Pause this recording and walk to the middle of the bridge to begin this tour.
You are now 75 metres above the high-water mark of the River Avon. The river has a maximum tidal range of 13 metres, the second highest tidal range in the world, so don’t be surprised if there is not much water to be seen! Look towards the city. To the left of the river, you can just see the lock gates of the Floating Harbour, a channel of water which is kept at high tide level.
Turn around and look at the bridge. The deck you are standing on is suspended from the chains by 162 rods which become progressively shorter near the centre of the bridge span. Look across the carriageway to the other footpath and line up the handrail on the far footpath with a fixed point in the distance eg some houses or the horizon. Keep your head still, be patient, and you should see the handrail going up and down – the bridge is swaying! On windy days it is far more prominent! Don’t worry – it is a suspension bridge and it is supposed to do that!
The bridge is spectacularly illuminated at night by more than 3,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which are fixed to the chains. The lights are reflected onto the chains to maximise the illumination and to avoid light pollution into the gorge, which is a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ because of the rare plants that grow here.