Station: Stapleton Road
Trains: Usually every 30 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads. Services between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood also call here.
Allow: About 40 mins
From the platform of Stapleton Road station (1), leave the station on the east side, using the footbridge if necessary.
Follow the path to the right away from Stapleton Road and emerge onto St Marks Road (2) next to The Sugarloaf pub.
Turn right along St Marks Road away from the pub and at the junction with High Street, turn left.
On the opposite side of the road, at this junction you will see a blue sign, pointing left, to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path: this is where we are heading. On this same corner, pause to look up at the architecture of the tower St Mark’s church (3), now sheltered housing, with the many grotesques lurking on the tower roof. These will be a familiar sight to train travellers.
With your back to St Marks church, cross the High Street and enter Albion Road (4) with the high stone embankment of the railway on your right hand side. Proceed along this road until you see the small Albion Green Amenity Area (5) on the left. Here, ignore the right hand turning, Bannerman Road, which goes off to the right under the railway through the newly painted Frogmarsh Bridge and continue on in the same direction as before.
Albion Road now bends a little to the left. At the next junction bear right into Chelsea Road (6). Proceed along Chelsea Road keeping straight on ignoring Britannia Road, Bloy Street, Colston Road, Chelsea Park and Battersea Road all, on the left hand side of Chelsea Road. Bloy derives from Old English field name, blaw – meaning cheerless or windswept.
Just opposite Bloy Street you will pass a Sikh Temple (7). Passing the Old Coop Business Centre on your left you begin to see a large red-brick building in front of you near the far end of Chelsea Road. As you get nearer you will see that this is the Bristol Central Mosque (8), behind which is the Easton Community Centre.
Do not follow the road past the mosque but turn left into Owen Square Park (9). At the entrance to this park is another blue sign pointing to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path. Skirt round to the left of the buildings, go up a short slope and join the Bristol & Bath Railway Path (10).
Turn right on the Bristol & Bath Railway Path. Do beware of cyclists here – this is a popular cycling route. You should now be heading towards the city,
The Railway Path started life as the track bed of the Bristol & Gloucester Railway in 1844 but was dogged by financial and ‘Broadgauge vs Standard Gauge’ engineering problems. It became part of the Midland Railway, using the GWR Temple Meads station as its terminus.
Temple Meads was fairly limited in size until enlargement in 1878, and was already handling the Bristol and Exeter Railway traffic in addition to its London route. In 1858 the Midland Railway established its own goods facilities at St Philips, and on 2 May 1870 a single platform passenger station was opened there, dealing chiefly with Bath trains. Passenger services here ended 1953 and the former Midland Railway line closed on 1st April 1967.
Between 1979 and 1986, the line was converted into the present-day Railway Path. At the bridge over the railway, if you can, look over the parapet on the left for a glimpse of Lawrence Hill Station (11).
Having crossed the bridge over the mainline railway, again on your left is a much overgrown branch line that goes nowhere, all that survives from the Midland Railway days.
After the path goes under the A420 Lawrence Hill bridge (12), it becomes a little narrower and less of a straight line, but still goes in the same general direction. Ahead is the imposing bridge of the St Philips Causeway (13), site of the Barrow Lane road viaduct that once carried a long and narrow roadway across the extensive Midland Railways goods yard.
Pass under the causeway and enter the green area of Newtown Park (14). Here the path divides, but we bear to the left and the Trinity Road entrance. (The right turn takes you to Old Market).
At the Trinity Road entrance (15) continue straight ahead to Midland Road (which marks the other end of the goods yard, hence the name), and here turn left. A short way along Midland Road it starts to rise in another old railway bridge. This bridge is another remnant of the Midland Railway which serviced a small docks facility on the River Avon.
Don’t go over this bridge but just before it you should turn right down Barton Road (16).
Pass the Barley Mow pub on the left and the Old Jewish Burial Ground (behind the high stone wall and gate) on the right. Ignore the turning into Les Brown Court on the right but take the next right hand turning called Chimney Steps (17). Thus we regain the former Midland line down to the Avon.
On the left of Chimney Steps was the original site of the huge Avonside Engine Works (1837-1905) with its own extensive network of railway lines and turntables for the production of locomotives.
Continue along Chimney Steps until you reach the crossing Anvil Street where residential housing gives way to office buildings.
Keep straight on in the same direction as before, crossing Avon Street to reach the pedestrian/cycle bridge (18) over the river Avon. Cross this bridge, also known as “the cheese grater” because of its structure, and go through a small car park to the rear of Temple Meads station (19).
Here, on your right are various refreshment outlets and, on your left Brunel’s original Bristol terminus. Other than trains, bus services are available in the station approach or a little further on in Temple Gate.
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.
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