These Are The Best Winter Walks Less Than One Hour From Bristol

Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd - Staff Writer


If you need a break from your local scenery, or those four walls of yours, these winter walks less than an hour away from the city centre of Bristol make for great, short walking trips to do during your weekend and free time.

The Downs

Particularly striking when covered in a frosty blanket, The Downs is a whopping 440 acres in size. It’s pretty flat and therefore suitable for all, especially when it comes to getting some fresh air with friends or family. Bordering Clifton and Redland, there are some beautiful houses to admire as well as tree-lined avenues and stunning views over the Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and the distant Severn Bridge. Extend your walk towards Clifton Village and warm yourself up with a takeaway hot chocolate from one of the many cafés there. Discover 8 of Bristol’s best hot chocolate spots to warm you up here.

Drive time from central Bristol: 15 minutes

Blaise Castle Estate

Set in 650 acres of parkland, with a massive children’s play area, museum and 19th century manor house (although Blaise Museum is currently closed, the Blaise Castle Estate is perfect for winter walks and exploring. Stroll up to the folly castle before sauntering back down to a babbling stream and leaf-strewn woodland floor, past tree-heavy views of Bristol. Both adults and children alike will love searching for landmarks relating to the Bristol Giants within the grounds. Not a rugby team, but ancient folklore claims the activity of these mythical giants led to the creation of some of the most stunning gorges, causeways and natural landscapes in the UK.

Drive time from central Bristol: 25 minutes

Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills

Perfect for both those on foot and for those who require wheelchair access, you’ll find plenty to discover at Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills. The estate located north-east of the city offers riverside walks, a nature trail, orienteering path and lots of bird and squirrel life, despite only being around four miles out of the city centre. Beyond the parkland, you can follow the path down to the river Frome, then on towards Snuff Mills, an historic section of the Frome Valley Walkway, where you’ll discover beautiful flowing water and it’s a great place to dust off those cobwebs from being inside for so long.

Drive time from central Bristol: 13 minutes

Ashton Court Estate

Get some fresh air at Ashton Court Estate, a massive stretch of countryside that lies just the other side of Clifton Suspension Bridge. The 850 acres of wide-open green space and woodland welcome cyclists, mountain-bikers, horse riders, golfers, families and walkers (and plenty of wheelchair and buggy-friendly paths). Plus, it is also the venue for the infamous Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Ashton Court Estate has been home to deer for over 600 years so you’ll find plenty of deer wandering in fenced-off areas, as well as breathtaking views across the city, especially when bathed in a magical light. Behind the stately home there’s a dog-friendly café in the old stables which is open for takeaway only currently. This estate is also a great spot for sledging, should it be cold enough for snow.

Drive time from central Bristol: 15 minutes

Leigh Woods

Not far from Ashton Court Estate, this National Trust woodland is great for a drizzly day as many of the paths run under cover of the trees. On a bright, sunny day (although rare during winter), Leigh Woods turns into a magical, fairy-like woodland area. There’s a range of colour coded paths and mountain bike tracks as well as a play trail for children. For a great photo opportunity, make your way to Nightingale Valley on the edge of the woods for jaw-dropping views over the Avon Gorge and Suspension Bridge.

Drive time from central Bristol: 15 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 a takeaway 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.

Drive time from central Bristol: 23 minutes

Cheddar Gorge

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 shrub down. 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

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