The Downs (Bristol)

Infobox park
park=The Downs

image size=275px
caption=This tower on the Downs conceals a ventilation shaft for the railway tunnel below
type=public park
location=Bristol, England
coordinates=N51:28 W2:37
size=400 acre
annual visitors=
status=open all year
Bristol mapbox
caption=The Downs shown within Bristol and the UK

The Downs are an area of public open limestone downland in Bristol, England. They consist of Durdham Down to the northeast, and the generally more picturesque and visited Clifton Down to the southwest.

The Downs owe their existence (in what would otherwise have been a prime housing location) to their having been protected in earlier centuries by the Merchant Venturers (a powerful business guild in the city), and now an Act of Parliament. In the past they have been used for farming and quarrying; their use now is leisure, walking, team sports and sightseeing (especially at the Avon Gorge cliff edge). There are also temporary attractions on the Downs, such as circuses and the annual Bristol Flower Show.

A railway tunnel, Clifton Down Tunnel, passes underneath the Downs on the line from Temple Meads to Severn Beach. One portal is in Clifton near Clifton Down railway station; the other in the Avon Gorge far below Durdham Down. There are three air shafts for the tunnel: two in vertical tower form (near the zoo, and in Walcombe Slade gulley) with the third being a horizontal tunnel on the Portway.

A grey concrete water tower of 1954 stands on the Downs near the top of Blackboy Hill, with a long, low, covered reservoir alongside it.

In 1982, 6,000 people asscended onto The Downs, in response of a local newspaper advertisement. Advertisement was place by the makers/producers of the new breakfast television show. The show in question is TV-am. The 6,000 people were used to make the words 'Good', 'Morning' and 'Britain'. This was to be used for the opening titles of the TV-am show, of the same name. It took 2 hours to get the people into place, and another 2 hours to shoot!

Part of Bristol Downs is used by gay men as a cruising ground. In 2008, the Bristol Evening Post newspaper reported that Bristol City Council's gay & lesbian advisory group had objected to removal of vegetation as part of the Avon Gorge Management Plan, on the grounds that this was discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. [ [ Concern over scrub clearance work] "BBC News" 8 July 2008 (accessed 11 July 2008)] [ [ Bristol gay row over Downs plan] "Bristol Evening Post" 7 July 2008 (accessed 7 July 2008)] . Bristol City counsel later apologised for wrongly attributing the comments to the rainbow LGBT advisory group, which was extensively used by the press to discredit the reputation and valuable input of this professional group.POV-statement|date=September 2008 []


External links

* [ Bristol City Council page on the Downs]
* [ Photographs of the Downs air vents]
*cite web | title=Downs Management Plan 2006 | work=Bristol City Council | url= | accessdate=2007-05-03
* [ Map of The Downs circa 1990]


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