Bristol's Underfall Yard re-opens its gates to the public a year after the fire

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The first stage of the recovery and reinstatement on site has been completed and the public walkway is now open and safe to use

Following a fire in May 2023, the Underfall Yard has re-opened its gates to the public.

The devastating fire damaged five historic buildings and destroyed six boats.

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Where possible, the boatyard remained opened to its business since the fire with alternative workshop space being provided to yard businesses were available. The Visitor Centre and café also remained open to the public.

The first stage of the recovery and reinstatement on site has now been completed and contractors have cleared the damage caused by the fire and completed necessary structural work across the three buildings most severely affected – the Big Shed and two workshops. Whilst barriers remain along the line of damaged buildings, the walkway has been opened to the public and is safe to use.

Three buildings have had structural support work completed. 
This view shows support to the back of the Big Shed. Credit: Distinctive CommunicationsThree buildings have had structural support work completed. 
This view shows support to the back of the Big Shed. Credit: Distinctive Communications
Three buildings have had structural support work completed.  This view shows support to the back of the Big Shed. Credit: Distinctive Communications | Distinctive Communications

Gates will open between 9am and 4.30pm and will close if hazardous works are taking place such as a boat being slipped or the Harbour Master team carrying out essential operations. For the latest updates on opening time, visit: www.underfallyard.co.uk.

Sarah Murray, Director at Underfall Yard, shared: “It feels like we have our character back. Whilst it may have appeared shut, work has continued without halt behind closed doors and we have been making plans to re-build with a renewed sense for the future. Opening up the Underfall Yard section of the Harbourside Walk and welcoming the public back in is a huge milestone on our journey to recovery.

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“Now that the walkway is open, we’re looking forward to even more people popping in, taking a look at what’s going on in the yard, or simply stopping for a coffee on their trip around the harbour. We have a long road ahead, but this is a real step in the right direction, and we look forward to welcoming more of the public and yard businesses back.”

The Big Shed before the devastating fire. Underfall Yard Trust is committed to reinstating the damaged buildings. Credit: Distinctive CommunicationsThe Big Shed before the devastating fire. Underfall Yard Trust is committed to reinstating the damaged buildings. Credit: Distinctive Communications
The Big Shed before the devastating fire. Underfall Yard Trust is committed to reinstating the damaged buildings. Credit: Distinctive Communications | Distinctive Communications

One of the yard businesses is the award-winning boat building company, Star Yachts. Will Raffety, Director of Star Yachts, said: “Underfall Yard has been through a traumatic year, and we are pleased to be part of its road to recovery. The Trust have supported us at every stage and helped us to continue working as much as possible under very difficult circumstances. I thank them for their efforts and look forward to the future.”

The Underfall Yard Trust is raising money as part of the reinstatement project. You can donate on their Just Giving page, get in touch on [email protected] , or support by buying a coffee at the café, where proceeds are directed back into the charity.

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