Back on track

Here we are again approaching Sea Mills station, my current second favourite railway station, much loved by me for its quiet, single track sleepiness and its pleasantly unexceptional suburban setting. But most of all for THIS.IMG_0814 (2) River – blah, fields – blah, mud – blah. Yes, yes, but look, there’s a boat mired where the Trym meets the Avon. Now if I were to hop aboard, let the tide rise and then cast off, I could drift downstream to where the Avon joins the Severn and then sail away down the Bristol Channel, into the Celtic Sea and on to the North Atlantic Ocean, deciding on a whim to turn left for Cape Town, straight on for Rio, or maybe I’d keep right for New York.

Obviously this would be insane because a) I don’t know how to sail, b) that’s not a sailing boat, and c) I don’t like getting wet. But it doesn’t stop my heart lifting at the sight.

So there we were for another outing for what I persist in calling the embryonic walking group (with some justification, I contend, seeing as this is only our second meet this year). As it was such a long time since our last outing in April we had rather forgotten where we had got to on our circumnavigation of Bristol, but all agreed that an exception could be made and a path traced along the banks of the Avon instead. We set off along the unexpectedly bucolic stretch set between the river, the railway and the last hurrahs of the A4, a remarkably peaceful spot given all that is going on around it.IMG_0824 (3) After a mile or so of loveliness the bank narrows and the path ends. Nothing for it but to climb back up to the main road and to the traffic for a mile of grot. IMG_0878 (3).JPG Eventually the Suspension Bridge came into view, making all things better, and after rather a lot more mud, we left the Avon and headed for the Floating Harbour (which is basically a giant pound with lock gates at either end to keep the water at a constant level). There’s always loads to see on the Harbourside, whether it’s a view across the waterIMG_0901 (2)

or one of Bristol’s sons in a festive landscape.IMG_0908 (2)

And can you spot Morph in this unintentionally tricksy shot through Aardman’s window?IMG_0915 (2).JPGHeading for Temple Meads station and the train back to the start, we left the water’s edge as L, whose office had once been based in these parts, took us off piste down narrow cobbled streets.IMG_0927 (2) We hadn’t intended to stop at St Mary Redcliffe Church though it is undoubtedly a fine and ancient building (Elizabeth I called it the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England. So there. Mind you, she probably said that a lot). However, the prospect of Treefest, a forest of decorated Christmas trees, did call for a detour. There were some beauties,IMG_0944 (2) there were some cannily placed,

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The WI take the festive spot next to St Nicholas

there were some ingeniously inventive offerings,

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Just don’t sneeze anywhere near here.

there were some horrors (I’ll spare you), and there were many from those supporting the suffering.IMG_0950 (2).JPG There were some that made me laugh,

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Handcuffs as tree decorations?

and then there was the one from Asda.

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Would it have killed you to have found a few more lights, Asda?

And finally, at a bakery tucked into a railway arch beneath the station there was coffee and cake. Splendid.

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Never board a train without picking up a coffee and a little something from Harts Bakery (

10 thoughts on “Back on track

  1. I’ve got sinusitis and toothache but the Asda tree made me smirk. As did Crimestoppers. I like this idea very much – a church near us did the same last year and it was quite magical and heart-warming, especially one which featured Action Man in a home-knitted Christmas jumper. That was a lovely walk.


    • I am so sorry to hear about the sinusitis and the toothache. Miserable being sub optimal especially at this time of year. Hope you feel better soon.

      Yes, the tree idea is a lovely one. Simple but effective. Haven’t come across it before. Brings people in to see the spectacle and vote for their favourite tree (there was an impressive spread of home made cake on offer too but I whipped my troop past) and enables small charities to spread the word, large outfits to show a human side and Asda to be Asda. Good.

      I do like the idea of Action Man in a hand knit. Was it an appropriately rugged Scandi style or a more In Touch With Feminine Side cardi? Ceri


  2. This is a lovely walk. I used to love walking to Sea Mills station when i lived in those parts. The river there looks peaceful and is beautiful at high tide, a tonic for the commuters and school students on their daily journeys. And with echoes of its past busyness it is also somehow very atmospheric. All those dreams of journeys not taken perhaps.
    And Treefest. At a different time of day you may have caught local choirs giving their all to entertain the visitors…
    And other churches in the vicinity are having similar events. It’s clearly becoming quite the thing. Thankyou Ceri .


    • Thank you, Judith. Good to hear that I’m not the only dreamer on Platform 1 and actually I had never come across that station until you spoke of using it when you were living over there. So all thanks are due to you for this. Ceri


  3. Ah the Asda tree made me laugh out loud! Why bother? I loved your photos of the misty river, so beautiful. I often wonder about boats I see on mud flats or besides lakes. How do they owner get to them? As you say, do they sit in them and wait for the tide, or wade out in their very long wading boots?


    • Well yes, unless the good people of Asda were making a minimalist statement regarding the excess of Christmas (unlikely I feel given that they exist to sell stuff), I did wonder why they had bothered too.

      And getting out to those boats on the mudbanks, I often ponder on that too. Maybe there’s a system of ropes? Or a smaller boat? Or waders as you suggest? Or maybe it’s one of those skills that boating types just know?

      Liked by 1 person

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