The Bristol Downs are part of a limestone ridge which extends north-eastwards from Clevedon. It was formed by sedimentation and deposition when a tropical sea spread over the area during the early Carboniferous period, 354 million years ago. Fossils of marine creatures can be seen where the rock is exposed. During the Hercynian period (about 290 million years ago), when the ancient continents of Laurasia and Gondwana collided, this rock was folded and pushed up into mountains. It was then eroded, deposited upon, uplifted and again eroded until the present surface was once more exposed.
The Gorge was created during the Ice Ages which have come and gone over the last two million years. The
Tree felling began as long as 4000 years ago, and there are field systems evident between Ladies Mile and the Zoo Banks. During the Iron Age, the Dobunni tribe built a hill fort on Observatory Hill, which, together with the two forts on the Leigh Woods side of the Gorge, dominated the river. The Romans in turn built villas in the area, and the road which they built, linking
More of a threat to the
What was most stupendous to me, was the rock of St Vincent, a little distance from the Towne, the precipice whereof is equal to any thing of that nature I have seene in the most confragose cataracts of the Alpes: The river gliding between them after an extraordinary depth: Here we went searching for Diamonds, & to the hot Well at its foote….
Plans were enacted for the ‘beautification’ of the