Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Watch: The new documentary celebrating Bristol’s inner-city walks

The film profiles a grassroots project called Slow Ways which hopes to get more people walking further – with all the associated benefits.

Video

Since the UK’s first lockdown, many people have discovered or rediscovered the simple magic of walking, for social connection and physical and mental wellbeing.

In February 2020, a grassroots project called Slow Ways tapped into that by creating a network of urban and rural walkways that connect our towns, cities and villages. By that winter, 80,000 volunteers had registered to help walk and review more than 8,000 crowdsourced routes.

The success of Slow Ways has been celebrated in a new documentary short called The Forgiving Path, made by local filmmaker David Mathias, which follows three people on three walks in the Bristol area. He reached out to Slow Ways with the idea after being inspired by the organisation’s goal of “creating a cultural shift in people’s hearts and minds regarding the landscape”.

The documentary features the Bristol Steppin Sistas, a local walking group for women of colour which promotes diversity in the outdoors.

Sophie Brown, who enjoyed walking from a young age, set up the group: “I know walking does big favours for our wellbeing, so I thought to myself, it would be a good idea if we could form a walking group – to share the energy of nature with other women.”

Many of the Black women who ended up joining her had not experienced the nature surrounding Bristol before. But Sophie has encouraged many to join her – even though they hadn’t seen themselves represented in outdoor spaces and had initially feared that they wouldn’t be welcome.

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning

“The original plan was to focus on Sophie’s individual walking story, but so much of that is based on encouraging other women that it became natural to extend this showing the group she set up,” says Mathias. “It was a pleasure joining one of their walks around Kings Weston House and seeing the huge enjoyment the members received, while helping break down barriers and anxieties.”

David also follows artist Hazel Mountford on her journey from Bristol to her studio in Filton. She is thankful following an accident that she’s even able to get somewhere using her own two feet.

“The doctors said to me that the operation I had hadn’t been available five years ago and five years ago I would have lost my foot,” she says. “Those words always stayed with me, I think.”

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?

Comments

Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Election hopefuls feel the heat on independent living, accessible housing and disability rights

Deaf and disabled persons hustings at Bristol Beacon marred by contentious remarks from Reform candidate, with other MP contenders sometimes uncertain of their parties’ policy positions.

Campaigners say St Paul’s dentist could have reopened sooner, after enquiry went unanswered

NHS denies busy surgery where thousands queued could have stayed open, but residents' group leaders call for more transparency.

Listen: The Debrief, digging deeper into revelations of institutional racism at a local NHS trust

Priyanka Raval discusses the inside story of her recent investigation into racism in health services, and what it says about the state of the NHS, with Cable colleague Matty Edwards.

‘The most liberating feeling’: how an ADHD diagnosis changed one Bristol business owner’s life

After her own personal journey, Lisa Whitehouse is determined to spread awareness and help others through her work.

Whistleblowers reveal institutional racism at local NHS trust

A Cable investigation spanning months has uncovered that complaints of institutional racism at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust went unheard, despite promises from management to tackle the issue.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with BBC journalist Lucy Proctor on mad cows, Covid and conspiracy theories

Thirty years ago, BSE was spreading across the UK while the government insisted beef was safe. Neil asks Lucy, producer of The Cows are Mad podcast, about the scandal – and how conspiracy theories have thrived as trust in the establishment has nosedived.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning