For some Bristol dwellers, cycling along the Bristol – Bath Railway Path is the first thought on waking up to a glorious summer day. This 13 mile route has a rather unpromising start, found by passing through an industrial and slightly insalubrious area of Bristol. However, once on it you’re soon away, leaving the city behind as you pass through the cool and dark Staple Hill Tunnel and emerge into the picturesque countryside of South Gloucestershire.
Along the way there are plenty of idyllic picnic spots and opportunities to cool off in the River Avon. You can also take a ride on a heritage steam train at Bitton, or just enjoy watching it puff past. A couple of decent pubs provide refreshments; it’s worth taking the turning for Saltford and heading to the Jolly Sailor to sit in the garden overlooking Saltford Lock supping a local ale. This can be a destination in itself, located 9 miles from Bristol. Otherwise, continue on to Bath and spend a few hours wandering around this pretty spa town. For those who feel this is quite enough exercise for one day, trains run frequently back to Bristol, taking just 10 minutes.
The path can get busy but never unpleasantly so as it remains at a comfortable three metre width for the duration. There are also no significant hills to contend with, meaning it has all the makings of a fun, free and active day out, suitable for all ages and levels – the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of longer days.
www.bristolbathrailwaypath.org.uk contains all the information about the route, history and attractions.
www.avonvalleyrailway.org has information about the heritage railway
www.jollysailorpub.com has menus and photos
Google map: bit.ly/GYAGhT
Like Rome, Bristol lies on seven hills. Despite this, cycling remains the best way to get about. The city can get congested and the public transport system is in the hands of an unresponsive privately owned monopoly. The Bristol - Bath cycle path is a great 13 mile traffic-free ride that takes you along the River Avon and past a number of decent pubs.
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