Walk: Clifton Down to Stapleton Road

Map of Clifton Down to Stapleton Road walk

Station: Clifton Down
Trains: Usually every 30 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads. Some services operate from Weston-super-Mare.
Distance: 5km
Allow: About 1 hr

The Walk

From the platform of Clifton Down Station (1) follow the exit route to emerge onto Whiteladies Road. Use the pedestrian crossing to get to the wide corner pavement opposite. Turn right and branch left up newly-pedestrianised Cotham Hill (2). Take the second left, Abbotsford Road then left again into Warwick Road (3). At the far end of Warwick Road, use the pedestrian crossing over Hampton Road. A quick left and right into Waverley Road brings you walking parallel to the Severn Beach line again.

In a gentle left and right the road becomes Meridian Way with the railway now visible in a cutting on the left hand side.

On reaching Redland Grove, cross it and the grass verge opposite to reach a path rejoicing in the name Lover’s Walk and here turn left. Lovers Walk and the avenue of Lime trees is all that remains of an 19th Century approach to Redland Court. The avenue ran from the top of the hill behind you to the gates of the court.

The Court, now visible ahead, was rebuilt in the 1730’s on the site of an older manor house. The surrounding estate was sold for housing in 1865. The Clifton Extension Railway line arrived in 1874 being opened to passenger traffic in 1885, Redland had no station despite its expanding population. Following the petitions of 1885, 1887 and 1892, Redland station (4) was built in 1897.

Cross the railway by the bridge with cast-iron balustrades and turn right down South Road. Cross Redland Road and continue straight ahead down Zetland Road.

Zetland Road and Redland Road are both wider than the average road in Redland as this was the double-track tram route from Gloucester Road to Durdham Down.

Continue down Zetland Road to the traffic light junction (5) with Gloucester Road, cross at the traffic lights and turn right to go under The Arches. Then cross the end of North Road (leading to Cromwell Road) and veer left up Station Road towards Montpelier Station (6). Continue to St Andrews Road where you then turn left.

Incidentally, Cromwell Road gets its name from Oliver Cromwell who from the top of this hill oversaw the recapture of the Royalist city during the second siege of Bristol in 1645.

Keep going up St Andrews Road but do not take the very steep uphill road where it swings off to the left. Instead go straight on along what appears to be a dead end. The Severn Beach line is, in fact in a tunnel under your feet at this stage for a little more than the whole length of this road.

As you approach the end of this road note the large residential building on the right. This was converted to flats in the 1980s, having been built in Victorian times as a brew house (7). To the right at the end is an iron gate and footpath off to the right. Take this path which is poised over the tunnel mouth and follow it along the top edge of the railway cutting. Pass an iron footbridge over the cutting – built for pedestrian access to Fairfield School (8) on your right – and continue down to Ashley Hill.

On reaching Ashley Hill note that on the opposite side there are footpaths each side of the railway road bridge. These two alternative paths will meet again in St Werburghs at the bottom of the hill.

Cross Ashley Hill and enter the footpath to the right of the railway. Descend the hill between the railway and Briavels Grove. At the bottom of the hill, pass a free-flowing culvert that emerges from the embankment. This is one of the rare visible sections of Horfield Brook which used to feed the large watercress beds on the other side of the embankment, now occupied by City Farm. Note also the remains of street gas lamps, still working in the early 1980’s, among the last in Bristol.

On reaching Mina Road (11) turn right away from the road tunnel. The path to the left of St Werburgh’s church is known as Cutthroat Lane in memory of Ada James murdered here in January 1913.

St Werburgh’s church originally stood in Corn Street. It closed in 1877, was demolished, and the stones numbered before being transported to this site in Mina Road. The Corn Street site became a branch of Lloyds Bank. The church was deconsecrated in 1988 and converted into Bristol’s first indoor climbing centre.

Pass the front of the church/climbing centre and immediately turn left into St Werburgh’s Road and follow it round until it emerges into Glenfrome Road opposite St Werburgh’s Park Nursery School.

Cross Glenfrome Road and turn left. Between the school fence and the railway, turn right along a paved footpath to Norman Road: do not go under the bridge.

Turn right and at the far end of Norman Road turn left into Warminster Road. Where this road bends sharply right it becomes Saxon Road. At the end of Saxon Road turn left into Merstham Road. Ahead you will see and hear the M32 and the footbridge over it (12).

Cross the footbridge then head left to where the path joins Fox Road keep going straight ahead parallel to the motorway.

The large white building on the other side of the road was formerly a late C18 public house The Old Fox which narrowly escaped demolition when the M32 was built. Continue to the end of Fox Road, passing through the houses to Stapleton Road. Just opposite is a stone stairway up to Stapleton Road Station. Next to the bottom of these steps is a tall turreted tower (13) with a bricked-up doorway at street level. Mystery surrounds the date of origin and its purpose, but it is classified as a building of historic importance and is
graded Class II. One theory is that it was a gazebo, the only one surviving of four, part of the local Manor House, called Queen Anne Manor House.

Cross the road climb the steps to reach Stapleton Road station (14).

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the route description, FoSBR cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for changes in the details given. Hedges, footpaths and fences can be moved and redirected. Paths can become slippery, boggy and dangerous in wet and wintry weather. Take special care when crossing major roads.

Check for service disruption before setting off.

Maps © OpenStreetMap contributors

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