Autumn is upon us, and the long, (sort of) sunny days can seem like memories from a past life. The tan lines are fading away, UWE geese are preparing for a take-off and ASDA has just launched their Christmas chocolate Santa collection. Admittedly, once the leaves turn yellow and fall off the trees it might be difficult to find inspiration in the local surroundings and stay green throughout the year. Every year, I promise to myself to get outdoors more over Autumn and Winter but let’s face it, 5pm sunsets and frequent downpours require more planning and creativity. However, even in the drizzle, Brizzle *is* the shizzle, as illustrated by the local artist:
Here are the 7 outdoorsy things you can do in Bristol in Autumn:
1. Get involved in the UWE woodland conservation project (Greenspace)
Our Green Space project provides a fortnightly opportunity to UWE students to get their hands dirty, work with tools and spend some time in the fresh air. We meet on Saturdays in the Frenchay SU and walk together to the nearby woods, where we can all enjoy working together on woodland conservation activities (e.g. coppicing, habitat building) with a free lunch! You can find the nearest dates and sign up here .
Our volunteers, just about to get dirty
2. Grow and harvest fruit and veg grown on campus
The UWE Community Garden is located just 5 mins walk from the Frenchay SU. It is a lovely and peaceful spot where students and staff can help with food growing or even set up their own patch! We run monthly volunteering sessions on Wednesday afternoons, where we work with plants from sowing seeds to harvesting. However, people may access the garden anytime outside of these sessions to enjoy the benefits of our green space.
You can find the nearest dates and sign up here.
Not everyone knows about UWE Community Garden, but it’s really close from the centre of Frenchay campus!
3. Build a garden shed at Feed Bristol
If you like the idea of gardening, but want to take a step out of the UWE campus environment and into the community, we recommend visiting Feed Bristol. It is a large food growing and permaculture site, located just 20 mins off Frenchay campus. You can volunteer 4 days a week – Mon-Wed and Fri, anytime between 9.30 and 4pm. No previous knowledge or commitment required – just turn up and stay however long you’d like. Although the growing season might be over soon, there is still lots of work to be done, e.g. clearing, or harvesting. You might even get involved in shed building or painting.
Feed Bristol volunteers, ready for pumpkin carving inspiration.
4. Cycle off road in Ashton Court
For those south from the river- don’t worry, there is still plenty to do! First of all, why don’t you pay a visit to Ashton Court (the same you can see from the Bower Ashton library! Have you ever spotted a deer?). Ashton Court is located just 15 mins bike ride from the city centre. It is best to use mostly off road Festival Way. The park is famous for quality mountain bike trails; bike hire is available on site so prepare to get muddy!
A view from near the Bower Ashton library- remember to look away from your screen during long study sessions!
5. Taste the magic of mushrooms at Leigh woods
We’re still on the south side, this time crossing Bristol’s landmark - Clifton suspension bridge. Did you know that Bristol boasts a proper forest? Leigh Woods is a National Trust site open to all – walkers, runners, cyclists, climbers and in Autumn time particularly, mushroom pickers (as they’re the most funghi-s).
N.B. The pictured mushroom is neither magic nor edible. Do not try this at home.
(Source: under C.C. License 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/m-a-r-t-i-n/)
6. Find your significant otter at Snuff mills
Glenside students will also find a peaceful and wild corner of the city at their doorstep. Snuff mills is one of Bristol’s best kept secrets. Discover the wilderness of the river Frome cutting through the steep wooded banks. Snuff Mills is also a home to local otters, but since they are nocturnal, they are particularly hard to spot. It is best try and see them in the early morning. You do not actually have to wake up early – you could pay a visit on your way home from a party, just after the sunrise!
Fun fact: otters have very distinctive poop “not dissimilar in smell to jasmine tea”
(Source: under CC license https://pixabay.com/en/otter-animal-zoo-playing-2662477/)
7. Embark on a weekend adventure in the Mendips
If you are feeling more adventurous, plan a weekend trip to Mendips Hills. It is less than an hour drive or a full day of cycling up and down the hills (e.g. 50 mile round trip to Cheddar). Alternatively, you can take the 376 Mendip Xplorer bus from the city centre (just pay attention to the timetable, as the buses aren’t very frequent!).
Mendip hills are famous for caving, climbing, sailing and the dramatic Cheddar Gorge. After a day packed with outdoor activities of your choice, you can retreat to one of many local cafes and pubs.
Cheddar, aerial view
(Source: under CC license https://pixabay.com/en/keens-cheddar-cheese-cheddar-3514/ )
What are your favourite green Bristol spots? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org - perhaps we could organise a day trip and make it easier for everyone to access the most beautiful sites! You could also tweet us your pictures to https://twitter.com/thegreen_team and use #thinkgreenbegreat.