Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that my second walk doesn’t start where the first one ended. My rules you see don’t say I have to do that. A look at the map shows a good route along the coast between Clevedon and Portishead, but south of there around the marshes there is no path along the coast and I also have to get across the River Yeo. The nearest bridge to the sea is the M5, but I can’t walk on that (and wouldn’t want to anyway), so I must head inland to the A370 to cross, which is not ideal. The M5 and railway line are also something of an obstruction between the A road and the coast. This means my route is going to be coastal for part and inland through villages for the next. Perhaps if the England Coast Path ever comes to fruition a better route can be found here, but for now this will have to do. So with it in mind that the western part of the route is away from the coast and the eastern one near the coast I decide it would be nicer to end on a lovely bit of the coast than at a railway station in a suburb of Weston-super-Mare. Sorry but if I have a while to wait for the train, it doesn’t look as if there would be much to do in Worle! In addition, the train connections to Worle work quite well, so makes for an easier journey at the start of the walk.
As on my previous walk, I’m travelling on a cheap advance purchase ticket, which has the advantage that my return journey costs less than £20 but the disadvantage that I’m walking to a deadline once more. I have to change at Reading and Bristol Temple Meads to reach Worle, but the journey goes according to plan other than the train from Bristol to Worle is very crowded because the train is only two carriages which might have been sufficient 20 years ago but is nowhere near long enough now and there are passengers standing all along the aisle by the time I get off.
On leaving the station I notice the signs on the platform describe it as Worle, whilst the signs on the approach road call it Worle Parkway, which is a little odd. On reaching the B3440 I turn right and continue ahead at the first roundabout, passing a large retail park with an Argos and Homebase on the left. At a complex junction with traffic lights I cross the road and head north along Queens Way and then take Walford Avenue on the right. I have come prepared today with a street map with the hope of making this part of the walk easier but soon discover I’m in a new estate and many of the roads are not marked on my map. I then take the first road on the right, Pastures Avenue. I’m pleased to be away from the busy main roads and into more suburban railway stations. The houses in this new estate are quite varied and it’s good to see a doctors surgery has been provided too. I’m trying to find Bourton Lane which will take me out to the small hamlet of Bourton, but I bumble around this housing estate taking the dead-end road of Saxon Court. This is one of those estates where the council has the idea of providing houses with too little parking in the hope it will “discourage” people from owning cars. It doesn’t, but what it does do is mean people park them on the pavement instead, so in places I have to walk on the road to get round them.
Thankfully I soon find Bourton Lane which soon crosses the River Banwell, although I suspect river is rather too grand a name for this little stream. The road is quite narrow and twists and turns and does not have a pavement but the traffic is very light so it’s not a problem and I’m glad to be free of the urban sprawl of Weston-super-Mare, although the M5 is close by to my right. It’s another good sunny day and whilst cloud does increase through the day it is warm and dry, so a good day for walking. Soon I reach Bourton which is little more than some barns and a couple of houses. At the T-junction ahead I turn right for another place, also marked Bourton on my map, which is a little odd and now on Ebdon Lane. At the end of Ebdon Lane I turn right into Wick Lane now heading south towards the M5. The traffic is heavier now although still fairly quiet which is just as well, as there is again now pavement.
Soon I cross the M5 motorway, not the first time, on the road bridge, where we briefly gain a pavement. This continues and brings me to another village, West Hewish, which is a few houses and a small business park. I continue on the road, which becomes single-track for cars over the railway bridge, controlled by traffic lights which makes it easier for me to cross. I follow this down to the A370 where I’m pleased to note there is a pavement, but of course also more traffic. My next two obstacles to cross are the Oldbridge River and River Yeo so I’m heading for the village of East Hewish where I can cross the railway and M5 again and on to a bridge over the River Yeo. I soon pass the attractive church in East Hewish and then take the next road on the left.
Escaping the main road at last, this quite road crosses the railway line at the level crossing and continues to Hewish Farm. The map seems to suggest the path cuts through a farm but I go round it on the road and then pick up the footpath heading north west towards the M5 at Phipps Bridge. The path is easy to find and I’m soon walking next to the River Yeo, a small river which twists and turns alongside this meadow.
I cross the bridge at Phipps Bridge and am expecting to be able to cross the M5 here too, because there is a footpath on both sides of the motorway, but there is no bridge and only a pipe going through a little tunnel under the motorway. Disappointed, I turn right on a footpath along the south edge of fields just to the south of the M5. Despite the frustrations and the motorway alongside this is a nice walk alongside a drainage channel and soon passing a little orchard. At the end of this orchard I turn left on another footpath along the farm track, which I can see crosses the M5 via a bridge. Getting onto this bridge is a bit of a challenge as cattle have obviously crosses recently and the bottom is very slippery. Soon I’m over though and come to the road at Yewtree Farm, heading along this and then turning right into Kingston Seymour.
This is a lovely little village, I’m amused by the telephone box painted with flowers and the scarecrow (if that’s what it is), welcoming me to the village!
I head to the village green and then due north along Back Lane heading for Elmleigh Farm. At the junction I fork right passing Poplar Farm and Seawall Farm (not hard to work out how these were named!). At the junction with Lower Strode Road there is a permissive footpath on the map, so I take this turning left and soon reach the sea wall.
This walk looked to be very frustrating up to here, but I’ve enjoyed it far more than I expected probably helped by lovely weather. Despite this I’m very glad to be back alongside the sea and across the M5 and railway line. The rest of the walk promises to be good, following right along the coast for the rest of the way. On reaching the sea wall there is a wide path and it looks like this also goes south, although it’s not clear if this is a dead-end or not. Anyway, I turn north heading for Clevedon. I can see the coast, which until now has been completely flat becomes a little hilly ahead as I reach the little harbour of Clevedon Pill with a few boats moored up in the mud – no doubt this would better at high tide.
I cross what is obviously a man-made river, marked as Blind Yeo on my map, probably to drain the land in Clevedon.
I now follow a good path along the edge of the cliffs with grass to my right. This soon descends to the Marine Lake at Clevedon, which is proving popular and there is a fun fair on the green to the right.
Clevedon, like Portishead, has a mostly mud beach but despite this it’s an attractive town with a particularly elegant pier at the north end.
I follow the busy promenade north passing some colourful cottages on the right and come to the pier. There is a small admission charge on this, but it is such a beautiful structure I decide to walk along it to the end. It has an interesting history, once one of many which was built primarily for steamers that plied the Bristol Channel, crossing to the Welsh side and linking the many towns. Considering how close Wales is (and Cardiff in particular), I often find myself surprised there is no cross-Severn ferry service, as Cardiff is close as the crow flies. In fact after a bit of reasearch I find a company planning just that, Severn Link, but it looks like their plans have been abandoned given the last information is from 2011, I certainly wouldn’t consider their rather optomistic offer to buy pre-launch tickets! Nevertheless it is good to see the pier is being well looked after although sadly a landward building alongside it is boarded up and derelict. On the other side of the estuary I can clearly make out the Welsh coast.
From the pier I head on the lower of two roads, Marine Parade, offering last views back to the pier. Soon a path turns off to the left which runs along the top of the low cliffs here. Soon we I reach a small pebble beach, Ladye Bay which I imagine is a popular spot with the local residents.
I’m following a path here called the Gordano Round. Soon the houses of Clevedon end and the walk is running on the low rocky cliffs with fields and a golf course to the right. This good walk continues for around a mile where I can enjoy the views over the Severn and to Portishead ahead.
Soon I come to a small bay called Pigeon House Bay and just beyond Walton Bay which has a small beach and a large caravan park.
I soon come to another little beach, Charlcombe Bay, where there is a little valley. Soon I come to the edge of Redcliffe Bay and Portishead. I continue along the good coastal path with the houses alongside on the right until I come to the white Lighthouse on the cliffs where I walked last time into Portishead, joining up the two walks.
I head from here back along the roads to the bus stop I used last time and take the bus into Bristol. This was route 358/359 at the time, but I see this is now the X2 and X3. Sadly the journey was not very pleasant, as some very drunk passengers got on in the centre of Portishead. After they becomes incresingly rowdy the driver refuses to continue the journey unless they calm down or get off. They go quiet and the driver continues, but this lasts for all of about 30 seconds. We soon have empty cans of lager rolling around the bus floor before they finally get off on the edge of Bristol to go to a pub – though I have my doubts they will get served anywhere. I’m glad my next walk will mean I don’t have to use this bus again! From there I wander through Bristol to the station and the train home.
This has been a good walk, particularly between Clifton and Portishead, where there is a good coast path, and it’s good to get a few miles right along the coast.
Bristol to Weston-super-Mare and Exeter train timetable (for trains to Worle)