The Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened in 1864 and was built to a design by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw; it is based on an earlier design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is a Grade I listed building and forms part of the B3129 road and is named after the nearby area of Clifton. 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the bridge and will be marked by a massive fireworks display attended by around 100,000 people. On average 12,000 cars cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge every day. This is truly remarkable considering the structure was original designed for pedestrians and horse drawn carriages. Original plans to build a bridge across the Avon Gorge date back to 1753 with designs drawn up to build it from Stone and later, Wrought Iron. In 1831 an attempt to build Isambard’s design was halted by the Bristol Riots when violent disputes broke out relating to an Act levying of tolls. A revised structure of his design was built after his death in 1859 and finally completed in 1864.
Brunel was one of the greatest engineers of all times, who not only built bridges but at the age of 19 was the resident engineer in charge of the ‘Thames Tunnel’. He also became the engineer for the ‘Great Western Railway’ and is the man behind the ‘Great Western’ which was the first Steamship designed for regular Atlantic crossings.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge was one of the most ambitious projects of its kind and set the blueprint for the construction and design of other bridges all over the world.
The Bridge is like the story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, on one side it is a place of magnificence and awe but on the other it holds a much darker history.
Two men were killed whilst the Bridge was in construction and since it opened in 1864 many troubled soles have taken their own lives, it is now known as a ‘suicide bridge’ and Plaques have been erected advertising the telephone number of The Samaritans and anti-climb barriers have been installed to try to prevent people jumping to their death. One statistic claims that around 400 people have jumped or fallen from the Clifton Suspension bridge. It’s not surprising then that structure and the gorge below are both said to be haunted.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Mendip Heights, Townsend Lane, Priddy Wells
Somerset, England, BA5 3BP
+44 (0)1749 870 241
- Address: Bridge Rd, Bristol, Greater Bristol, England, United Kingdom, BS8 3PA
- GPS: 51.455,-2.627752778
- Phone: 0044 (0) 117 974 4664
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: BS8 3PA
- Entrance Fees: There is a charge (toll) for vehicles to cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge
- Disabled Access: Excellent - Pavement from car parking
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: stocker1970