Eight stunning walking routes through nature in and around Bristol

Eight stunning walking routes through nature in and around Bristol

Posted on: 02 Aug 2022

Bristol is one of the greenest cities in the UK and, with that, comes a whole heap of green spaces to explore, whether that be a planned route or a spontaneous ramble.


As well as the classic routes through Leigh Woods and Ashton Court, Bristol and the city’s surrounding area boast a plethora of hidden gems when it comes to hikes.


So, if you want to test yourself with an epic journey from the commotion of the city to the sleepy peacefulness of the countryside or just fancy a simple stroll through one of Bristol’s very own beautiful nature reserves, we’ve got an option for you.


Read on for our pick of the bunch when it comes to walks through nature in Bristol and the surrounding area…



The Mendip Way


A mere 30-minute walk away from Bristol, The Mendip Way is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful trails in the UK. The epic 50-mile-long route, split into West and East, connects Weston-Super-Mare, Cheddar, Wells, Shepton Mallet and Frome, featuring sublime views and famous settlements along the way.


Overall, the walk can take between 3 and 5 days to complete, with campsites, historic villages such as Priddy and the UK’s smallest city (Wells) all featuring along the route.


However, if you’re looking to experience the beauty of the Mendip Way without undertaking the colossal challenge of walking the whole thing, the route is also suitable for a shorter jaunt with Frome, Wells and Cheddar all possible starting points. More information can be found here.

Leigh Woods veteran tree walk


A far shorter walk that does not require a drive out of Bristol, the ‘Leigh Woods veteran tree walk’ is one of many available routes through the city’s very own nature reserve.


The southern area of the woods was formerly a wood pasture and, therefore, the site boasts a large and varied number of veteran trees, mainly oak pollards. This historic trail is one mile long and should take the average walker between 30 and 45 minutes. There is also parking readily available.


Due to the vast nature of Leigh Woods (it is a 2-square-kilometre area of woodland), there are also various other walks on offer featuring stunning views over the Avon Gorge and peaceful places to take in the green landscape. More information can be found here.

Goblin Combe


In contrast with the area’s eerie name, this is one of Somerset’s most beautiful spots with airy grasslands and thick woodland. The Combe is an ancient gorge, cut into the limestone by ice during the last ice age with patches of heath overlooking dense trees.


It is a great spot for wildlife (including butterflies) and offers remarkable views across Mendip with plenty of walking routes throughout this 99-hectare site. Visitors should be aware that the walk features steep paths, potentially slippery footpaths and various cliffs and scree slopes.


Access to Goblin Combe and parking can be found on Cleeve Hill Road, Cleeve. Get to know the site here.

Bristol to Bath Railway Path


Beginning at St Phillips Road, Easton and ending at Pulteney Bridge, Bath, this route is traditionally a cycle path but is also the perfect way to travel on foot between the two cities.


It is a 13-mile-long, traffic-free trail that runs along a disused railway line. The path features multiple places to buy refreshments, including the opportunity for a boozy pub lunch at Saltford, as well as sculptures and working steam engines in Bitton. 


Once in Bath, walkers can make the most of the city’s Georgian grandeur by visiting such attractions as the Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa and Bath Abbey. Find out more here.

Laurie Lee Wildlife Way


Situated within the breathtaking beauty of the Cotswolds, this circular walk was created in 2013 to commemorate celebrated author and poet Laurie Lee - known for prominent works such as Cider with Rosie - in his beloved Slad Valley.


This is a moderately challenging route that generally takes just under 3 hours to complete, linking four nature reserves. The route begins at Bulls Cross, where you can also park, and take walkers through a diverse and beautiful landscape.


From Laurie Lee Wood, you will head up Swift’s Hill where you can spot the spire of Holy Trinity Church, the final resting place of the renowned author. Find out more about Laurie Lee Wildlife Way here.

Badock’s Wood


Back to Bristol now and Badock’s Wood. Located in the north of Bristol, this stunning nature reserve is complete with woodland, streams and meadows as well as The River Trym that flows through the valley.


The site is at least 400 years old, Badock’s Wood provides a natural haven within the busy city, featuring tree carvings and sculptures from artist Andy O’Neill as well as charming wildlife.


Visitors can spend hours here, exploring various trails and taking in the extensive woodland and stunning wildflower meadows with plenty of space for dogs to roam and even paddle. More information can be found on the Bristol City Council website.

Cotswold Way


The longest trail on this list, the Cotswold Way runs the 102-mile distance between the market town of Chipping Campden to Bath. 


The trail runs through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, incorporating rolling pastures, woodland, Cotswold stone villages, Neolithic burial barrows, stately homes and historic battle sites.


Throughout the trail, there are several individual circular and linear walks, including Wortley Sunken Lane, Broadway Tower, and the Stroud Water Canal. For those planning on spending some time along the Cotswold Way, there are multiple picturesque spots to find accommodation. More information can be found here.

Glastonbury Tor Walk


Visible throughout Somerset, Glastonbury Tor is a regular feature in the background of the BBC’s coverage of the region’s world-famous music festival. However, what is less known about the Tor is its link to the Isle of Avalon, where King Arthur is believed to be buried.


This circular walk is around 2 miles long and features a steep, but gradual climb to the top of the Tor. At the summit, walkers will find the 15th-century St Michael’s Tower as well as some of the best views in the country.


At the end of the walk, you’ll end up in Glastonbury, a town that features plenty of spots to grab a pub lunch or afternoon tea after a walk of about 2 hours. Find out more about the trek here.

This is merely a drop in the ocean when it comes to nature walks in Bristol and the surrounding area so why not contact us here and let us know your favourite spot for a hike?

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Article by:

Stanley Gray

Stan is a born and bred Bristolian, recently graduated from studying English Literature in Sheffield. His passions are music and literature and spends the majority of his time in venues all over the city immersing himself in Bristol’s alternative music scene. A lifelong Bristol City fan, Stan’s Saturday’s are spent watching his team both home and away.