The Downs are an area of public open limestone downland in Bristol, England. They consist of Durdham Down to the northeast, and the generally more picturesque and visited Clifton Down to the southwest.
The Downs owe their existence (in what would otherwise have been a prime housing location) to their having been protected in earlier centuries by the Merchant Venturers (a powerful business guild in the city), and now an Act of Parliament. In the past they have been used for farming and quarrying; their use now is leisure, walking, team sports and sightseeing (especially at the Avon Gorge cliff edge). There are also temporary attractions on the Downs, such as circuses and the annual Bristol Flower Show.
A railway tunnel, Clifton Down Tunnel, passes underneath the Downs on the line from Temple Meads to Severn Beach. One portal is in Clifton near Clifton Down railway station; the other in the Avon Gorge far below Durdham Down. There are three air shafts for the tunnel: two in vertical tower form (near the zoo, and in Walcombe Slade gulley) with the third being a horizontal tunnel on the Portway.
In 1982, 6,000 people asscended onto The Downs, in response of a local newspaper advertisement. Advertisement was place by the makers/producers of the new breakfast television show. The show in question is TV-am. The 6,000 people were used to make the words 'Good', 'Morning' and 'Britain'. This was to be used for the opening titles of the TV-am show, of the same name. It took 2 hours to get the people into place, and another 2 hours to shoot!
Part of Bristol Downs is used by gay men as a cruising ground. In 2008, the Bristol Evening Post newspaper reported that Bristol City Council's gay & lesbian advisory group had objected to removal of vegetation as part of the Avon Gorge Management Plan, on the grounds that this was discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.. Bristol City counsel later apologised for wrongly attributing the comments to the rainbow LGBT advisory group, which was extensively used by the press to discredit the reputation and valuable input of this professional group.