The Downs


  • Large green space on the edge of the city with views of the Avon Gorge, Leigh Woods and the Severn Estuary. Perfect for picnics, exercise, sports and events.
  • Address: The Downs, Stoke Road, Durdham Down, Bristol BS9 1PG
  • Opening hours: Open at all times
  • Admission is free. Access may be restricted on some major event days.
  • Parking is free around The Downs. Cars may be clamped for parking on the grass.
  • The Downs is an open site with tarmac pathways.


Activities and attractions

  • Avon Gorge
  • Clifton Down Camp
  • Clifton Observatory (access to observation cave and camera obscura)
  • Horse riding
  • Kite flying - The Downs exposed position makes it particularly suitable for kite flying
  • Peregrine Watch (observe this iconic bird from a vantage point on Circular Road)
  • Roman road on Durdham Downs
  • Trim trail stations
  • Walking
  • Wildlife


The Downs hosts events large and small including the Race for Life and sponsored abseiling.

Holding an event 

The Downs Committee often make the decisions about which events can take place on The Downs.

If you are considering holding a medium to large scale event on The Downs please notify us as early as possible so we can consult with The Downs Committee. Larger scale events will not be permitted without full consultation with The Downs Committee.

Apply for a licence to hold an event on The Downs.

The Downs is also covered by a series of byelaws that limit certain activities. The Downs ranger and council's security services make daily patrols to enforce the byelaws. You need to have familiarised yourself with these byelaws before applying to hold an event on The Downs.

The Downs Byelaws (pdf, 39 KB) (opens new window)

The Downs Committee

The Downs has been managed by the Downs Committee since the The Clifton and Durdham Downs (Bristol) Act 1861 (pdf, 52 KB) (opens new window) .

Members are appointed in equal numbers by the council and The Society of Merchant Venturers. The committee passed The Downs byelaws and make other decisions about the area and events held there.

Community, clubs and associations

  • Friends of The Downs and Avon Gorge
    Local user group engaged in developmental work.
    email to contact the group.
  • Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project
    Walks, talks, courses, children’s and family events throughout the year, including educational visits for school groups to learn about the wildlife of the site.
    Avon Gorge website
  • Bristol Downs Football League
    The Downs League at


  • History of The Downs (pdf, 11 KB) (opens new window)
  • Green Flag Award winning site (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010)
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest - a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom - Quarry Steps on Durdham Down
  • Site of Nature Conservation Interest - a designation used in many parts of the United Kingdom to protect areas of importance for wildlife at a county scale.
  • Scheduled ancient monuments - Clifton Down Camp and Roman Road on Durdham Down.