A New Path to Ashton Court

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Tonight’s run was a very interrupted, stop-start affair. But for good reason.

Tomorrow sees the start of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, held at the Ashton Court Estate, not a million miles from my usual towpath route. Not only that, but today someone mentioned the new Festival Way cycle route, the first phase of which recently opened, and links my bit of town with Ashton Court. All the details, and a sped-up video of someone riding the route — a really good way of showing how to get places, especially as the signs are a bit rubbish at the moment — are here on Better By Bike.

So, I checked it out. It does make Ashton Court seem even closer to me than the previous pedestrian route I’d used, over a footbridge by the allotments and down a tiny footpath. And avoids both stairs and stinging nettles, definite minuses of that way of getting there.

On the other hand, it’s very clearly a route that wouldn’t really exist purely for the pleasure of an amble, having a relatively claustrophobic and industrial feel, much of both sides being sealed off by fencing of the cheap-and-fierce variety, including sections with that nasty rotating blade stuff. Still, makes for an interesting silhouette.

Once that bit’s over, you emerge slightly surprised at a nice-looking cricket pitch, two sides of which you walk around before the cycle path finally ends. It spits you out directly opposite the Kennel Lodge Road entrance to Ashton Court, on the blind bend on Clanage Road. Nasty.

Still, I took my earbuds out, took my life in my hands, and jogged successfully across the danger zone. After that it was, really, a walk in the park, jogging up the hill to the mansion house and then trotting around the fairground attractions, many still being bolted together and stocked with stuffed animals. Really must get up there with a proper camera on the same day next year — the preparations make for good photography.

Anyway. So, turning around at the top of the balloon arena, and punctuating my running with stopping to look at stuff, and the odd bit of iPhone photography, I slowly made my way back home. I think I probably did technically jog 5K, but not all at once… Still, it was a good way of scoping out this new route, which should open up Ashton Court for me for some longer runs, which should be a pleasant alternative to the Downs.

I’m taking Friday off work to go hang out at the Balloon Fiesta some. I may even head up for one of the 6am launches — they’re really magical times, when not so many people are about and the balloons sometimes lift off the field at about the same time as the morning mist. If I do, I’ll probably throw some photos on Flickr, and pop a link in here, running-related or not 🙂

One thought on “A New Path to Ashton Court”

  1. Amazing photo! That’s really beautiful.

    The Street Parade is on here this weekend, which i’m tempted to go to as I like several DJs who will be playing. Just hope the weather isn’t too bad! Looking forward to the balloon photos. ^_^

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