Friday, 24 May 2024

England's steepest street where locals wear studded shoes in winter

Welcome to life on England’s steepest street – where locals say they can’t get deliveries and have to wear studded shoes in winter… but wouldn’t want to live anywhere else

  • People living in Vale Street, in Bristol, have to pick up deliveries themselves
  • But homeowners say they absolutely love living there due to the ‘stunning’ views 

With its picturesque views and colourful homes, Vale Street in Bristol appears to be like any other suburban road in Britain.

The little residential street – where homes cost an average of £395,000 – is near to a park, Sainsbury’s, and Burger King, with the River Avon also within touching distance.

Yet takeaway and delivery drivers all refuse to enter the road with those living in the red-brick homes having to walk down to the bottom and pick up food and parcels themselves.

And why? Because this is England’s steepest street. 

Such is the incline, people drive up the road and park their cars sideways out of fear they will roll down, while in the winter they wear studded shoes to grip on the slippery surface to stop themselves from tumbling down. 

Vale Street, Bristol, is England’s steepest street with a 22-degree gradient incline. Delivery and takeaway drivers refuse to scale the road while cars park sideways out of fear they’ll roll down 

Vale Street, in Totterdown, was crowned England’s steepest street in 2019 by the Ordnance Survey

But you won’t hear anyone who lives along Vale Street complaining about the 22-degree gradient incline as they say the ‘views and community is worth it’.

READ MORE: British seaside town loses title of having world’s steepest street

Artist Benji Appleby-Tyler, 45, has lived on the street for nine years. He said: ‘It’s fine most of the time. It’s the winter that is the hardest part.

‘It gets very slippery so we have to wear crampons if we want to leave the house – they’re like studs you can add to your shoes.

‘We get a lot of people coming to look at the road. Especially during lockdown. We get groups of bikers and runners going up and down the street. We don’t mind it at all.’

Mr Appleby-Tyler admits ‘deliveries can be tricky’ and recalled how when their new washing machine arrived he had to go and collect it himself and bring it down.

‘Takeaway drivers tend to not come to the door either – we have to meet them at the bottom of the road,’ he said.

Despite some of its drawbacks, he loves the road so much he believes they should have a blue plaque.

His neighbours agree that although navigating life on the hill can be precarious, it’s worth the effort.

But they hailed the refuse collectors as ‘incredible’ as they drive right to the top to make sure their rubbish is picked up

Each year, neighbours also get together to take part in an Easter egg rolling contest. The event sees people painting eggs and letting them race to the bottom of the hill

Helen Loney, 49, has lived on the street for two decades. ‘Most people on this side of the road never leave because of the view,’ she said. ‘It’s stunning’

People drive up the road and park their cars perpendicular to the road out of fear they will roll down, while warnings have been given to delivery drivers about its steepness

Environmental consultant Kath Haddow, 49, who has lived on the street for 20 years never drives up the road as she’s worried it’ll burn out the clutch

Residents say most of the neighbours know each other well and have lived there for many years. One said: ‘There’s a nice community here that always looks out for each other’

Artist Benji Appleby-Tyler, 45, has lived on the street for nine years and said it’s fine most of the time. But during the winter they have to wear studded shoes as it gets slippery 

Rouska Lundi, 43, has never driven up the road in her eight years living there – but the company director says it worth it just for the incredible view

Environmental consultant Kath Haddow, 49, who has lived on the street for 20 years, said: ‘I only drive down it. I never drive up it. It feels like it’s going to burn out the clutch so I just drive around the other streets.

‘In one way we’re quite lucky because no one ever wants to park on this road. The only people that park here are the people who live here.

‘You have to check the weather forecast though. If you don’t move your car before it starts snowing you’ll be stuck for weeks as the ice doesn’t melt for a while.

‘I will say that the bin men are incredible. They go to the top and reverse down the hill.’

The street makes the most of their unique incline – skiing down and even hosting an annual Easter egg rolling competition.

The event sees neighbours painting eggs and letting them race to the bottom of the hill.

Residents say most of the neighbours know each other well and have lived there for many years.

One of those is Rouska Lundin, 43, who has lived on the road for eight years.

Homes on the street cost an average of £395,000. Nearby is a Sainsbury’s and Burger King, while the River Avon is also within touching distance

People living in the road have to check the weather forecast as if they don’t move their cars before it starts to snow they can be ‘stuck for weeks’ until the ice starts to melt

‘We have to meet them at the bottom of the road’: Deliveries can be ‘tricky’ while takeaway drivers tend to not come to the door either

Mr Appleby-Tyler loves the road so much he thinks – despite the road’s drawbacks – they should have a blue plaque 

‘It’s great living here and worth it for the view,’ the company director said. ‘It’s much easier now the kids aren’t in a pushchair either.

‘I’ve never driven up the road in the entire eight years I’ve lived here. I’ve always gone to the top and driven down.

‘I get a food shop delivered but I’ve been told by drivers there’s always lots of notes in their system warning them not to drive up this road.

‘I love it here. There’s a nice community here that always looks out for each other.’

Rouska’s neighbour, internal communications manager Helen Loney has lived on the street for two decades.

‘Most people on this side of the road never leave because of the view,’ the 49-year-old said. ‘It’s stunning.

‘You forget that you’re surrounded by people so close to the city centre. It’s definitely worth the hill and because people don’t want to come up here it’s quiet.

‘We get some cyclists and runners. I think the funniest thing I’ve seen is a unicyclist trying to get up here.

‘I’d never leave. I love it here.’

In 2020, a Banksy piece entitled ‘Aachoo!!’ showing a woman sneezing out her false teeth appeared on the side of a house

And the street has also caught the attention of mysterious street artist Banksy whose artwork one appeared at the bottom of the road. 

In 2020, a piece entitled ‘Aachoo!!’ showing a woman sneezing out her false teeth appeared on the side of a house.

The entire wall was removed after the owner of the house decided to sell the artwork.

The Ordnance Survey crowned Vale Street as England’s steepest in 2019 where it was declared a hill, reported The Telegraph.  

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