Astonishing interest in history walk

VOLUNTEERS from local history group CHAP were astonished by the level of interest in their recent history walk around Downend, which 55 people took part in.  

Nick Smith, who led the free walk and shared stories of our area over the centuries, said: “What a phenomenal success! 

“Our only problem was that so many people turned up, it was logistically challenging, both in terms of getting people around the streets and also having to shout sometimes to be heard.”

CHAP, the Community History and Arts Project, has been running a slightly different version of their history walk for local secondary school students for the last three years.

We had been asked to put on an additional walk for everyone in the community.

The details were advertised in last month’s Downend Voice, but we didn’t know how many people – if anyone – would show up on the day. 

CHAP chair Janet Biggin said: “This was a ‘toe in the water’ to see how interested people would be, and I think we now know!”  

The group intends to run further walks in future, taking into account the points learnt from this initial event. 

CHAP also has plenty of other activities planned. 

Contact Janet if you’d like to get involved, at, and keep an eye on the Downend Voice and the group’s website,, for further updates. 

CHAP is a not-for-profit voluntary organisation that aims to produce a community history resource and create a coherent identity for Downend and Emersons Green, built around interesting or significant places, people and events from the past. 

Established in 2018, we aim to bring history to life through arts, publications, music and events.  

Helen Rana