Brunel in Bristol: Shaping A City Trail

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The challenge: To develop and deliver a one day event with young people, for young people.

What we did: We worked with Creative Youth Network’s Youth for Youth team to develop a one day event to bring together young people from across Bristol. The team agreed that they wanted us to deliver a physical activity that young people could work in teams to complete. They stipulated that they, as young people, are interested in getting out to explore the city but wanted a resource to help them do this. They wanted to actively participate in an event rather than use a digital, screen based game.  The treasure hunt aspect of discovering answers was very important to them so we translated this in to a trail with the help of the team at Knowle West Media Centre who produced our trail map. Young designer David Biddle completed the brilliant graphics.

The Map: The Bridging Bristol: Shaping a City map was designed to reveal lesser known information about the built environment in the harbour side area of the City. The map was aimed at getting young people to look at familiar buildings in different ways and give them further understanding of the heritage of those places.

We used Brunel to link many of the venues by celebrating his innovations in the city but we also wanted the teams to explore more than just the famous landmarks. We introduced them to places they hadn’t been before - for example the Underfall Yard.

The Event: The event marked the beginning of a weekend of 150th Anniversary Celebrations in December 2014. Teams from across Bristol met at the Watershed for the event briefing and were issued with packed lunches, a free Bristol Ferry Pass (kindly donated by the Bristol Ferry Company) their trusty trail maps plus some additional equipment to help them with their mission!

Each team had to use the map to find the answers to eight questions. Along the way different venues had hidden QR codes for the teams to zap to reveal more information and facts.

Teams had to make their way to the Clifton Suspension Bridge where the answers to the final questions could be found. Once the trail was finished the teams had to complete a challenge – to design and build a newspaper bridge!

Feedback from participants included many saying they loved going on the Bristol Ferry and had never seen the harbour from a boat before. They were also enthusiastic about hidden facts and places like Underfall Yard that they hadn’t previously known about.  Overall our feedback forms were full of comments that began with ‘I didn’t know that……’an outcome that we are very happy with!


Get Involved!

You can download your own copy of the map here and complete it with your class, family or friends. A copy of the map in PDF format is at the bottom of this page.  

How to use our trail map

Follow the route marked in red on the map.  On the reverse of the map is information about buildings along the route and their history. You will also see information marked with a 'Q'. This means there is a question to answer. Some of the answers are outside buildings, some are inside so make sure they are open on the day you want to complete the trail! (For example the MShed is closed on Monday's).  There is also a brand new Visitor Centre at Underfall Yard that was not yet completed when the map went to print. The Visitor Centre is free to enter so make sure you stop there to learn even more!

We suggest you start outside the Watershed in the Centre and finish at the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre but the choice is yours to complete the trail however and whenever you want. Don't forget that the Bristol Ferry Company offer regular trips along the harbourside if your legs get tired and the number 8 First Bus Service will take you from the Centre to Clifton Village!


Website by Circle Interactive

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