The overgrown ‘unsafe’ footpath on Bristol’s harbourside finally set to reopen

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Safety work will be carried out to reopen the path in Bristol for the summer

For three years the Mardyke Steps linking Cliftonwood with Hotwells has been closed - and today vegetation has taken over the pathway which was popular for walkers getting to and from Harbourside.

But there are now plans to reopen the route, also known as Church Path Steps, with Bristol City Council announcing work will start on building a temporary protective fence against a partially-collapsed wall in June, meaning it could be back in use by August.

The collapse of the section of the wall led to the closure in 2020, and this action to safeguard will be taken while a long-term solution is worked on.

The glavanised stteel palisade fencing will mean the width of the steps is reduced, and a structural surveyor will monitor the area to ensure the wall does not deteriorate any further.

If the paths become unstable, it will need to close again, the council has warned.

But the reopening will bring relief to the many residents who have had to take detours via Ambra Vale or Worlds End Lane to get to Hotwells. The reopening could also be a boost for The Mardyke pub which sits at the bottom of the steps.

Work is to finally start on reopening Church Path Steps in HotwellsWork is to finally start on reopening Church Path Steps in Hotwells
Work is to finally start on reopening Church Path Steps in Hotwells | Bristol City Council

Councillor Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, said: “I am pleased work is going ahead that will allow us to reopen the steps while we continue discussions on a permanent solution. Our ambition is to repair and stabilise the retaining wall and ultimately fully reopen the pathway. Thank you to everyone for your continued patience.”

Work will also take place to clean the double gully drainage system at the top of the steps, to prevent water overflowing down them during heavy rainfall.

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