Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a wholesome stroll out taking in the fresh air and just feeling at one with nature.
If you need a break from your local scenery, these autumn walks less than an hour away from Bristol make for great additions to your weekend to-do list.
Located south of Bristol in Weston-Super-Mare, Weston Woods is a 321 acre woodland between Sand Bay and Weston-super-Mare Beach. It is a surprisingly large woodland, and you could easily spend about 2-3 hours here and cover most of the area. There are multiple paths to choose from, including quieter side paths to follow if you want. The woodlands is great for hikers who want to explore steep hills, but it also caters for all with its gravel path which was built to accommodate parents with pushchairs and wheelchair users.
Alternatively, for a shorter walk, you could walk straight from the car park main entrance to Worlebury Hillfort which would take about 30 minutes (1.5 miles). On the western side of the wood at Worlebury Hillfort, you’ll not only find iron age remnants but also witness some stunning views over the Bristol Channel towards Wales. This ancient monument was built over 2300 years ago, although overgrown and damaged, many of the storage pits and parts of the defensive walls are still visible. There is also a cliff edge so take care!
Drive time from central Bristol: 45 minutes
Located at the foot of the Mendip Hills, Blagdon Lake is one of Bristol’s main reservoirs. Stunningly beautiful, the lake stretches 430 acres and is a relaxing spot for all. There is only one part of the lake that is open to the public for walking – a small woodland around some of the lake, with bridges across streams and fields which are perfect for picnics. From the car park in Blagdon, it is a 20 minute walk to the start of the woodland lake path.
The easiest place to park is on Blagdon Lane, where the public footpath starts in the woodland or at the free car park in Blagdon, which is a 20 minute walk to the start of the woodland lake path. Following the path you will see stunning, panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. There is only one main path, but at certain points, you can detour through gates and branch off into fields or walk on the road in order to extend the mile route and walk the entire lake. Blagdon Lake is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and you can also visit the Discovery Wood where you may see roe deer, badgers, foxes and otters.
Drive time from central Bristol: 40 minutes
Experience magnificent views of the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales, once you reach the top of Glastonbury Tor. Steeped in history and legend, Glastonbury Tor is one of the most famous landmarks in the West. Excavations at the top of the Tor have revealed the plans of two superimposed churches of St Michael, of which only a 15th-century and listed tower remains. Glastonbury Tor is also known as being one of the most spiritual sites in the country. Its pagan beliefs are still very much celebrated. It’s a beautiful place to walk, unwind and relax. Tip: try to get there early for amazing sunrise views across the spanning Somerset countryside.
Drive time from central Bristol: 60 minutes
Bath Skyline Walk
Just a short stroll from Bath’s historic city centre, the Bath Skyline Walk allows walkers to enter another world, onto the skyline hills above Bath and beyond, through six miles of meadows and ancient woodlands to secluded valleys. Starting from Bathwick Hill, the route is a circular loop which has varying landscapes passing historic landmarks such as Sham Castle and following paths through a number of woodland areas such as Bathwick Wood and Bathampton Wood.
There are multiple viewing points on this route where you can stop for snaps or a scenic picnic. In the last few miles of the walk, you can see glimpses of Bath nestling among the hills at the foot of the picturesque Lyncombe Vale. At the head of this vale is Prior Park. In the foreground, the humps and bumps in the field are surprisingly created by the yellow meadow ant. During your walk you may even spot some green woodpeckers, jays and buzzards. The route also takes you through Smallcombe Wood, which is probably the prettiest wood you’ll find for miles with its diverse shrubs and trees and it happens to be the most ancient woods in Bath.
Drive time from central Bristol: 42 minutes
At almost 400ft deep and 3 miles long, Cheddar Gorge is England’s largest gorge (in case you didn’t know) and a truly spectacular sight thanks to its weathered crags and pinnacles. The cliff-top walk takes people round a 3-mile route and rewards walkers with some of the finest views in Somerset. Cheddar Gorge is also home to primitive goats and the UK’s biggest flock of Soay sheep who roam free and keep the scrub down. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the Cheddar pink, a delicate flower which is only found in Cheddar! Once up on the cliffs there are a number of points where you can see magnificent views of Cheddar, Glastonbury Tor, the Somerset levels and Bridgwater Bay.
Drive time from central Bristol: 43 minutes
Chew Magna Circular
If you’re looking for a short walk not far from the city then the circular walk from the beautiful village of Chew Magna, just nine miles from Bristol, is a great choice. Chew Magna is the largest village in the district and was a prosperous cloth-making area back in the day. The three-mile circular walk gives you a chance to enjoy the many historic buildings within the village as well as field paths that give great views of the surrounding hills and a few of the ancient stone bridges which cross the River Chew and Winford Brook. The walk takes around an hour but feel free to stop halfway for fish and chips at Salt & Malt, which has an amazing view of the Chew Valley Lake and is also has a unit at Bristol’s Wapping Wharf. Or you can put your feet up after you finish the walk with some pub grub at dog friendly pub, The Pelican.
Drive time from central Bristol: 23 minutes