I’m Allex, Bristol blogger and Mum to two wild boys, Alfie (5) and Wilf (3). We love spending time in the great outdoors come wind, rain or shine. In fact, since becoming a parent, I’ve found it pretty essential to give the boys time to burn off some of their seemingly endless energy! Some of my fondest memories of motherhood so far are of family walks.
During lockdown, like many others, we explored lots of new places in and around the city to take our daily exercise and keep the kids entertained. As hard as 2020 was, it did force us to discover new areas of this fantastic city. I started sharing photos and reviewing our finds and through this my Instagram blog @wanderingmamastreets was born.
I think it’s so important for children to have an appreciation of walking and the outdoors. So often now kids are sat in front of screens or are handed forms of entertainment that they lose their imaginations. Many don’t have an appreciation for nature and their surroundings and can’t enjoy the simple things in life.
There are so many stunning places to visit in and around Bristol many of which are free. I feel really lucky to live in such a vibrant and eclectic city where cheap and easy adventures are so accessible to families. One of our favourite walks is around the waterfront. The loop starting from Underfall Yard is around 5 km, so just right for little legs and most can be accessed with a scooter in tow. There are lots of essential snack spots along the way which makes it a great walk for families.
The route heads down past the SS Great Britain along the waterfront to the M Shed. My boys LOVE playing trains along the old tracks and ogling at the helicopter on the fancy Miss Conduct yacht. We then head across Prince Street Bridge along the cobbles to Pero’s Bridge and into Millennium Square. The water fountains here are often too tempting for the kids so a spare set of clothes is essential! We then snake back along the river following the tracks down to the boardwalk for some duck spotting. From here, if little legs are flagging, you can get the Bristol Ferry boat back across to the SS Great Britain or continue on along the river returning to Underfall Yard. It has a great little cafe there which looks out across the water – the boys like to watch the little sailing boats whilst enjoying a babycino as their end of walk reward.
If we’re after more of a rural ramble, Abbots Pool is our go to. A short drive from the city, hidden down a track off the A369, is a secluded oasis of calm. We discovered it during lockdown and it’s an absolute gem. There is a small free car park on site but also on-road parking for busier times. Surrounded by steep sloped woodland, a walk here makes for an easy adventure for little ones. Fallen tree bridges, a waterfall and ducks aplenty are just some of the highlights. There have been a few times when we’ve been the only ones there. The sparkling sunlight on the water with just the wildlife and trickling water to break the peace––and my noisy boys––it’s a magical place. It’s quite a short walk around the pool but there are lots of picnic spots amongst the trees, and the kids can explore the woods and water for hours. There aren’t any facilities here so coffee in a flask and snacks are a must. It is just down the road from Brackenwood Garden Centre so you could team it with a trip here if you wanted to include some lunch at the end of your walk.
Another favourite of ours is Stoke Park Estate with its striking views across the city, hills to run down and resident goats. It’s always been an easy win of an adventure for my boys. Being able to walk amongst the goats at the top of Purdown creates quite a buzz although they do get moved around so aren’t always a guarantee. It’s a perfect muddy stomp destination, which my boys adore, although the recent addition of a winding smooth path has made for a much cleaner trip. The path runs along the top of Purdown and down through Stoke Park which is great for walkers, cyclists and mini scooterists. The incredible wood carved sculptures by Andy O’Neill are dotted alongside bringing dragons, woodland creatures and giant conkers into the mix. They’re well worth a visit and make the perfect snack spot to break up the walk for little legs. At the bottom of the hill, we like to stomp through the ‘Gruffalo Wood’ to spy the hidden wood carvings amongst the bracken. It’s also famed for being awash with bluebells and wild garlic when in season. Again, there are no facilities so a flask and snacks are required.