Downs

Today we have spent a pleasant sunny few hours on the Bristol Downs. The Downs, Clifton Down and Durdham Down,  are in fact not a low lying area but a lovely open grassy area above the Avon Gorge in Bristol. Bristol Corporation acquired Durdham Down in 1861, and in the same year by an Act of Parliament, Clifton Down  was also secured for public enjoyment free of charge.

Much nearer to home, less than a mile away if you could walk on water, is Brean Down, the last land hill of the Mendips, a massive carboniferous limestone promontory sticking out into the Bristol Channel. It’s 318 feet high and sticks out 1½ miles into the sea between us here in Uphill, and Burnham-on-Sea. On the end of it is the remains of fortifications, which were first built in the 1860’s and then modernised during World war II; however this big lump of a hill has been used as a defensive place since iron age times,

So why, if these downs – including the more famous South Downs and North Downs are hills and yet have a name which seems to mean the opposite? According to Britanicca.com, downs are “rounded and grass-covered hills in southern England that are typically composed of chalk. The name comes from the Old English dūn.” So this is why sometimes, downs are ups!

My featured image shows Brean Down from the beach in Uphill where we live – we live in the village not on the beach, obviously!!

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