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Ravens Well

A Collectors Evening Trip With Jeff Price

By Mike Wilson.

One evening, the first of October 1997 to be precise. Jeff kindly asked me if I fancied a trip into Ravens Well, he just said it is a bit of a collector’s piece. I readily agreed to join him and we met up at the Three Lamps junction where the Bath and Wells road meet.

Very roughly the entrance is situated down a winding lane opposite the three lamps finger post [see photos] and then over a wall into a concealed entrance slot. Ravens Well, I have subsequently found out, is also called the Temple Pipe. The system is basically a maze of underground man made tunnels arched in local stone linking several underground springs, designed to feed water to the Friary at Temple Gate. The Conduit was laid in 1366 and worked right up to the advent of the Railway at Temple Meads in the late 1800’s.

Whilst constructing the railway line the pipe was severed and then dried up .We spent a very interesting few hours in the system and at one time stood directly under the Three Lamps themselves. Since then I have discovered that there are several such systems under Bristol, One of them being the Redcliffe Pipe which runs from Knowle all the way to Redcliffe Church.

The outlet for this conduit still exists in Colston Parade close to the church. This ceased to work when it was struck by a German bomb during the war.

There are many more documented in the Central library, and the publication Underground Bristol. Zot and I have already taken canoes into part of the old Bristol Castle Moat and are hoping, to round trip the whole system in the near future. 

WATCH THIS SPACE.

My thanks to Jeff for showing me this interesting little gem.