The Downs, Bristol

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The Downs
Bristol MMB S0 The Downs.jpg
Typepublic open space
LocationBristol, England
Coordinates51°28′N 2°38′W / 51.47°N 2.63°W / 51.47; -2.63Coordinates: 51°28′N 2°38′W / 51.47°N 2.63°W / 51.47; -2.63
Area412 acres (1.7 km2)
Statusopen all year
The Downs, Bristol is located in Bristol
The Downs, Bristol
Location of The Downs in Bristol

The Downs are an area of public open limestone downland in Bristol, England. They consist of Durdham Down to the north and east and Clifton Down to the south.

Durdham Down[edit]

Durdham Down is the north and east part of the Downs, extending to Westbury Park and Henleaze, with an area of 85 hectares (210 acres).[1] It is owned by Bristol City Council for the benefit of the people of Bristol.

Clifton Down[edit]

Clifton Down is the part of the Downs southwest of the southern part of Stoke Road, between Sneyd Park and Clifton and extending to the edge of the Avon Gorge, with an area of 82 hectares (202 acres).[1] It is owned by the Society of Merchant Venturers.


Since an Act of Parliament in 1861, when Bristol Corporation acquired Durdham Down, the Downs have been managed as a single unit by the Downs Committee, a joint committee of the corporation and the Merchant Venturers.[2][3] They have been designated common land since the early 1970s by Bristol City Council.[1]


They are used for leisure, walking, team sports and sightseeing (especially at the Avon Gorge cliff edge). There are permanent football pitches, used by the Bristol Downs Football League. There are also temporary attractions on the Downs, such as circuses and the annual Bristol Flower Show.

A grey concrete water tower of 1954 stands on the Downs near the top of Blackboy Hill, with a long, low, covered reservoir alongside it.

In 1982, 6,000 people assembled on the Downs, in response of to a local newspaper advertisement placed by the makers of the new breakfast television show TV-am. The 6,000 people were used to make the words 'Good', 'Morning' and 'Britain', used for the opening titles of the TV-am show, of the same name. It took 2 hours to get the people into place, and another 2 hours to shoot.

Panorama over the downs

Since 2016, it has been the site of The Downs Festival, an annual music festival with both local and well-known bands attending.

In popular culture[edit]

The Downs played a significant role in Jack Thorne's 2018 Channel 4 mini-series Kiri.[4]



  1. ^ a b c "Bristol - Pinpoint local information". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ The Downs Committee, The Downs: Clifton and Durdham Downs, 1861-1961 (Bristol, 1961)
  3. ^ "History of The Downs" (PDF). Bristol City Council. 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Kiri review: beautifully observed drama, and not as grim as expected". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2021.

External links[edit]