A quintessential British walk or cycling trail in the countryside
If you are dreaming of a bucolic lifestyle in the British countryside where only the birds singing will will accompany in your walk then you will see your dream come true following this family-friendly trail taking you from the Heritage City of Bath to the scenic Bradford on Avon, a little village on the river Avon, hence the name, where you can admire lovely parks and bridges and take a tea in one the cosiest and oldest tea room of the area
! Don’ t forget that this trail is dotted with great pubs playing great traditional live music and folk songs. You will feel like stepping in Hobbitland in the Lord of the Rings Saga drinking your cider or pint of local beer!
I recommend you to do this trail by bike since it is pretty long and can be too monotonous and flat for walking. On the contrary it is very pleasant if done by bike and you can get back by train if you are tired!
Here is the Trail Map taken from the Bathnes website where you can see the description step by step and the highlights of the path.
Facts About the Hike
Distance: 17.5 miles/ 28 km
Elevation Gain: 100 meters ascent/100 meters descent
Time: 3-4 hours
Map: You can follow the directions from the Bathnes Map. Cycling is the best option for this trail.
When to go: This hike is best during the spring and summer months, when the flowers are in bloom and you can stop for lunch at the Century Cross Guns a 16th century traditional British pub and eat beside the river.
Bring: Hiking shoes, water, snacks or lunch, a waterproof light jacket (remember you are in UK!), and of course, your camera.
Getting to the start of the hike
By Foot or Bike: the easiest way to come to the start of the hike coming from Bath is to go to Sidney Gardens and reach the canal and go towards South. You can start at any point of the Canal such as Bathford from the George Inn.
On the Trail
This is one of my favourite cycling traffic-free routes where you don’t have to worry about cars, and you can just breath some fresh air, smell the blossoming flowers in spring, watch the animals grazing in the greenest valleys you have ever seen and just be happy to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
The Kenneth and Avon Canal is an 87 miles canal connecting Bristol to London via series of locks that needs to be opened manually and contribute to the charm of this moorings. Once used for trade and goods transport it has fallen in decay due to the transports revolution replaced by trains in 19th century. It has then been restore by volunteers who worked hard to re-establish the beauty of such a great place.
Many villages are situated along the canal and you can visit them renting a boat organising a cruise or cycling and you will come across the best landscape England has to offer. You can also paddle on the canal or hire a kayak. Check the Kenneth and Avon canal website to find more details about different ways to explore the canal and what to visit.
The Dundas Aqueduct, the first chairman of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company – Charles Dundas, is a great place for picnics or to have lunch at the Angelfish restaurant or to watch the boats sliding on the water and observe the fascinating mechanism of opening and closing the locks allowing the boats to go up and down with the water level.
At this point follow the directions for Bradford on Avon and watch the rich wildlife of this area: bats, kingfishers, herons, squirrels, ducks and much more!
You will approach Avon cliff Aqueduct, an astonishing building more than 100 meters long that creates a lovely background to the famous pub called the Cross Guns Inn, a great place for yummy home-made burgers and other classic dishes of British cuisine! You can also stop for a local beer or cider and listen to traditional local bands playing old British ballads: a truly great experience! The pub also features a riverside terrace and gardens where you can rest on deckchairs and bask in the sun!
You can occasionally meet some lovely local horses with great paws which are typical of this area!
I you are tired you can take the train to go back to Bath at Avoncliff but they are not very frequent in this tiny train station. Alternatively you will finally approach the picturesque Bradford on Avon, his bridges and parks and lovely quirky tea shops! Have a look at Tithe Barn, a medieval construction with a sophisticated roof scheme inside!
Bradford upon Avon is very demanded and not very cheap in terms of estate market for the typical countryside setting close to bigger towns such as Bath but quiet enough for a real countryside retreat far from all the chaos.
Once you reached the village take a cup of tea (and maybe a lush piece of cake) in one of these cosy vintage places:
- The Bridge Tea Rooms: this famous iconic place for afternoon tea will surprise with his old style and you would almost feel in one of those period drama films I love so much! From the fine china tea plates, the decorated tea pot, the fine food presentation, staff in Victorian costumes, the quality of ingredients and the external façade I truly recommend this spot for a treat or a girls afternoon!
- The Secret Garden: this tiny coffee and tea shop has a cosy atmosphere and it features a nice terrace outside and lovely wooden upstairs rooms with fireplaces and furniture. I truly thought I was in Snow white’s house. Everything is truly charming and creates a cosy atmosphere perfect to get shelter on a rainy day with a great cup of tea, afternoon teas, cakes and vegetarian home-made dishes!
More Information about Bradford-on-Avon hikes
If you are looking for additional idyllic walks in the Bradford on Avon area this little guide can you some nice week-end idea to hike the area.Beyond Where Wiltshire Meets Somerset: 20 More Best Walks in the Country Around Bath, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster & Frome – Plus Box and Corsham