‘We live on England’s steepest street and need special shoes in winter’

People living on England’s steepest street say they can’t get deliveries and have to wear studded shoes in winter – but wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Homeowners on Vale Street in Bristol – the steepest road in England – say they have adapted well to the 22-degree gradient incline.

Despite delivery drivers refusing to scale the road and not being able to drive their cars up the street, residents say the “views and community is worth it.”

Artist Benji Appleby-Tyler, 45, who has lived on the street for nine years said: “It’s fine most of the time. It’s the winter that is the hardest part.

“It gets very slippery so we have to wear crampons if we want to leave the house – they’re like studs you can add to your shoes.

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“We get a lot of people coming to look at the road. Especially during lockdown. We get groups of bikers and runners going up and down the street. We don’t mind it at all.

“Deliveries can be tricky. When we got a new washing machine we had to go and collect it and bring it down.

“Takeaway drivers tend to not come to the door either – we have to meet them at the bottom of the road.”

Despite some of its drawbacks, Benji loves the road so much he believes they should have a blue plaque.

His neighbours agree that although navigating life on the hill can be tricky, it’s worth the effort.

Environmental consultant Kath Haddow, who has lived on the street for 20 years, said: “I only drive down it. I never drive up it. It feels like it’s going to burn out the clutch so I just drive around the other streets.

“In one way we’re quite lucky because no one ever wants to park on this road. The only people that park here are the people who live here.

“You have to check the weather forecast though. If you don’t move your car before it starts snowing you’ll be stuck for weeks as the ice doesn’t melt for a while.

“I will say that the bin men are incredible. They go to the top and reverse down the hill.”

The street makes the most of their unique incline – skiing down and even hosting an annual egg rolling competition.

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Residents claim that most of the neighbours know each other well and have lived there for many years.

Rouska Lundin, 43, a company director who has lived on the road for eight years said: “It’s great living here and worth it for the view. It’s much easier now the kids aren’t in a pushchair either.

“I’ve never driven up the road in the entire eight years I’ve lived here. I’ve always gone to the top and driven down.

“I get a food shop delivered but I’ve been told by drivers there’s always lots of notes in their system warning them not to drive up this road.

“I love it here. There’s a nice community here that always looks out for each other.”

Rouska’s neighbour, internal communications manager Helen Loney, 49, who has lived on the street for 20 years agreed: “Most people on this side of the road never leave because of the view. It’s stunning.

“You forget that you’re surrounded by people so close to the city centre. It’s definitely worth the hill and because people don’t want to come up here it’s quiet.

“We get some cyclists and runners. I think the funniest thing I’ve seen is a unicyclist trying to get up here.

“I’d never leave. I love it here.”

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