Man completes epic 2,000 mile walk of Bristol - visiting every street in the city

‘I’m sure I’m the star of thousands of video doorbells’

A man has completed a mission to walk every street in his home city - covering over 4,000 roads and nearly 2,000 miles. Simon Kosciow, 55, took on the epic adventure of wandering all 4,669 streets in Bristol- in just 51 weeks.

The night shift worker managed to walk every street in the city during his weekends off work - walking a staggering total of 1,941.87 miles.

Simon, who has lived in Bristol his whole life, is no stranger to walking challenges and decided to call this particular venture his ‘A to Z challenge’.

The father-of-one said: “I have walked Bristol for years, but over lockdown decided to set myself one challenge where I would pick a street to walk, beginning from a, b, c and so forth until I got to z.

“I would like to apologise for all the porch lights I set off and I’m sure I’m the star of thousands of video doorbells.”

Simon Kosciow, 55, took on the epic adventure of wandering all 4669 streets in Bristol- in just 51 weeks

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Due to the nature of his job, the determined walker would even start as early as three in the morning to fit in his walks, and his only companions were a pair of Ribena, Strava and an Ordnance Survey map app.

He said: “A lot of the time, when my daughter didn’t join me, it was just me and the streets! Just enjoying the scenes.”

The growing global trend of ‘every-single-streeters’ dates back to almost a decade ago, when James Chevalier founded CityStrides in 2013.

It was designed as a way to track his own progress, as he ran along every single street in his city.

After Chevalier and others publicised their journeys, people followed in their footsteps, and lockdown only increased the appetite for a new kind of adventure.

The cul-de-sacs increased Mr Kosciow’s mileage, as once he walked to the end, he had no choice but to walk back again.

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Simon described his particular experience whilst in St Annes - he even had to explain what he was doing to concerned strangers who assumed he must be lost.

The map which Simon Kosciow used to record all the streets he had walked in Bristol.

What may seem like a tedious task was particularly satisfying for Simon because he quickly bumped up street numbers while in labyrinth-like estates full of tiny streets.

Simon set up the challenge as an extension of the long city walks he had already achieved with his daughter over lockdown.

From travelling north to south (Severn Beach to Whitchurch) and east to north (Fishponds to Avonmouth), Simon was still eager to broaden his horizons.

He explained: “I walked silly things like every sports ground in Bristol, cricket ground, all the seven towers etc.

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“I love challenges, but was running out of ideas on what to do - and I have always said I’ve wanted to walk the streets in Bristol but didn’t know how to.”

A friend of Simon’s then introduced him to Strava, and it seemed that was the only catalyst he needed to finally completing the challenge.

He started in September 2021, first venturing out to six or seven streets at a time, but eventually covering impressive distances, which could be anything from four miles to over 20 miles.

The most he walked in a day was 25 miles, and after every day of wandering he would mark off the streets he had achieved that day on his A to Z and the giant map of Bristol he kept on his wall at home using the information from his apps.

Street art in Bristol - one of the sights Simon Kosciow took in while walking around the city

When he was around 30 minutes away from finishing the streets marked out for that day, he would call his wife who would give him a lift home after a hard day’s walk.

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The Bristolian urban explorerhas a whole Facebook group dedicated to his travels through the city, called ‘Bristol Urban Walks’, which he posted images and videos in everyday detailing his most recent journey travelled.

Simon revealed that the experience made him adore his city even more and despite being out at odd hours, people were always helpful and he did not have any “trouble”.

He said: “There’s lovely people around who helped me wherever I was going.

“It was boiling hot one day in Bedminster and I ran out of drink.

“I explained to someone what I was doing and they went to their kitchen to get me some cold water. I never had any trouble, everyone was amazing.”

In terms of which street was Simon’s favourite - he said Henleaze Gardens was “just lovely.”

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He explained: “I loved all the artwork, the statues and the people watching, but my favourite street was Henleaze Gardens.

“I just adored the old fashioned lampposts - there is so much beauty in Bristol.

“I loved Clifton because I was born there - it holds a special place in my heart.

“The old churches, landmarks, history, it’s just fascinating.”

He also described the artwork and impressive murals in Bedminster, St Paul’s and St Agnes as “truly beautiful”.

On Saturday September 10, almost a year after starting his challenge, Simon completed his final walk covering four miles from Portway to Alma Vale - the street he was born on in 1966.

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He said: “It gives it a lovely cyclical ending to my Bristol adventure.”

While he will take some time to “rest his calves” for now, pleased with the stone of weight he has lost after a year of street walking, Simon is contemplating taking on the suburbs after a period of recharging.

He said: “I’m thinking of completing the suburbs attached to Bristol - Filton, Downend - just to see if I can make the map a bit bigger!

“I did lose a stone, but I’ve been putting it back on too!”

Whilst Simon was walking the streets, he picked up all the money he found along the way and put it all into a jar - which he will be donating to St Peter’s Hospice.

If you would like to discover more about Simon’s Bristol Urban Walks, check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/148811473804514