Wild Van Camping Bristol Downs,
We were really torn about whether this would be a welcoming spot and avoided it for a long time due to the reputation of a few areas of the downs and it’s specific night time activities, as we had no real interest in joining that club by accident!
However an appointment early one morning in Bristol lead us to chance it and we have never looked back.
In the middle of the downs there is one road with a small parking area which is used by a lot of local people in their vans towards Parrys Lane, it is surprisingly peaceful considering how central it is.
I think the slightly more dodgy area is down towards the Avon gorge going in the direction of the Portway road (however when I say dodgy I only mean that you might encounter a string of people sneakily disappearing into the woods, I’m sure you are well within your rights to politely look the other way and they wouldn’t cause you any problems!)
All of the other areas seem to be quite peaceful of an evening, ideal for a nice walk around soaking up the atmosphere of people busying about their business. There are breath taking views of the suspension bridge straddling the Avon gorge if you fancy a walk about, lots of benches and picnic spots. BBQ’s are encouraged on the flagstones near Ladies Mile.
The place is popular with walkers and joggers if you fancy a run and apparently there are also six outdoor exercise stations if you are that way inclined, not that we’ve ever actually found them!
Perfect place to kick a football around or fly a kite though on a windy day for the small people. The Retreat Cafe and Toilets are open during the day. There are also toilets situated right on the end near the Avon Gorge.
Blaise Castle House Museum & Estate (Kings Weston road, BS10 7QS) is our favourite place to go from here in the day time. It is a 650 parkland with a huge children’s play area with loads of bits for all ages to explore, toilet block and cafe. The main car park is open 7.30am till dusk every day.
There are trails to adventure on through the woods down to a little stream, a folly castle on a hill, Stratford mill water wheel (saved from the now submerged village under nearby chew valley lake) and even a timber clad fairy house.
On rainy days we hit up the treasure trove of local history that is the Mshed museum, down by the docks, Wapping Rd, BS1 4RH. Check out the cute little kids area in the second floor entrance hall. Easy pay and display parking in the spacious Wapping Wharf Car Park. Followed by a walk along the docks before dinner if we still have energy to burn.