The Tuckett Trail from Winterbourne Medieval Barn to Snuff Mills and onwards to Bristol Harbourside.

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 near 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 where he walked in the world’s highest mountain ranges.  Now in 2021, routes for walking and cycling and fairness for wheelchair users have 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 connect up a number of super cycleways and walking rights of way in 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 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 same booklet.

Cabot Circus to Wickham Glen near Snuff Mills

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 and it’s lovely for trail walkers who like to escape city life; however it’s not at all lovely for everyone else, especially for five months of every year who need to get to school, to university and to work or to shops and to 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 parallel to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path but a mile apart 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 and 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 brushed away; this is a city, we’re not the middle of Snowdonia or Dartmoor so to entice people out of cars we need a proper alternative route.  We need our route to be accessible, attractive and a real alternative to creating and breathing in air pollution.  The Tucket Trail is an ‘already in place’ historic and well documented route and it needs updating with minimal spend so that it meets the needs and demands of the city and is attractive for all parkland 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.

From Snuff Mills area, when leaving Wickham Glen, the Frome Greenway then climbs a sheepish Broom Hill which is a struggle for wheelchair users and then goes in to Stoke Park Estate which disabled people can’t usually access either, then up another but far steeper 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 instead we need The Tuckett Trail for people who do not need a route to UWE and instead a route for people who need a very flat alternative route to Frenchay, Hambrook, Downend, Winterbourne and Bradley Stoke. We need The Tuckett Trail and it’s very easy to implement it all.

The Tuckett Trail

The Frome Greenway from Cabot Circus which takes a turn before Snuff Mills and goes up and through Stoke Park Estate suddenly ends for people who wish to follow the River Frome by any linear option to Frenchay Village or to Fishponds and Downend shopping areas and to Winterbourne so we need The Tuckett Trail to offer this missing route and for it to be properly signposted.  

What’s needed to connect Wickham Glen with Begbrook Green Park?
Thanks to 106/CIL money we now have the long awaited new shared path between Stoke Park Estate and UWE Glenside Campus in Stapleton so the new crossing from Wickham Glen to River View in Snuff Mills is finally in place. We need The Tuckett Trail signposted in to River View, then past the beautiful award winning Snuff Mills gardens and and onwards to Halfpenny Bridge, then the path up to Sheldrake Drive needs resurfacing so it’s accessible to wheelchair users, bikes and scooters, (a short music picture film below shows the route needed in reverse). A new walking path is already renewed but with the wrong surface so it’s muddy and slushy (pic 1 below). We have recently had a new £103,000 106/CIL tarmac surface up to College Road in Fishponds from Halfpenny Bridge.

Pic 1 Below shows the 2014 £50,000 path that isn’t accessible but better than what was there.

Pic2 below shows the right surface used and accessible for all up to Fishponds which cost £103,000.

Below in the route which we need resurfaced. After River View the route is now updated in Wickham Glen.

There is also a second change needed to reach Sheldrake Drive and this is from Stoke Park Estate itself with a new behind clifftop path to avoid Frenchay Park Road. Below shows a regular issue with the pavement route.
How long before someone is killed?

Below shows a solution to the above path to keep people safe. NHS owns this part of Stoke Park Estate.

From Sheldrake Drive the connection is with Begbrook Green Park. A new bridge is need however a route around can be cheaper. Both are good option.

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A new bridge here is ideal but the below is the alternative and is nearly all in place with minula investment.

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 super cycling highways connecting in and already all in place.


Frenchay area

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.