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Flying beyond Bristol

07/04/2015 Jo Bailey Features

One of the great things about hot air ballooning is that a flight can take somebody above a place that’s wholly new to them. For example, someone who undertakes a balloon journey from Bristol could easily experience something way beyond their expectations. They might not be surprised when they observe some of the wonderful sights of the city from an unfamiliar angle, but they may be exhilarated when they catch glimpses of locations they have yet to visit. A specific trip starting from Bristol can take tourists over a wide range of areas because of its unique position on the tidal section of the River Avon.

Endless possibilities

Once the immediate surroundings of Bristol have been left behind, a balloon ride can take in all kinds of different scenery. A traveller can experience various sensations depending in part on where the balloon goes. It might go northwards over Gloucestershire, or it could drift leisurely down over Somerset. Either way, the relaxation it offers is a complete break from the stress of modern life.

Following up on an interest

It can be tempting for people to let the entire experience wash over them, and to let the flight have its invigorating effect without thinking too much. However, some individuals like to take an active interest in what they can see below them. This can inspire them to further adventures when the balloon trip itself has finished. Identifying particular geographical features or urban settlements can be a prelude to a pleasant country drive in a day or two. For instance, someone on a balloon who spots the Mendip Hills might then go on to pick out the historic town of Shepton Mallet.

The Roman past of Shepton Mallet

If a tourist opts to visit Shepton Mallet following on from a balloon trip they could be in for a treat. The parish church might have been noticed from above. The town is located on the old Roman road which was once known as the Fosse Way. This linked up Lincoln and Exeter.

Several archaeological finds have occurred in the vicinity of Shepton Mallet. In the Saxon era, the place acquired the title of ‘Scaep Ton’ because of a sheep connection and these two words evolved into its current name.

Over time, the products traded at Shepton Mallet changed. Fabric was largely replaced by cider and cheese. Today, it is an interesting place from which to think about the old and the new. This is partly because modern industries work next to conserved heritage sites.

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