Welcome to the second half of my walk from Severn Beach to Bristol City Centre. Having followed the riverbank South from Severn Beach toward Bristol along the Severn Way Bristol Link and crossed the River Avon on the Avonmouth Bridge in Part 1, I had just arrived in the village of Pill on the South side of the Avon near Portbury Docks. Come with me on the rest of the journey as I embark on a trip down the Avon Gorge into the centre of Bristol.
Following the local cycle paths, I walked through Pill looking back at the Avonmouth bridge that I had just crossed as I did.
Venturing through the village, I passed the Portishead railway line from Bristol Temple Meads before arriving at Pill Creek down by the River Avon.
Historically, there was a ferry between Pill and the Bristol suburb of Shirehampton that ran from here which closed due to decline in trade when the nearby bridge was built allowing people to walk across the Avon to Shirehampton. Whilst doing some research on the area and the River Avon Trail using an information leaflet, I came across the following piece of trivia about the old ferry and the patrons of the local pubs;
“When pub closing time was half an hour earlier in Gloucestershire than it was in Somerset, a regular contingent from [The Lamplighters Pub in] Shirehampton took the ferry to Pill for a last drink. The ferry was often so crowded that the passengers had to sway to give the ferryman room to row.”
I picked up the River Avon Trail out of Pill and began to follow it along the course of the River. I needed to maintain a fast pace at this stage as it was late afternoon I was already going to be pushed to reach Bristol before dark; you may have noticed a complete lack of pub stops on this walk thus far. There simply wasn’t time.
I began to follow the Avon out of Pill and toward the Avon Gorge on the River Avon Trail. The path was muddy in places but mainly due to the fact that it had been spitting for at least an hour now. The river winds through some very open areas where visibility is good and you can see how wide the river is as well as see its characteristically black stone banks.
Just as the gorge was beginning to open up, the pathway forced me into thick woodland along the banks. There was an occasional break in the vegetation so I could get a glimpse of the cliffs above. The gorge is very popular with climbers as you can imagine. I saw several people navigating the rock face and admired their bravery. Looking up at them reassured me that I am doing the right thing by staying on the ground. The rain got heavier as the evening closed in.
The walk continues into Bristol on the next page…