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Clifton Suspension Bridge


Suspension Bridge - Clifton Down - Clifton College - Bristol Zoo - Sea Walls - Blackboy Hill


8.8 km


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Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. Brunel entered a competition to build the bridge, pitted against other master engineers such as Thomas Telford. The competition was held in 1829 and was judged by Thomas Telford. Telford rejected all the designs and put his forward which proved very unpopular. The subsequent competition was held in 1830 and Brunel was victorious. Since opening it has been a toll bridge. Although, for now, pedestrians may cross for free. The visitor centre, which is also free, is on the opposite side and well worth a visit. The centre is run by volunteers who donate their time and knowledge generously. Donations are gratefully accepted.

The Bridge’s construction began in 1831 but work was delayed due to a lack of money. Rioting in Bristol, caused by the arrival of the anti-reform judge Charles Wetherell in the city on 29 October 1831, led investors to lose confidence in the project resulting in work on the Bridge stopping for four years. Brunel was understandably very attached to this project and in 1835 construction recommenced.

Walk from Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol to Whiteladies Road and to the city centre

The bridge, which is seven hundred feet across and two hundred and eighty-seven feet high, ran into trouble when funds dried up in 1843 and work stopped for twenty years. Work recommenced in 1862 and was completed in 1864 when it was first opened to the public. Unfortunately for Brunel, he never saw the bridge completed as he died three years before completion, in September 1859 …

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