There are three stone circles at Stanton Drew: the Great Circle being one of the largestin the country. Most of the stones have fallen, although a few still remain upright. They are thought to date from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age - ca. 3000 - 2000 BC.
It is thought that the stones represent the members of a wedding party and its musicians, lured by the devil to celebrate on the Sabbath and thus becoming petrified in their revels.
Stone circles are believed to have played an important part in contemporary social and religious life, and there is evidence that some were aligned with major events of the solar and lunar calendar.
Recent surveys have discovered that the Great Circle is itself contained within a very large buried enclsure ditch (ca. 135m diameter). This is about 7m wide and has a broad gap or entrance facing to the north-east. Such enclosures, or henges, are a well known feature of later Neolithic Britain and are assumed to be the foci of ritual activity. It seems probable that at least some of the pit circles at Stanton Drew once held massive posts. Other evdience suggests ritual pits.
The sites of these stone circles, although in the care of English Heritage, lie on private land. You are welcome to visit them during daylight hours on payment of an entrance fee of £1.
- Historical Travel
The limestone landscape includes an open windswept plateau, wooded combes, steeply cut gorges and flower rich valleys.
The Mendip Hills covering 198 sq kms is recognised as one of England's most attractive landscapes.
Lay by providing views of the coast and on the West Mendip Way.
Burrington Ham/Black Down/Roberrow Black Down trig point is the highest point on Mendip offering terrific views across to Wales. Significant wildlife and archaeology. Excellent for walking ,cycling and horse riding.
Chew Valley Lake
Lake side area with visitor centre, tearoom, nature trail, toilets:
Distinctive peak. Open grassland site with areas of gorse and scrub. West Mendip Way passes over the peak.
Open access site with fantastic views over the Somerset Levels. Excellent for walks, picnics, flying kites.
Stockhill and Priddy Mineries Reserve
Forest plantation with easy going trail. Priddy Mineries offers walks over old lead workings.
Velvet Bottom Reserve
Nature reserve part of Charterhouse lead workings complex of sites. Rough grassland with small areas of scrub. Reserve links to Black Rock and Longwood Reserves.
An old lead mining area steeped in history, rough grassland, heath, wetland and woodland. Industrial archaeology visible. Netherwood a small woodland on the reserve has an easy going trail.
Village green at centre of ancient settlement of Priddy. Two village pubs. Hurdle stack on the green is a symbol of the ancient wool trade and annual Priddy sheep fair that takes place second Wednesday in August.
Ancient woodland with ground flora. Access to Wavering Down and Crooks Peak.
Iron age hillfort of great interest for its grassland, limestone heath vegetation and ancient field systems.
Black Rock Reserve
Coppiced woodland reserve including old quarry. Links to Velvet Bottom Reserve.
- Hiking and Walking
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.
Just after Clifton Village, if you continue walking you will end up to Clifton Downs. A huge open area next to river Avon with grounds for football, kite flying, even a beautiful pic-nic on a sunny day. There are some paths in the woods that I first discovered last weekend while we were having our Sunday walk there. Worth to visit when the weather is warm and nice. You can also have great views of the river.
Next time we are having a pic-nic there!!!
- Hiking and Walking
Yes we have our own Millenium Bridge in Bristol. It is something that most of the people, that don't go often near Temple Meads (train station), don't see. It is just behind Temple Meads and I didn't know that it was there until my boyfriend told me.
That's a view of the bridge that is a bit more "artistic"...
This was a small surprise for me. It is a small alley that contains some tiny shops and restaurants. It was very atmospheric walking down the steps of this charming part of Bristol.
The original name -back in the medieval era- was Queene street and some people say that the name Christmas steps is because of a scene that can be seen in a vitro window at The Chapel of the Three Kings of Cologne.
At the bottom of the steps you can taste fish and chips in one of the oldest fish and chips shops in UK. I was expecting to find many book shops like I have read about in some magazines but instead of that I found just some (empty?) buildings although most of them are from the 19th century so it’s worth just to take a look. The funny thing is that I was there during xmas so the alley was decorated for this anyway :)
There are many stories about ghosts in the street because there was supposed to be an old cemetery here in the past but I guess the locals like stories with ghosts like many people in England :)
The christmas steps are very close to Colston Hall, off Colston Street, watch out for the signs because it is almost hidden
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.
Bristol offers over 20 parks and open spaces for weary residents and tourists alike. For unrivalled views of the city and surrounding area, head for the ASHTON COURT ESTATE. Especially good if you have a bike and enjoy a fast cycle through woods and down long big hills. The estate is South West of Bristol and holds many events throughout the year including: The Bristol Community Festival, Kite Fiesta, Deer Feeding Walk, Bikefest and the Essential festival (to name a few). It is a great place for a Sunday walk.
BRANDON HILL is located in central Bristol (just go up Park St and turn off left - follow the sign posts)- this a wonderful oasis of green in the heart of the city and you will find Cabot Tower at the top for good views all around.
For other Parks and events go to the Tourist Information (next door to @Bristol) and pick up a 'Park Life' leaflet.
- Hiking and Walking
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.
Not to be outdone by Pisa and Caerphilly, Bristol has its own leaning tower! Temple Church was built in about 1460 (hence the name of the area 'Temple Meads'). Engineering and construction technology was not an exact science and, unfortunately, shortly after the tower was built it began to sink!! Nowadays the top is leaning 5 feet further than the bottom!
Temple Church has had little luck. During the Bristol Blitz of World War II it was bombed and gutted. So you can no longer go safely inside. But an interesting landmark all the same. And there is an information board at the foot of the tower.
Very close by is the wonderfull Shakespeare Pub, dating from 1636, a remnant of Temple Meads' historical past.
LOCATION: Between Bristol Temple Meads Station and the old city centre, behind the Shakespeare Pub on Victoria Street
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
'Spike Island' Contemporary Visual Art Centre re-opened in February 2007. It includes some very impressive gallery spaces for exhibitions of paintings, audio-visuals and sculpture.
To finish your visit there is a large colourful cafe overlooking the River Avon, selling coffees and cakes.
'Spike Island' is the name of the long spit of land between Bristol Floating Harbour and the old tidal River Avon. The gallery is a short walk from the SS Great Britain. Bus 500 circuits Bristol city centre and passes outside the door.
Address: 133 Cumberland Road, Spike Island, Bristol
Phone: 0117 929 2266
- Arts and Culture
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.
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.
After the Great Circle at Avebury, the largest of the 700 or so neolithic stone circles in the UK is here at Stanton Drew.
There are three visible circles here, plus a group of stones known as The Cove and the remnants of processional ways. The great charm of the monuments here is that they are so little visited. They have also not been excavated, though in recent years magnetographic work has revealed that behind the visible remains lies a site of great complexity and, presumably, importance.
The stones, although maintained by English Heritage, are on private land, in a farmer's field. GBP 1.00 per person in an honesty box at the entrance, and because it's an honesty box, you should be scrupulous about paying up - the farmer doesn't have to let you onto his land and it would be a shame if he didn't. Oh yes - watch out for the many cow pats too!
I've set up a separate travelogue for Stanton Drew.
- Historical Travel
- Study Abroad
When VT was about to be relaunched, I made a joke about being able to do a Nempnett Thrubwell page. And I still can't because it doesn't figure in the VT database (neither does Stanton Drew, or the quite substantial nearby village of Chew Magna).
Nempnett Thrubwell nestles in the foothills of the Mendips, close to Blagdon Lake. There's not much there, except a nice little church, but it's such a lovely name, don't you think? :)