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My Favourite Parks in Bristol

As an architecture student, on the subject of City Planning, my lecturer always stated the importance of “Public Open Space”; mostly as a public park where people can walk/stroll at leisure either to play, picnic, enjoy the scenery or just to day dream and maybe think about life.  However, coming from the city I grew up in, it turned out to find a nice public park was difficult.  A lot of the public parks in Jakarta are diminishing and most are encroached either by new built up areas or simply because of too many stake holders with their own agenda who have different opinions on what one should do with an open space.

Back in Bristol, I really appreciate all the parks in and around the city where I live. Here are my top 5 favourite parks in Bristol in no particular order:

1. Brandon Hill

Located on the hill in the centre of the city, one can see the city of Bristol from the top of the hill as Mr. Alfie was doing…

Is the closest to where I live. The name tells you that it’s  on a hill behind Queen Elisabeth School. To get here from the Jacob Wells Rd, you have to take the some stairs. I love the place especially in Winter, when all the leaves on the trees are gone and you can see through the trees to the South of Bristol city. Though this park is small(ish) it has ponds and off course a “folly” as the main park feature, which in this case is called Cabot Tower.

2. College Green

College Green in bloom, where people love to enjoy the sun

Not far from Brandon Hill is College Gree, where it has Bristol Cathedral and City Hall as the south side and north-west boundary and is own by the Dean and Chapter of Bristol Cathedral. Unlike Brandon Hill which very hilly, College Green is flat. Through out summer and autumn, people like to enjoy the sun and have a picnic. However, compared to the other parks, College Green is relatively small, its only covers 1.1 hectares land, but it gives the passerby a nice look to the City Hall and the Bristol Cathedral.

3. Durdham Downs

Flat bit of the city, with interesting set of trees dotted on the landscape

Again this is actually of the higher terrain of Bristol and because of its size – which is very big – one doesn’t need to climb any stairs to get up there, just drive and park around the very big park. On week days, people enjoy walking and jogging around as well as running their dogs. The size is so big that it can house more than 20 football pitches at a time. Which is where the City Council do, preparing  all those football pitches every Saturday, so  that the amateur football clubs can have their Downs League football matches.  What I like on The Downs is the iconic trees – The Seven Sisters – which stand out in the middle of the park and stay green even though the rest of the trees are deciduous.

4. Castle Park

The ruins of St. Peter’s Church in Castle Park

Located right in the middle of city centre of Bristol, and between the shopping area and the floating harbour of the River Avon.  Castle Park is a place where one might want to stroll or to have a picnic lunch break from the nearby offices and enjoy the trancquil scenery of the place. The main feature of the park is the ruins of St Peter’s Church, which was heavily damaged during World War II, and remains as a ruin to remember what happened during the Blitz.

5. Ashton Court

Once a year at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta hundreds of balloons fly off from Aston Court; occassionally they fly one or two balloons throughout year when the weather permits

The location of Asthon Court is a bit away from the city, but for me, its an easy walk from where I live and a great place to do the weekly organised Park Run. It consists of a great estate and Manor House, where the estate covers 850 acres (340 ha) of woods and open grassland.  It also includes two pitch-and-putt golf courses, a football golf course, an orienteering course, horse riding and mountain bike trails.

On top of all the above, there is two deer parks which started in the 14th century and extended in the 16th and 17th centuries.

By the end of the day, Bristol has more than a dozen parks, dotted around the city. Each of them having their own features and people enjoy their time in a park for their own reasons. The above are the parks that I regularly visit due to the convenience of where I live.

However, the biggest open area that I enjoy every day in Bristol, is the Floating Harbour, which is not necessarily a play ground, but one can still play…..

Floating harbour of Bristol, biggest openspace that cross the city

 

 

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