Local writer Natalie Burns gives us a run down of her top parks, pubs and pit stops around Fishponds in East Bristol.

Snuff Mills Gardens

Snuff Mills Gardens, Credit: Destination Bristol

Fishponds isn’t necessarily the top of the list when you think of places to visit in Bristol (firstly, it's got a weird name!). However, there’s more to Fishponds than the slightly rough-round-the-edges pubs on its high street. 

Look a little closer and you’ll find beautiful walks, independent restaurants serving food from around the world, and some great farmers markets and craft fairs. The best bit is, they’ve haven’t got trendy yet, which means they don’t have the associated price tag. It also means they aren’t that well publicised either…

So have a little trust, ignore that many of the best places don’t have a snazzy website (or in some cases, a website at all) and just go and investigate on the recommendation of your humble writer...

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path

Tucked away behind the cul-de-sacs, the Railway Path is a beautiful walk or cycle route running from just behind Temple Meads in Bristol to the Pultney Bridge in Bath. The Fishponds stretch includes an old railway tunnel hidden amidst the trees, an abandoned rail station surrounded by damson trees (well laden in the summer) and long, tangled banks of blackberry bushes.

Get down there at the right time of year and you can enjoy a peaceful countryside meander without venturing too far from the city, and do some urban scrumping while you’re at it. You’ll deserve that fruit crumble after all the exercise.

Cycling in Bristol

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path, Credit: Sustrans

The Cross Hands pub

Venture to the end of Fishponds High Street, and not far beyond you’ll find The Cross Hands pub.

Like most of Fishponds, this lovely unpretentious local is easily overlooked due to it’s unassuming location at the fork between two dull-looking roads. However, the pub offers a lovely cosy atmosphere, a pub quiz, folk music, open mic, and a very fairly-priced steak night. The best bit though is its amazing Sunday roast. Booking advised!

The Cross Hands Fishponds

The Cross Hands, Credit: The Cross Hands

Snuff Mills

I discovered Snuff Mills in my first few weeks in Bristol. Having come from the countryside I found the Bristol chaos quite intimidating before discovering I could hide among the trees for a bit of peace in this little safe haven.

Part of Oldbury Court Estate, Snuff Mills is nestled away at the top of the wonderfully named Blackberry Hill. From there you can follow riverside walks past picnic areas and all the way down to Eastville Park. With lots of green space, a play area for the kids, a working water mill and lots of tree lined walkways; it’s a great day out.

Oldbury Court

Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills, Credit: Destination Bristol

Eastville park 

From numerous festivals to boating on the lake to free tennis courts, Eastville Park is a huge expanse of green space with a lot going on. Often overlooked by city centre Bristolians, this park is well worth a visit, and only a ten-minute bus ride from the centre (the 48 & 49 busses stop right at the park entrance).

You can easily while away a peaceful Saturday stretching your legs, or turn up for one of the many park festival events like Love Saves the Day, Bristol Islamic Cultural Fayre or Tokyo World. Whatever mood you’re in, and whatever is on, Eastville Park is a lovely spot.

Eastville Park

Eastville Park, Credit: Paul Box

Matter Fastfoods

What could be more Bristol than a vegan fish & chip shop? Well Fishponds is home to the city’s first. Matter Fastfoods (from the team behind Matter Wholefoods in Easton), is a fantastic chippy with a tasty ethical twist, committed to sustainability and only serving organic produce.

Pick up a tofish & chips for a very reasonable price, safe in the knowledge you won’t feel the usual greasy takeaway pangs of guilt afterwards.

Matter Fastfoods

A tofu jumbo battered sausage at Matter Fastfoods, Credit: Matter Fastfoods

B-Bees Craft & Farmers Market

Every last Saturday of the month, get yourself down to Fishponds Old Library on Fishponds High Street for B-Bees Market. Their tag-line ‘local people, local produce’ sums it all up really. The market is uniquely charming and free from the self-aware coolness (and associated cost) of the better known Bristol markets.

Local residents head to the market to sell handmade jewellery, clothes, fresh farm produce, plants they’ve grown on their allotments (they’re happy to give you gardening advice) and art. 

B-Bee's Craft and Farmers Market

B-Bees Craft & Farmers Market, Credit: B-Bees Craft & Farmers Market

The Food Assembly

It’s a market, but with a difference. Committed to helping local producers and to building a sense of community while still being convenient for the shopper, the Food Assembly uniquely combines traditional and modern shopping habits. You can order your tasty treats online, and then to pop to the market to collect.  

Once at the market, you can chat to the local bakers, butchers and farmers who produced your delicious snacks. It’s the convenience of online shopping, but without being antisocial or buying from a soulless supermarket. The Food Assembly is simple, social, and wonderfully convenient - and it helps local producers who bring only what they know they will sell, so there’s no waste. What’s better than that? 

The Food Assembly

Meeting local suppliers at The Food Assembly, Credit: The Food Assembly

About the author:
Natalie Burns was originally a Lincolnshire lass, until Bristol stole her heart 10 years ago. She works as a UX consultant by day, and a writer and freelance journalist in her spare time. She is director of local not-for-profit storytelling event Small Stories, which aims to raise awareness for local Bristol charities, and blogs at knowledgeporridge.co.uk

Fishponds guide

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