Hotwells Voices

Since 2010 we have been asking local people what they want to see happen in this space and the three top priorities have been greening, art and facilities and activities for kids, families and especially teenagers.

Our programme has continued in 2019 with legacy funding from Ray Smith, who instigated changes to the piazza in partnership with his daughter, Zoe, a landscape designer and artist Anna Haydock-Wilson, who manages the piazza projects.

New mobile planters for Hotwell Road railings & sociable bench planters

We designed & commissioned Bristol Wood Recycling Project to make 10 mobile planters for the Hotwells Road ‘entrance. Planted by locals at the Community Gardening day on 19th May, these are now flourishing with pollution absorbing pollinators which should flower year round.

Modular bench planters were also designed and built with BWRP and installed in September. We had help from locals to plant them. Six year old Bori loves gardening and she did most of the work.

New Artworks

In June Luke Palmer fulfilled his long held ambition to paint his beautiful view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, for which we are all very grateful!

In September Anna devised an engagement activity with Amy Hutchings to coordinate with the BOB 170 celebrations. This giant game of scrabbled involved over 50 passers by of all ages who were invited to contribute positive words about Hotwells. This initiative was in response to some really unpleasant tagging that had recently occurred and negative words being slung around the world more widely.

Friends of Hotwells Piazza

We are developing a ‘Friends of’ group to help with the maintenance and develop future plans for the site. We’re looking for people who like gardening, especially communally, people who are interested in urban greening and re-wilding, artists, community sports coaches and anyone else with ideas of improving the largest public open space in Hotwells. We have a facebook group if you would like to get involved. We are proud that the flora on the piazza needs so little maintenance and delighted to announce that we have only had to water the plants a handful of times this year and only once emptied out rain water butt.

Looking forward to 2020

Plans for the year ahead will focus on keeping the piazza as climate friendly as possible and reaching out to the community with events and activities. We’re partnering with some local UWE art students who are part of the Climate Research Group to celebrate Earth Day at the end of April. We’d like to build a sculpture, some planters and some seating from ‘eco-bricks’ and experiment with other re-use ideas

All piazza work is funded by HCCA via the council’s Neighbourhood Partnership programme, the DCLG, private donations and funding for arts. Over the years and with huge amounts of volunteers’ time we have been able to plant trees, create new planters and planted areas, paint the pillars, commission murals by Bristol artists, make a skate spot and some play sculptures and organise events for the Peaceful Portway, the West Bristol Arts Trail and recently 170 years celebration of Brunel’s Other Bridge.
Massive thanks to all the volunteers and artists who have helped garden and paint over the years, to Ray Smith for his legacy money which is supporting the works this year and to Zoe Smith for her landscape design and sustainable planting support.

Summer is here! What’s new on the Piazza?

 

We are delighted to have a beautiful new painting by artist and founder of Collaborative Painting UK, Luke Palmer, aka Acerone. Funded by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, Luke painted this stunner in less than two days. Martin Booth, a journalist for Bristol 24/7 happened along while Luke was painting and wrote this article.

Aisiatic lily 2019

Art under the Flyover Facebook page has changed to Friends of Hotwells Piazza & Art under the Flyover. We’re really keen to get more people involved in helping make the piazza more of a community space and while Hotwells’ largest open public space is officially called Cumberland Piazza, not many locals relate to that name. It’s lovely the way people passing by appreciate all the work we’ve been doing, but it would be even more lovely to have a bit of help. Our next Community Gardening Day is Monday 15th July 2-6pm only a couple of days before we get judged by the Royal Horticultural Society South West in Bloom team. If you have ideas or expertise to share, it’s a great opportunity to have your say!

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HCCA has also commissioned Bristol Wood Recycling Project to build some new planters co-designed with Anna Haydock-Wilson which locals helped us fill in our last community gardening day on May 19th and Alex from LiveGraft has been back on site to help us with some more greening of the Piazza.

Sadly, in early May, weed-killer was sprayed all over the Piazza, destroying nearly £2000 worth of plants and labour. The sedum beds and chinese poppies were about to burst into flower but were almost completely destroyed along with several hebes, ferns, heuchera and others. We have had to put energy and resources into restoring the beds and we have once again requested that the council does not use weed killer on the Piazza. With climate change causing ever extreme weather around the globe we need as much carbon absorption and as many pollinators as possible.

On that note, we’re in for a prolonged spell without rain and we were unable to expand out rain water harvesting capacity during an extremely wet June as someone had dumped a motorbike in front of the water butt and store-room. Can you help? Waste water is welcome- it can be as little as encouraging kids to water the planters using their water bottle on the way home from school or a more regular offer. Contact Anna by email if you’re able to bring water to site in times of low rainfall.

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7/8th September- Brunel’s Other Bridge group are hosting activities in the Cumberland Basin to demonstrate our local heritage and amazing engineering. Over that weekend we’ll provide some arts activities on the Piazza for everyone to join in

New trees and new ideas for 2019

new trees

Former fountain with spring growth along original tile pattern

The council have planted a few more trees and HCCA have agreed plans and budget for more planters and benches. To help us with more designs and ideas for helping the space to thrive we’re setting up a Friends of the Hotwells Piazza group so that we can bring together locals, artists, skaters, gardeners, historians, environmentalists, women who love parkour and anyone else who fancies a natter and some tea and cake.

women love parkour

Last year we added sedum beds, a fern garden and a couple of rockeries by taking up the old Sun Ray tiles designed by Sylvia Crowe and we’ll continue to plant into the cracks to create more green areas on the site. For more details visit HCCA community projects

planting ferns

Sadly some places are bare and boring and close to the roads, so for these we’re adding new planters. We’ve been designing some that can be moved around and we’re also designing some ‘sociable seating’ with hexagonal planters in sunny spaces looking out to the lock gates and the river.

site for new planters

We have plans for the former children’s play area too. The concrete blocks will move so they work better for children, trial bikers and the kinds of kids who like to experiment with their scooter.

tagged with rabbits

As well as re-painting the floor games and marking route ways and play lines we’re hoping to commission more street art before the rabbits take over!

rosemary flowering

West Bristol Arts Trail 2018- Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

West Bristol Arts Trail is a lovely community event, attracting thousands of visitors to Hotwells& Cliftonwood over the weekend. The weather is usually kind to all those traipsing the streets (and lanes) of our community and the artwork rarely disappoints! 

collaborative painting design

Designed by Luke Palmer and painted by him, Kwase and Anna

At the Cumberland Piazza we have nothing to sell, only an invitation to wander round and look at our eclectic mix of street art, mural paintings and planted areas. This community led regeneration project was instigated by the late, great Ray Smith of Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association who invited Anna Haydock-Wilson to get involved in 2010 to see if arts could play a role in changing the site from a grey, empty, underused and vandalised space into a vibrant community space. It is a work in progress, but thanks to all the members of the community, artists, architects and landscapers we’ve had working with us, things have changed dramatically over the past few years.

This weekend you’ll be able to see the work of

  • The local community, who painted the pillars in tonal colours and help with community gardening days
  • Dave Bain who designed and painted the ‘hidden forest’ 
  • Amy Hutchings who created the Herons and the Hotwells Primary Mural and Women of Hotwells and Cliftonwood
  • Hotwells Primary and other local children who’s art work Amy beautifully transcribed
  • HCCA and Art within the Cracks who commissioned and collaborated with Amy 
  • Luke and Paris who have provided the piazza which some epic street art and patiently repainted over several bouts of tagging in increasingly inventive ways
  • Luke Carnaby and Thomas Sale who created a Pocket Park with play sculptures in collaboration with Anna and HCCA 

Anna will be around on Saturday and Sunday 3-5pm to talk about the project and help you make some ‘art’. Did you bring too many beach stones or shells back from holiday this summer?

shellsIf they’re not decorating your garden please bring them along and place them in our railings rockery. We can’t literally have silver bells to go with our cockle shells, but we will be experimenting on sunday, tying old keys to the railings to see what sounds they make.

If you have any ideas for more Art under the flyover, please come down at the weekend or email anna@artwithinthecracks.org

Water and Wheelie Bin Bob, artwork by Hotwells children & celebrating Hotwells women

What an arid month it’s been! Our rain butt on the Piazza ran dry a couple of weeks ago and the lovely team at the Rose of Denmark, who came to our rescue in some dry weeks last year, were not able to help since the pub sadly closed last month. You may have spotted Wheelie Bin Bob transporting water to the Piazza for desperate plants, many thanks to him and others who may have overloaded bicycles with containers.

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Our aspirations for creating green space that responds to changes in our climate lost out to the responsibility we felt to existing trees and flora, particularly the catalpa and dog wood shrubs we planted in memory of Ray last year, and we have hired a standpipe for the next four weeks from Bristol Water. It’s bound to rain now!

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Amy Hutchings, who painted the lovely Herons and the Charles Place Playpark mural has been working with Hotwells Primary after school club (ELASC). The children have produced some beautiful drawings that Amy has copied onto the wall and invited them to come and progress the mural with stamps of flowers, grass, waves and worms. The mural is funded by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association as part of Ray Smith’s legacy.

 

 

 

To extend the mural along the whole wall, Amy and Anna have selected Dinah Black, a freed slave, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelly, Ellen Craft, Eliza Walker Dunbar, Angela Carter and Sylvia Crowe to highlight what amazing women who’ve lived, passed through or improved the lives of people in Hotwells & Cliftonwood over the centuries. The idea was inspired by Jane Duffus’s Women Who Built Bristol and Bristol Women’s Voice, who published and are selling the book. Anna has also contributed some funding from Art within the Cracks of Women’s Lives. Amy will finish the mural over the next week or so- heat hasn’t helped progress. Let’s hope the taggers leave this one alone.

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The murals will be complete over the next week or so- heat hasn’t helped progress. Let’s hope the taggers leave this one alone.

Massive thanks are due to Carmel and Barbara who have been litter picking all around the area for the past month or so. They’ll be sharing news with us soon.

If you’d like to join in with projects at the Cumberland Piazza or in Hotwells and Cliftonwood generally, or receive monthly local new bulletins, please email admin@hotwellscliftonwood.org.uk

 

Winter 2018

The Piazza has seen some vandalism this winter with an increase in tagging and areas around trees with mosses, seedums and succulents, wild flower seeds and spring bulbs cleared and the debris dumped around the tree trunks.

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In the short term we have painted over the tagging, artists have re-painted their work, we are applying anti-graffiti coating and we have cleared around the tree trunks to preserve the trees. We are waiting to hear from Bristol Waste about a proper clean of hard surfaces on the site that are gritty and slippy.

During 2018 we will be working with artists to design and paint artworks with young people cover all the tagged surfaces on the site and we will coat these to prevent future tagging. We’ve thought about a ‘tagging wall’ which might work for local teenagers, but we believe the taggers are probably in their twenties and not local.

This year we will also be producing some landscape plans and we’ll continue to ‘green’ the site. We’ll have a spring community gardening day- details to be confirmed.

Please ‘like’ our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ArtUndertheFlyover/

Autumn Activity

September was very colourful at the Cumberland Piazza with a wide array of plants and people gracing the scene.

heron painting

Amy Hutchings painted some beautiful bird life with her three herons mural

piazza with portway

The Peaceful Portway event brought thousands of people through the site and some of them stopped to dance and learn from LiveGraft how to plant moss on concrete as part of our site greening programme.

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And we have added three interpretation panels telling the stories of the site from the beginning of the 20th century

interpretation panel

The West Bristol Art Trail is coming up on 14th & 15th of October and we’d love you to come down and see what we’ve done so far and help us plan for the future. On Saturday 14th from 12-4pm you can talk to some of the artists, write or draw your ideas for new enhancements and add to the colourful array by planting a seed or two of your own.

All materials will be provided and everything is free of charge. Please contact annahaydockwilson@icloud.com to find out more.

Peaceful Portway 2017 17th September 2-6pm

We’re delighted to announce that the Peaceful Portway event for September 17th this year is shaping up to be a wonderful occasion!

Art under the Flyover and HCCA are hosting a fantastic workshop free for all at the Cumberland Piazza we have Alex Patience from Live Graft on how to encourage plants to grow on tarmac and concrete and some live graffiti to enjoy.

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New this year is the Brigstowe Village Band, who will entertain with singing and dancing at the Cumberland Piazza in Hotwells and invite you all to join in.

The Gurt Lush and Bristol MAN Chorus choirs are returning to sing and the Avanti String Quartet will once again fill the ‘Gallery’ under the Clifton Suspension Bridge with beautiful sounds.

The Rotary Club of Bristol are back and busy organising community activities and sharing the projects they support at the Sea Mills end of the road.

Weather permitting hot air balloons will rise out of the galley, some tethered for organised rides and others taking off on their journeys on the wind- a spectacular sight awaits us!

Bristol Festival of Cycling will be bringing their Carnivelo to join us too with demonstrations and workshops from BMX guru, Matti Hemmings, Cargo Bike games, ‘Spicycle’ providing vegan food, Bike Zebo with a stall and bike parking, and Lyons Davidson will have a  stand with information and giveaways.

Adult peregrine falcon (Helen Hall Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project)

We also welcome a friendship walk with the City of Sanctuary, a fantastic nature and history trail created by the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project with performers and story-tellers revealing the secrets of the gorge and tales of boats, goats, peregrines and tides.

The Climbing Academy will be with us enjoying the rare opportunity to climb in this unique landscape free of the rumble and roar of traffic.

Groundwork, the Avon Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and Bristol Water are all back to share their projects and local schools will get the kids out for fun-runs and bike rides.

Avon Gorge early evening (Phil Jearey) (1)

Even with all of that and more going on there’s still miles of peaceful Avon Gorge and River to enjoy, so put the date in your diary, 17th September 2017 2-6pm! Visit the Peaceful Portway our events page for more details. We will be adding more, so check before the day.

The Portway is fully accessible and safe for all users 

To get involved contact peacefulportway@gmail.com

We rely on volunteers to make this free event happen, so we welcome all the support you can give. To donate quickly and easily please click below

This event is also perfect for photographers, artists and Instagrammers- come down and share your pictures!

Sustainable Growth- Street Art and seedums

At the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association we’re really keen on sustainability, whether it applies to growing our community through events and activities or growing food and flowers- AKA Carbon Absorbers or Pollinators.

On the Piazza this spring we’ve had several community gardening days and we’d like to thank all our amazing volunteers who have cleared, weeded, planted, mulched, watered and shared ideas. We have been entered into Bristol in Boom 2017 and we will be visited by their area judge on the 19th July, giving us a little incentive to get our planters looking really good.

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We’ve also been given a gift by a collective of super talented and world renowned street artists who have created a vision inspired by the local environment.

And more gifts of plants by Piazza friends, John and the Rownham Mead Waterfront Garden team have donated cannas- we still don’t know who planted the incredible poppies!

Water has been an issue this spring with a couple of spells of hot dry weather coinciding with vandalism of our rain water butts. We are keen to sustain the planting on the Piazza with rainwater and have been experimenting with what plants survive and thrive in very dry conditions- seedums, lavender and gladioli seem to like the really dry, hot weather. For us this important as we face the threat of climate change impacts and want to explore how we can adapt.

To find out more, get in touch or come along on for the Peaceful Portway event September 17th 2017 when we will have a community ‘mossing’ workshop by Live Graft, arts activities for children and music, including the Brigstowe Village Band and Gurt Lush Choir

If you’d like to get involved join our piazza mailing list

 

Keeping the Piazza Green & Tidy

As the council cuts diminish non-essential services,  Bristol communities are considering initiatives such as the Clean Streets Campaign. The Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association have been thinking that there are elements of cleaning that locals probably already do, like clearing leaves in Autumn, snow in winter and making sure our streets are tidy, but other things we can’t do, such as large waste removal, power cleaning and non residential streets.

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The Cumberland Piazza is an interesting example of where this kind of approach has been working since 2010, when locals started to make plans for the site. As the Community Association put on consultation events, we needed to risk assess the site, and so we needed to explore how it was managed and build a relationship with Bristol City Council. Here’s what we discovered:

  • BCC Highways is responsible for the management and maintenance of the site, as it no longer has ‘park’ status; their priority is 24hr access to the roads above
  • They commission BCC Parks to maintain the verges, shrubbery and cut the grass areas and tend to the older trees.
  • Waste Services were responsible for the removal of graffiti and ensuring the site was litter-free which they did on a fairly regular basis, but there was frequent vandalism and bins and benches were repeatedly stolen.

women toilet

Following several community events and surveys, HCCA established that the priorities for the community were to ‘green’ the Piazza and provide more facilities for young people, particularly for sheltered skateboarding. Community volunteers, worked behind the scenes to create plans and designs, develop communications with council departments, fundraise, seek permissions, assess safety and clean out the disused toilets to use as storage (yuk!). We thank the Neighbourhood Partnership for all their support.

Voices of the PillarsWe struggled to raise the funds to cover the whole site plan for creating a beautiful, green community space for all ages. HCCA so nearly achieved £120,000 in a Grow Wild bid in partnership with Bristol Zoo’s Wild Place and BCC Conservation Department- we came second! So we decided to change things incrementally, in a community-led, DIY fashion.

DSC_4721Physical developments began in 2014 with the planting of 8 Acer trees, with money raised by the community association through section 106 and private donations, followed in 2015 by our Bristol Wood Recycling Project Planters, the painting of the pillars and our small tarmac’d ‘skatespot’. In 2016 we built a pocket park, consisting of concrete play sculptures designed to form a MUGA and created many more planters.

piazzaAll this is great, but now the community are responsible for maintaining all the work we have done, without access to water and electricity. This is what we do with the help of our amazing volunteers:

  • We have installed a rain water harvesting system
  • We hold seasonal gardening days and have several community members weeding, planting and watering as needed throughout the year- our next one is Sunday 5th march 2-4pm. Put on some scruffy clothes and come on down!
  • We keep plenty of coloured paints to manage graffiti as soon as possible after it happens- we will soon be coating accessible areas with anti-graffiti paint.
  • We arranged for the council to give us some bins, some of which we keep locked up, and we make sure they are emptied regularly

We always welcome more help and ideas, so if you’re not on our Piazza mailing list and want to be kept informed about gardening days, have ideas for improvements, or are able to litter pick or weed please sign up by emailing us at admin@hotwellscliftonwood.org.uk

We put environmental sustainability and community-led practise at the heart of our work on the Cumberland Piazza and we know sometimes ‘green’ doesn’t always mean tidy, and it’s difficult to always keep things clean when we’re relying on volunteers and we’re certainly not suggesting that volunteers take over services the council ought to be providing.

The Piazza isn’t perfect, but it’s so much greener and more cheery than it was before the community got involved!