picture is not that clear..sorry. It was taken from a beautiful pub next to the bridge, called the White Lion. One of our favorite choices to go when the weather is warm. We sit on the huge terrace that they have and enjoy the views!!!
The Golden Gate Bridge may be more glamorous, and that one in Japan may be longer, but the Clifton Suspension Bridge is a magnificent piece of Victorian engineering, spanning the breathtaking Avon Gorge high above the waters - or more usually mud - of the River Avon.
It is as much a symbol of the city as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris or the Leaning Tower is of Pisa.
Not as big as the Grand Canyon, of course, but pretty stupendous all the same! Walk across the suspension bridge or drive along the Portway, or best of all walk through Leigh Woods to see it. In the days of sailing ships, the ships' masters used to fear the 10km or so from Bristol City Docks to the Severn far more than anything they might meet on the high seas. The treacherous rocks and mudbanks, and swirling currents exacerbated by the second-highest tides in the world (say Hi! to our friends in Saint John, New Brunswick, who have the highest) made it a nightmare journey. These days, in summer, you can go on a cruise down the gorge and on to Clevedon, Penarth or Ilfracombe.
Well you have to see our famous bridge (& its free to walk over - by far the best way to go)
Today the Clifton Suspension Bridge is looked after by a Trust set up under an Act of Parliament of 1952. The 13 trustees include representatives of local government together with others chosen for their technical or business expertise. The trustees are empowered to collect tolls, although since 1991 pedestrians and cyclists have crossed free of charge
Four designs were shortlisted with Brunel being placed second. However, he quickly arranged a meeting with the leading judge and soon convinced him that technical objections to his design were unjustified. Within two days Brunel was proclaimed the winner and also appointed engineer for the project. In 1831, £20,000 short of the necessary funds, work began. Only a few weeks later the Bristol Riots broke out, the bloodiest civil disturbances to take place in 19th century England, with the mob in control of the city for two days until dispersed by cavalry. Business confidence collapsed and it was over four years before work on the bridge resumed.
By 1853 the time span allotted by Parliament expired. The committee sold the ironwork, machinery and equipment to pay the contractors and much of the material was used on Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge linking Devon and Cornwall at Plymouth. Brunel died in 1859 at the age of 53 through overwork and 40 cigars a day without ever seeing the completion of his bridge
Brunel's early death inspired the completion of the bridge. The Institution of Civil Engineers decided to finish the bridge as a memorial to him. It was estimated that £45,000 would be needed to complete the project and by December £30,000 had been raised. Happily for today's road traffic these engineers decided to use three chains instead of two and to widen the roadway from 7 metres to 9 metres.
In July 1864 the last cross girder was in place and as a safety test 500 tonnes of stone were spread on the road and footpath. The bridge sagged 18 centimetres in the middle, well within acceptable limits.
On 8 December 1864 the ceremonial opening took place
Avon Gorge and Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge, it was supposed to have 2 large Sphinx on the top of the bridge to give it an Egytian look but the cost was to high. It was completed in 1862, just after Isambard Kingdom Brunel who built it died. If you look in the top right hand cornet you can see the Observatory.
I never get bored of the sight of the bridge, it can be very dramatic and a low tide you can see the bubbline hot wells under it, hence the name of the area Hotwells. The Victorians used to come to the area to samle to hot water, but is sadly now gone as the river was widended for shipping. There was also under the Bridge an Iron age causeway that was blown up in the 1860's to render the passage of ships passable.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a toll bridge crossing the Avon Gorge. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Many people seem to go to the Clifton Suspension Bridge to end their lives.... that is what my guide told me, I just enjoyed the sight of it, it is a very big bridge, very impressive...
Just get there on foot and cross to the other side. Marvellous views over Bristol and the Avon!
By car you have to pay a fee in order to cross it.