clifton rock slide


The Cifton rock slide is something of a local institution, not covered in any guide book, and only fairly recently written up online. Situated just below the path that leads to the Camera Obscura, and with a wonderful view of the Suspension Bridge, the Clifton rock slide (aka the slippery rocks, the slidey rocks) is a strip of rock, polished to glassy loveliness by the many thousands of Bristolian bottoms that have sped along its length over the years. If you want to see the rock slide in action and better still, its exact location in relation to the bridge, click on this link and watch the two videos (neither of which is mine).

Although I grew up in London, rather than Bristol, I used to visit friends here, and we would usually spend an afternoon or two clambering up, and then sliding down, this part of the Avon Gorge. It pleases me to think that my bottom has played its part in maintaining one of Bristol’s lesser-known treasures. And I am glad to say that my children, and all their friends who come to stay with us, are encouraged to do their part to preserve the slippery rocks for the next generation.

Now, although the rock slide clearly proves the old adage that the best things in life are free, it would be wrong to write up the rock slide with no more than a passing reference to the Camera Obscura and the Giant’s Cave, both of which are very near by. The Cave is just £1.50 for adults and 50p for children and is gratifyingly terrifying. Whether or not you have a head for heights, standing on a tiny, wrought iron balcony in the middle of a cliff face is a thrilling if not entirely comfortable experience. As for the Camera Obscura, the key is to time your visit so that there aren’t too many people around, that way you can take your time and really examine the scene that springs to life before you.

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