Finding Bristol’s Brislington Brook

We needed an adventure this Sunday, stared at the map trying to find it and we did — in the form of the Brislington Brook, a winding piece of water that starts and ends abruptly and not too far away in a little loop of the Avon.

Brislington Map

Without wellies we couldn’t jump in and follow it — a bit sad perhaps. But we did our best, starting from a small footpath leading off the giant Tesco parking lot that led into an unexpectedly beautiful path and brought us to the water.

Brislington Brook

Looking up towards the far end of the brook that we didn’t quite reach from a little bridge:

Brislington Brook

And looking down towards the long stretch we would seek to follow that very afternoon, and a rare bit of natural bank here:

Brislington Brook

It is beautiful, as is the path leading up to Water Lane, but so soon you hit asphalt and fences. Roads. The brook is channeled beneath them, almost invisible to cars I should imagine:

Brislington Brook

From Water Lane you look down the next stretch…but you cannot follow it:

Brislington Brook

So we walked down Hulse Rd to Kenneth Road, and another little footpath that crosses it there:

Brislington Brook

Looking back where we’d come, the concrete canalisation method is not quite as nice, but it looks as though this is one of the places water might busily be carving away at the bank were it left to its own devices. Instead it goes exactly where we tell it, for now…

Brislington Brook

We turned around, had to leave the brook again and trace it in parallel back down Kenneth Rd to the Bath Rd where it disappears for a short distance under this large-traffic filled way, though we found an old pub if only we’d been crawling:

Brislington Brook

The only wildlife we saw apart from the giant bird soaring in the skies above us:

Brislington Brook

More privatised space. Sadness. I hate these signs. I hate that they have taken the name of badgers in vain. But this tall and very thin engine house with the church up a curving road behind it was amazing:

Brislington Brook

These cottages lovely:

Brislington Brook

Imagine this place in the 1700s, pub and engine house and cottages, church, a little village here now swallowed by the city. And then we find another glimpse of the brook, a sedate trickle now:

Brislington Brook

Another pub, a memory of this part of England as a place of pilgrimage to St Anne’s Well:

Brislington Brook

Perhaps that is partly why it has such a lovely feel here, we reached a series of streets I would be so happy to live in, they are somehow removed from the city and have an openness to them:

Brislington Brook

Brislington Brook

An alley took us back to the Brislington, beautiful stone walls draped in flowers though the brook looks so much sadder and smaller in its bed of concrete and we couldn’t really hear it — there seems to be little babbling with this configuration:

Brislington Brook

A dead end, but a picturesque one:

Brislington Brook

Back to Jean Rd (my grandmother’s name, I think she would have loved this place too), a look back down the brook here with a house overhanging it, beautiful, though possibly a bit damp.

Brislington Brook

School Rd to Clayfield Road and an estate that we thought brought us to the end, but we found a long remembrance of a public right of way, fenced and a little unfriendly but still taking you back to Brislington Brook:

Brislington Brook

It is beautiful here:

Brislington Brook

Brislington Brook

the brook flows on, still channeled behind high walls

Brislington Brook

We cast around, thought about heading back, headed uphill a bit but realised it would take us round too long a way. Still, it is beautiful, still doesn’t feel too much like city:

Brislington Brook

Brislington Brook

But in the end we found a way up towards Allison Rd:

Brislington Brook

Reached the park where the Brislington continues its flow more as it once used to:

Nightingale Valley

Though we decided to continue it another day…a good thing, because deciding otherwise we would have missed this guy:

Kong!

There is also a lovely Friends of Brislington Brook project and website, so you can read more here.

[Part 2 of Finding Brislington Brook]

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