Story: Sharon Stiles

Home Bristol Walkfest News Story: Sharon Stiles

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a hypnotist and video editor. In 2020 I started my lockdown love affair with Bristol. I have lived here all my life so I should know the city really well but in recent years my hobbies have taken me outside the city in my spare time and so Bristol simply became somewhere I lived.

That changed in lockdown when I went out walking every day and rediscovered old haunts and explored many streets I had never walked along and green spaces I had never visited. 

Photography has always been one of my hobbies and combining that with walking is a perfect combination for me. I usually use a digital SLR but on most of my Bristol walks I use my phone as it’s always with me.

Tell us about your preferred Bristol walking route and why you love it so much. How long have you been walking there?

I’m in my third year of going for a walk every day, mostly around central Bristol as that is where I live and work. With so much variety within walking distance it’s difficult to choose a favourite walk as there is something special in every direction. If pressed to choose, I think it would be going through some of the former burial grounds which combines lovely old architecture with calming green spaces.

Another favourite is simply wandering around some of the residential side streets that have front gardens. You see the flowers change through the seasons and can really appreciate  the variety of plants. Even on a cold dull winter‘s day there will be something to brighten up my walk.

Some of the places on the walks I remember from my childhood and others are new discoveries from the last three years.

Do you walk alone or with company? Who normally accompanies you on your walks?

My phone is my regular companion on my walks! It has taken a lot of photos for me over the last 3 years. The GPS apps and maps on it are really helpful in getting back on the right route when I get lost.

How do you feel when you’re out for a walk?

I find walking helps me to switch off for a while and relax. The surroundings have also inspired some of my hypnotherapy recordings to help other people relax. The nice thing about taking photos on my walks is that I am looking for the beauty around me to record an enjoyable time. I post my photos on Facebook as a reminder of my day. I get the benefit of spending time relaxing, physical activity and seeing both natural and manmade beauty and every year after I get the additional benefit of that happy memory appearing on Facebook.

Have you experienced any health benefits from walking?

Walking in Bristol with all its hills is definitely a good way to keep fit and for me, being outside helps me feel connected with the world. 

A lot of my hypnotherapy clients are affected by anxiety so I always encourage them to do something similar to me  – even if they don’t do it every day – as there are multiple studies that show the benefits of walking and paying attention to what’s around you, especially if it is in natural surroundings.

Do you have any particular kit you take with you when you’re walking? If so, what do you take and why?

Most of the time I wear my favourite pair of boots.  You really can’t beat a good pair of comfortable, waterproof boots!  And of course my phone.

What tips would you give anyone thinking of getting into walking?

You don’t need to go in search of exotic locations. In Bristol we have lovely green spaces, beautiful buildings, brilliant street art and so many beautiful front gardens!  

You don’t need to go for miles and miles. Just start off by going round the block or to the local park. If you want to take photos while you walk you don’t need an expensive camera, just a simple camera phone can capture happy memories.

Anything else you would like to mention? 

I’ve published some of my walks on the Go Jauntly app. Just search for:

  • 6 Bristol Resting Paces
  • Redcliffe – Victoria Park
  • Inner Suburbs Green
  • Cabot Circus to Trinity Church
  • Montpelier Station Loop 


Thu 25 May 2023
Last Updated
Tue 23 May 2023