It’s now over a hundred years since the death of Frank Tuckett who was one of the founders of Eastville Park. Frank Tuckett created a route to walk to work which went from his home in Frenchay nearer Hambrook to his office past Bristol Bridge. This route was before the age of the car and the route was for Frank Tuckett to keep fit for his mountaineering hobby. Now approaching 2020, routes for walking and cycling and fairness for wheelchair users has never been more important and this is why The Tuckett Trail has been reborn and it needs to be better and safer than ever before while there’s still chance to make it happen.
The Tuckett Trail today needs to be longer though and the ideal route will start from Winterbourne Medieval Barn and join up the Wider Medieval Complex to join up a number of cycleways and rights of way to central Bristol.
Taken from The Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust booklet Charity No 1112908
Some 500 metres to the west of the church of St Michael the Archangel (previously called St Mary’s) and Winterbourne Barn is Old Gloucester Road. This track, on a ridge of ground higher than the Court Farm complex, was used by pilgrims and other travellers as the direct route from Bristol to Gloucester and on to Worcester, in which the diocese of Winterbourne came. Close to this point the track crosses Metford Bridge, built some time before 1364. In that year there was a complaint that ‘Mottefort’ (Muddy Ford) Bridge was broken and in need of repair. Other evidence of pilgrims using this track was to be found in tiny crosses carved above the priest’s door in the parish church
There is a a footpath leading from Old Gloucester Road to the church and part way down that footpath, just over the Bradley Brook are four ponds. Forgotten heritage which can be read about in the booklet.
The current Frome Greenway route by Better by Bike is lovely but it isn’t fit for purpose compared to The Tuckett Trail. It’s lovely for people who wear waterproof boots all through the winter months, it’s lovely for fit people who like to cycle through mud and up hills, it’s lovely for trail walkers who like to escape city life; however it’s not at all lovely for everyone else for five months of every year who need to get to school, to university and to work or to shop and get from A to B for leisure away from dangerous and polluted roads.
The Frome Greenway and then The Tuckett Trail from Bristol Bridge, past Cabot Circus and to Snuff Mills which is similar to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path needs a proper surface and to be well kept. A parkland route with a proper surface which doesn’t flood, which doesn’t fall away at the sides, which doesn’t disappear under mud and slush for five months a year in parts and which is regularly maintained. The current system can’t even be brushed without ruining the surface; this is a city, not the middle of Snowdonia or Dartmoor. We need our route to be accessible, attractive and a real alternative to using cars and facing air pollution. This is an already in place historic and well documented trail and it needs updating with minimal spend so that it meets the demands of the city and is attractive parkland for all users. This historic route is an important part of regional heritage and it’s needed today more than ever before as the region expands and is further developed to offer clean and fair transport links.
Below shows the issues we have today and the milestones which need to be overcome to address these issues and make the city region fairer for people and not only for cars! The Tuckett Trail is the alternative Bristol & Bath Railway Path from Winterbourne and Bradley Stoke to Bristol Harbourside and all the routes in between and afterwards.
From Snuff Mills area, when leaving Wickham Glen, the Frome Greenway then climbs a steep Broom Hill which is not possible for wheelchair users and in to Stoke Park Estate which disabled people can’t usually access either, then up another steep hill and past the side of Dower House, then up more steep roads and through housing areas and through UWE Frenchay Campus. This is the Frome Greenway route and signposted as The Frome Valley, so we need The Tuckett Trail for people who do not need a route to UWE and instead a route for people who need a flatter alternative to Frenchay, Hambrook, Downend, Winterbourne and Bradley Stoke.
Disabled People cut off by continuous collapsing sandy rocks in Stapleton. People are at risk here.. how long before this lands on someones head or a pram with a baby? This remains a priority to find a solution for everyone.
Here is a solution. A new path is needed where people have a choice if they wish not to face danger and pollution.
The Tuckett Trail
The Frome Greenway which took a turn at Snuff Mills and goes through Stoke Park Estate ended for people who wish to follow the river by any linear option to Frenchay Village or to Fishponds and Downend shopping areas so we need The Tuckett Trail to offer this second route and for it to be properly signposted. Everything except a small section of pathway and or a small bridge is in place to create a fantastic M32 cycle/ walking route/ wheelchair option. A route as flexible and as well connected as the Bristol and Bath Railway Path and the Concorde Way with three ring circuits all in place to connect in to it once it’s in place.
What’s wrong with The Tuckett Trail from Cabot Circus to Frenchay?
The Frome Valley Route through to Junction Three at Stapleton Road in Easton is generally ok but from there to Eastgate Roundabout it’s very unattractive. We now have Network Rail updating the bridge over the route to make this area of Stapleton Road more attractive but onwards and fly tipping is a daily issue and the shared path quickly becoming blocked by parked vehicles, overloaded skip bins and broken glass. This section needs checking every few days if it’s to really work. Improvements are happening agreed and they are very welcome.
Entering Eastville Park it’s good to now find the paths on the fields updated but the Frome Valley path to Wickham Bridge remains neglected and muddy and Wickham Glen seen below is a muddy & flooded route several months a year. This all needs addressing. It’s easy to fix by resurfacing the route using the same fast mix which has been used in Eastville Park itself and across pavements of Bristol.
In recent years over £50,000 has been invested updating a path from Snuff Mills to Begbrook Academy which isn’t suitable to people with prams, cyclists or wheelchair users and is already looking tired because the surface is awful. A second route has been left neglected which just needs resurfacing like the surface used at Stoke Park Estate offers a fair route for all users and connects Snuff Mills near Half Penny Bridge with Ham Lane and away from Vehicle Pollution trapped in Stapleton’s red desert cliff areas of roadway. And a new section of Path from Duchess Gate to almost Stoke Lane to help keep people away from regular collapsing rock-face on to the narrow unfit for use pavement and extremely badly trapped traffic pollution. Also at Half Penny Bridge at Snuff Mills along the River Frome is a path to Fishponds shopping area, we have already secured £104,000 for this route to be updated during summer 2017 so that is finally going to happen after several years of campaigning for an accessible option.
The Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership passed that 106/CIL agreement for works to begin in the months ahead so now we are awaiting a start date.
So, here’s our Tuckett Trail route in the 21st century and it’s never been needed more..
Standing at River View by Snuff Mills having travelled through Eastville Park and crossed over from Wickham Glen, the Frome Valley signage is now taking people up through Stoke Park Estate and onwards through UWE Frenchay Campus, (also known as The Frome Greenway). For people living in Frenchay, Hambrook, Downend, Winterbourne, Coalpit Heath, Bradley Stoke, Frampton Cottrell and Iron Acton and even parts of Stoke Gifford, the UWE route is in the wrong direction and isn’t at all attractive and it will not get people out of their cars. An amazing almost flat route offers an initial climb at Snuff Mills and then it’s almost flat and beautiful for miles.. Welcome to The Tuckett Trail.
Once people reach Begbrook Academy we need The Tuckett Trail route which split away from the Frome Greenway to enter Begbrook Green Park to connect with Sterncourt Road so that parents with prams, frail, elderly people & disabled people and bike users can all use a nice Frome Valley/Tuckett Trail without being forced on to a very narrow and dangerous Frenchay Park road with so many dangerous drivers using a community route as an alternative to the M32 and where only one side has a pavement and that it narrow. There are three options for the Tuckett Trail at Begbrook Green Park but the best is also the most affordable to implement, it’s a matter of removing a fence post, having about 400 sq metres of tarmac and a tiny section of pavement widening. Watch this short film to see how (in reverse).. ideally a bridge will one day connect the park with Sterncourt Road as well but funding is the issue for now.
Once on the Frenchay side of Begbrook Green Park, it’s all in place out to the Ring Road, we just need ‘The Tuckett Trail’ sign posted. The route connects with Beckspool Road along the most wonderful areas of Frenchay Common and Tuckett Field with Frenchay Moor then out to new crossings already in place with cycle ways and more in Hambrook. New developments on the old Frenchay Hospital site will signpost people to UWE Frenchay Campus via Filton Road, a far flatter route than the Frome Greenway which went through Stoke Park Estate or it’s even flatter along the Ring Road path to UWE and onwards to Filton areas. Real alternatives and options for people to use.
Once people reach Hambrook we need the Tuckett Trail along Old Gloucester Road to be completed out to the area of Winter Stream Farm pub/ restaurant at Hambrook Junction/ Bradley Stoke. What we have at present is a dangerous route with dangerous drivers and for over a mile there’s no pavement at all, just a well trodden path on grass verges and a sections ripped out of the grass by vehicle tyres as people jump out of the way of lorries and more.
Old Gloucester Road was a path once; later it became a path used by cars and now it’s owned by cars and people are left behind so fairness and opportunity needs to be returned by having a shared pavement alongside as the city expands and grows but connections are missing everywhere. We need cycling and walking infrastructure returned.
With these small changes brings sustainable travel options to everyone. A ring road which is the flattest way possible to connect to the centre of Bristol and all of those short journeys in-between connecting people and places. Less than a fraction of the money spent on a bus only junction in Stapleton can cover the cost of all of this and bring fairness and opportunity. We only need signs to direct people to a beautiful alternative route called The Tuckett Trail and plug five cycling/ walking and wheelchair user routes for a fairer, more accessible and an alternative system to motor vehicle travel. Walking is today saving the NHS a fortune and this walking route is missing!
It’s time help people and communities and to implement fairness for all.
The ring road already has paths, let’s see them used smarter for walking, cycling and connections.
Begbrook Green Park isn’t accessible.
Watch 30 seconds of this film to see how easy it would be to make Begbrook Green Park in to a fair route for disabled people and everyone else.. however as the the route above shows there is an affordable alternative as well.
Keep people away from falling rocks and vehicle pollution in Stapleton near Begbrook Academy. Fairer pavement.
A few routes available.. options for people and not for cars..
The Tuckett Trail from Begbrook to Wickham Glen