Location Map of Portishead
The ancient settlement of Portishead was established at the mouth of a small tributary in Roman times. Its name is derived from 'port at the head of the river'.
The High Street once met the top of the river and its stone walls still retain iron rings indicating where fishing boats tied up.
In the 1860s a pier and deep-water dock were built here by the Bristol & Portishead Pier and Railway to handle ships too large to travel up the River Avon to the Port of Bristol.
In the mid-20th century two coal-fired power stations were built beside the dock and a chemical works later was constructed beside them. Both power stations were closed by the early-1980s and with their demise all industrial activity ceased on the site.
The dock has been well preserved and in the past few years has become the centre of a substantial new marina development. This has also incorporated a wide variety of housing and commercial premises.
Today Portishead has become a dormitory town for Bristol. Because of the availability of flat land surrounding the town suitable for building, Portishead is set to become one of the largest towns in North Somerset and one of the fastest growing in Europe.
Although stony and muddy, Portishead's coastline is of geological and environmental interest. The deep-water channel on the Bristol Channel passes by the dock and visitors can regularly watch large ocean-going vessels and coasters sailing past.
The attractive Lake Grounds, constructed in the early 20th century around an artificial lake, is Portishead's main park. Beside this is a open-air swimming pool, one of the few surviving outdoor pools in the UK. Overlooking the Lake Grounds is Battery Point, where guns were positioned here to protect the Severn Estuary from enemy attack and today this landmark offers views towards Wales and the Severn Crossings. Crowds often gather here to watch unusual vessels (such as The Matthew of Bristol) negotiating the Bristol Channel.
The Bristol-based band Portishead are named after this North Somerset town.
|Wyndham Way Portishead BS20 7GA MAP
With free parking, family-friendly rooms and a Brewers Fayre restaurant, this Premier Inn hotel is 25 minutes from central Bristol, within reach of the M5 and Severn crossings into Wales.
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