On the 26th of July I went into the vaults of the North Somerset abutment (under the tower!).
Does everyone know why there are two abutments? And why one is much bigger than the other one?
Well this is because back in 1829, famous engineer Thomas Telford advised that the span of a Suspension Bridge if too long could collapse! He recommended the span was no longer than 630 feet. So when Brunel won the competition to design the Bridge here he was asked to shorten the span of the bridge. His solution was to build the abutments, instead of building a giant tower from the ground to shorten the span, the abutments build out the rock and provide a strong platform to build towers on whilst also reducing the span. The reason why one is bigger is because the Clifton side abutment only has one vault but the North Somerset side has twelve.
Many thought that the larger abutment was filled with stone but, in 2002 Ray Brown who was working on the paving around the tower, discovered a tunnel shaft which goes to the vaulted chambers below.
Now that you know something about the history, let me tell you about my experience visiting the North Somerset abutment:
I liked it a lot, especially all the stalactites and the stalagmites, they are really cool to see and I’ve never seen anything like those before, just in movies.
Also all the dark atmosphere really caught me and it felt like staying in a giant cave, really interesting.
On the other hand, my clothes didn’t really enjoy it so if you make the tour be sure to wear something that can be dirty or that you don’t use that much!
I would recommend it to everyone, in can interest all ages from young people to older people.