05.03.21 - The Chocolate Path Reimagined

Bristol’s harbourside walk attracts heavy footfall throughout the year. The adjacent River Avon walk, colloquially know as the ‘Chocolate Path’ , built in 1906, has recently fallen into a state of disrepair following parts of the route’s collapse, resulting in its closure. This week we explored the opportunities of this walk, creating a hypothetical proposal for its re-generation. The reimagined chocolate path focuses on increasing biodiversity through the concept of a linear park.

With Bristol’s history grounded in industrial trade along the River, biodiversity is lacking, meaning muddy, monotonous river banks line the route. The proposal looks at using coir carpets; a bio-engineering solution for high tidal areas. These coir rolls are pre-planted with native species allowing vegetation to be established quickly and effectively. The River Avon boasts the second highest tidal range in the world, so focusing on flora that can survive the repeated inundation of water is essential. The species used would vary from the middle to the top of the river banks to reflect this.

The proposal looks to keep the existing chocolate path, where structurally safe. At the narrowest points of the path, or areas of complete collapse, a new dissecting path would bend out towards the river, resulting in a seamless blend of old and new. Meanwhile, allowing collapsed areas to be slowly taken over by nature, resulting in a changing user experience over time.

Finally, Spike Island is an area embedded in arts history, hosting Banksy Graffiti, Spike Design & Aardman Studios just to name a few. Allowing locations along the route for art installations creates an opportunity for engagement between industry and the local community for all to enjoy.


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