GREAT LOCAL WALKS WHICH ARE QUICK AND EASY !

Murray Jones takes his Dogs on a tour of short walks in and around  Bath in this six part series. The walks are designed to be easy to get to and of short duration so that they can be done during the week when you just want to get out into the countryside.

Part 1

Browns Folly - 30-40 minutes            Level :  Quick and Easy

Browns Folly or ‘The Pepper Pot’ is a fantastic walk around and old quarry in the woods behind Bathford.

To get there : Take the A46 to Bathford and then then turn left in front of the crown pub. Towards the end of the village you will find Prospect Place which is on the Right. Drive to the top of this road where you will find parking,again on the right hand side .

The Walk :

  • Start the walk from the car park and take the bottom bath which head down hill parallel to the road you came up. Follow this path down and into the woods and you will see the numerous caves and crevices up on the left hand side where, if you come in the evening you may catch some of the bats in the air around you.

  • Keep walking for roughly ½ a mile until you get to a fork in the path , take th eleft fork upto a kissing gate and enter the old Quarry. Note : at some times of the year you may need to keep your dogs on the lead through the quarry as sheep are grazing.

  • Follow this path along along the bottom of the quarry as it slowly rises higher up the hill.

  • At the other end of the quarry take a hairpin left to double back sharply to the top of a narrow ridge which from here you can rest a while and take in the fantastic view back across the Avon and back to Bath.

  • Keep straight on until you get to another kissing gate heading back into the woods

  • From here you can take a number of different paths , all of which will head back to the carpark. My favourite the the one which bears left along the top of the cliffs which drop sharply down to the path you just came along. You may want to choose the central path if you have young kids or are afraid of heights

  • Once back at the car-park consider a dirnk at the Crown Inn Bathford or Kings Arms Monkton Farleigh , both of which are only 5 minutes drive in opposite directions.

PART 2 -20-40 minutes                                    Level: Quick and Easy

Box Railway Tunnel

 

Even if you are not a trainspotter, this is a great walk to get a prime view straight down the line towards Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous engineering marvel. If you stay for long enough you can catch the intercity shooting into the tunnel right underneath your feet.

 

To Get There : Park in the Carpark next to the playing fields in the centre of Box. To find this , drive into Box from Bath until you get to the traffic lights, bear left and take and left 30 yards along before the Bear pub along a narrow road down which will take you down to the carpark and fields.

 

The Walk :

  • Start the Walk by heading across the playing passing the Fossil display towards a small flight of stairs which takes you down towards an landscaping/art installation beside the stream.

  • Take the path to the right of this to head of a tiny bridge , then turn left at the bridge to a gate which opens onto a huge field with a copse and ridge up on the right hand side.

  • Head up towards this copse and around to the left hand side where you will climb higher to find the view point on the right which looks back towards the BOX tunnel along a mile long stretch of the railway.

  • Head across the field to get a view back towards Bath and the other exit of the railway tunnel you are standing on.

    • You can then head back down to the field you came up on but this time aim return slightly to the right towards a small bridge which crosses the waterway further downstream. This is great place to allow any water loving dogs to have a little swim.Return to the carpark along the short grassy path which leads uphill away from the bridge.

    • If you wish to add another 20 minutes onto the walk ,instead of heading back down from the tunnel , head uphill to the farm , follow the signs to get to the road and turn right , head along the road till you can see a footpath sign on the right . This will take you through two fields ,then back onto the road and under the railway. Take an immediate right to get back to the carpark.

  • Consider a drink at the Bear or Northey Arms in Box which is just outside the village on the way back to Bath

PART 3 40 - 80 Minutes                  Level : Challenging

Solsbury Hill

 

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If you live in this area you must get to the top of Solsbury Hill, The views from the Iron Age Hill Fort site across to Bath are amazing . Its was also made famous by Peter Gabriel in his song ‘Solsbury Hill’. The Hill is fantastic at all times of the year , I have even waded knee deep in snow to the top with my dogs who thought it was just fantastic ! See picture attached.

 

If you are short of time, you can simply drive to the top via Batheaston but bear in mind that space is limited and turning around at the top is quite tight (although I have never had a problem). If you have an hour or so, you should challenge yourself by walking from the centre of Larkhall village as follows:

 

The Walk :

  • Start in the centre of Larkhall and walk out towards solsbury hill until the Bladuds Head Pub. Then take the next left after the pub and head uphill on Ferndale road and keep going over the Old Gloucester Rd and over  A46 overpass.

  • Take an immediate left after the overpass to head up a driveway, then take the public footpath on the left after 50 yards. This is the noisy part as you are right next to the A46 but keep going- its worth it !

  • Follow the narrow footpath up to a small country lane ,turn right and  head uphill for 20 yards to rejoin the path on the other side of the road.

  • Now you are at the good part. Head up the grassy slope aiming for the top right corner. When you get to it take a sharp right straight up the hill until you get to the Trig point which is not far but feels like it as it’s very steep !

  • Give yourself a little pat on the back for making it to the top. Look down your nose at the people who have driven up and consider whether you want to take the 15 minute walk around the top which is actually well worth it, on a clear day you can even see the white horse of Westbury..  

  • Head back down the way you came and consider a well earned pint at one of the pubs in Larkhall.

  • Well Done!!

PART 4 20-30  Minutes  

Level : Easy (but lots of steps)

Dundas Aqueduct and Brassknocker Basin

Dundas Aqueduct and the Kennet & Avon Canal are one of the hidden gems which are easily accessed in and around Bath. Here you will find are a multitude of medium and long walks all the way along the valley. This walk however,  is super quick and ends at the Angelfish Cafe which is great for a coffee and chat with your mates at the end. If you feel more energetic, there are lots of points where you can extend your walk by heading out along the canal or river banks in either direction or even heading straight up to the top of the hill on the other side.

 

The Walk :

  • Park in the Brassknocker Visitor Centre car-park ( don’t forget to pay if coming in the Summer months). This can be found by driving out of Bath on the A36 and taking a left at the Limpley Stoke traffic lights followed by an immediate left after 20 yards.

  • At the end of the carpark you will see a sealed path, follow this for 300 yards and you will come to the canal basin ( photo above taken from here)

  • Turn left when at the canal and follow the basin around to get to the small bridge which passes over the canal. Turn right here to keep following the basin over the aqueduct where you will have amazing views up and down the river/railway valley.

  • Once over the aqueduct you will see set of stairs down to your left , take these down behind the Monkton Boathouse and into a large field ( Alternatively -for the very fit and active - keep straight on up a very steep hill to the top and turn left to go through a little hamlet in Conkwell Wood then taking a sharp left by the last house to come back down into the valley)

  • From here (Boathouse) I like to give the dogs a good run along the river bank for 10 minutes before turning around and heading back to the Boathouse

  • Pass in front of the Boathouse and then under the aqueduct to emerge on the other side before taking the steep steps back up to the top of the aqueduct but now on the other side ! (Tourists will wonder how you magically popped up on the other side ..)

  • Turn left to take you back to the path you came on from the car park , follow this for 50 yards but take the right fork at the junction which takes you back up to the canal and towards the visitor centre.

  • Your walk finishes at the Visitor Centre where there is a great cafe to celebrate your achievements.

  • Alternatively you can grab a pint at the Hop Pole Inn which is further along the road in Lower Limpley Stoke.

PART 5 60  Minutes                    Level : Medium-Hard (Steep slope)Bathampton to University of Bath  Circle

This is quite a varied walk which takes in all that Bath has to offer. There is the Kennet and Avon Canal, an historic Bath quarry railway and stunning views of the city itself, all in a reasonable walking distance and best of all, its starts and ends at a Pub!

  • To start the walk - park in The George Tavern, Bathampton  - remember to be polite and use the far end of the car-park as they often request on an A-board outside.

  • Head out of Bath on the canal tow path initially passing under the small road bridge, then continuing into the start of the fabulous Limpley Stoke Valley

  • After 400 yards you will get to a swing bridge which you must cross and head uphill to the busy A36 ( make sure your dogs are on leads as this can be VERY busy )

  • Cross the road and on the other side of the road about 40 yards back into Bath, you will notice a Public Footpath sign which will then take you (very steeply ) up the hill through the woods and alongside an old quarry railway which connected the quarry at the top of hill to the canal at the bottom during Georgian times to supply the city with it’s famous Bath stone.

  • Head up the hill until you get to ¾ the way to  the top where you will get to sharp right turning in the middle of the woods (easily missed so keep a close eye out) , take this turning rather than heading straight on and keep going along this path until it emerges into a clearing above the woods but below the golf course.

  • Aim for the other side of the clearing (don’t head any further uphill) and you will get to an old lane taking you back down behind the houses and water station to the A36 ( again clip your dogs on their leads well before !)

  • Cross the A36 and head diagonally downhill back towards the George via Bathampton Lane. You may want to take the Public Footpath on the half way down the lane which allows you to get back onto the canal.

 

PART 6 30  Minutes                    Level : VERY EASYRainbow Wood - Festive Walk

This walk is great in the snow. Rainbow Wood is on the top of the hill behind Bath University and is fantastic all year round but is particularly good when it snows. Last year (2013) when it snowed in Bath , the snow was up to my knees when walking around the wood and the dogs absolutely loved it ! The wood is easy to navigate around so feel free to choose your own adventure. OR This walk is quick and easy and apart from one set of stairs up a hill, is relatively flat but takes in some amazing scenic views from above Bath.

 

The Walk :

  • Parking is either in the three spaces available or directly on the Claverton Down Road ( A3062) near where it meets Shaft road at the cycling entry to the wood.

  • Open the gate and head along the lane for 30 yards before taking the path down to the left

  • Follow a few  bends until you get to a right turning, take it to quickly emerge into a small clearing in the Wood, head across the clearing towards a gap in the bushes on the other side.

  • Follow this short path to a style where you find the side of Prior Park Rugby fields. Take the left hand side and head past a long jump sand pit and towards a junction where you will take the left fork down the hill to greet and amazing view across the city of Bath.

  • Turn right along the fence barrier on the edge of the wood and you will find Rainbow Wood House - an amazing Lodge sitting on the brow of the hill with arguably the best view in Bath.

  • At the gate to the house ( don’t go in - it’s private !) turn right up the wooded steps heading back up into the wood.

  • At the top you will  find a small tarmac path .

  • Either turn left to explore more of the woods and the Bath Skyline walk, or turn right along the sealed path which will take you all the way back to your car.

  • There is an option to turn left at the end of the Rugby Field - This is a lovely linear walk which skirts along the eastern edge of the wood behind the Bath BMI clinic.

  • Head back to the car and choose one of the great pubs in either Widcombe or Coombe Down.

This walk is part of the much larger Bath Skyline Walk which is 2-3 hours long and takes in the whole of the Hill on that side of bath. It’s well worth it but plan for at least half a day !