Walk 1567 - printer friendly version
Keynsham to Bath on the south side of the Avon Walk
Author - Peter Schofield
Length - 11.1 miles / 18 km
Ascent - 690 feet / 209 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference ST656685
Lat 51.414467 + Long -2.4960367
Postcode BS31 1HG (approx. location only)
While it doesn't visit any particular points of interest, if you like the typical English countryside, quiet villages, old buildings and historic churches, then you will find much to enjoy on this walk. The route runs from Keynsham to Bath along the northern fringes of the Mendip Hills, and its proximity to both Bath and Bristol ensures that it is well served by public transport.
The route starts at the north entrance to Keynsham Memorial Park in High St. (grid ref. ST656685) and follows the tarmac path through the park to arrive at the south entrance after about 0.3m. Go ahead for a few yards, turn right and then left and after twenty yards, enter a former mill complex now converted into apartments. Bear right following a waymarker, turning left after a few yards at another waymarker to emerge on to a riverside path.
At this point, the urban area is left behind and the distinctive markers of the Two Rivers Way indicate the route through quiet water meadows alongside the River Chew to the pretty village of Compton Dando. Where the path reaches a lane on the outskirts of the village, turn left and after 200 yds keep straight on at the junction. After a further 20yds, turn left immediately before the Compton Inn and follow a footpath across a field to arrive at a farm.
Turn left at a stile and then right along a lane, ignoring the first right turn to reach a byway on the right after 200yds (grid ref. ST653644). Follow the byway to reach a ford (which fortunately you can avoid by the presence of a higher level footpath) at the attractive quiet hamlet of Tuckingmill. Continue along the access road past the houses and after a few yards, go right up a slightly overgrown path and cross a stile.
The path is easily followed across undulating meadows above Bathford Brook to reach a series of dilapidated barns at Court Farm on the edge of Marksbury. A diversionary route is signed around the farm which arrives at a lane where you turn left and climb to reach the village centre. At the top of the lane, cross the village green and continue up a lane ahead to reach the busy A368 road. To the right of the green, the listed Beckets Place House with its date stone of 1668 is worthy of note.
Turning right on to the A368, the tower of the mainly 15thC St. Peter's church is seen on the opposite side of the road. Cross the road immediately before the churchyard and go left through a gate into a short section of overgrown section of woodland which emerges at a field gate. Keep straight ahead along the clear path towards the village of Stanton Prior whose church tower is clearly visible to the left. For the first time on the walk, a view opens out with the distinctive clump of trees on Kelston Round Hill clearly visible on the opposite side of the Avon Valley.
Where the path emerges at a road on the edge of Stanton Prior, turn right and follow the road through this attractive village past the church of St.Lawrence parts of which date from the 12thC. If you have time to spare, enter the churchyard and go around the back of the church to see the gravestone unusually built into the SW tower buttress. It records the death of one John Brookman who died in 1675 together with other members of his family.
Continue past the church for 150 yds to arrive at a road junction and go straight ahead across a couple of fields to reach a quiet lane. Cross a stile opposite, following the field boundary through a gate on to a sunken lane which at the time of writing was quite overgrown. Fortunately, the overgrown section is fairly short and you soon arrive at a stile on the edge of Newton Park, a large 18thC estate designed by Capability Brown. A nearby board provides more information about the estate and its history. The contrast between the order of the estate parkland and the overgrown chaos immediately preceding it is quite stark!
Climb up the hill from the stile from where the route ahead is clearly indicated by an avenue of trees. The buildings of Bath Spa University which now occupies the estate can be seen in front of you. Follow the road through the modern university buildings and after 300 yds, stop to have a look to your left at the keep and gateway of St. Loe's castle, a fortified manor house dating from the 14thC. If you wish, it's possible to end the walk at this point as bus route 15 runs frequently from the university to Bath City Centre.
To continue the walk, keep straight on and where the main access road bears left after a few yards, continue straight on over a cattle grid on to a broad carriage drive (fortunately closed to traffic) which provided the former access to the castle, following it as it sweeps down the hill to arrive at an estate gatehouse on the edge of the attractive village of Newton St.Loe. Turn right to reach the centre of the village with its distinctive oak tree after 100yds. Should time permit, the village with its 14thC Holy Trinity Church is worth exploring. The walk can also be ended here by walking down the hill to the junction of the A4 and A39 roads at the Globe Inn from where bus X39 runs frequently to Bath and Bristol and the 38 returns to the start of the walk at Keynsham.
The route continues down the village street, turning left at a junction after 100yds and then bearing right to arrive at a busy road. Cross the road and go left along the verge on the opposite side to arrive at a lane (grid ref. ST705649). Turn right into the lane and follow it for about a third of a mile to a lane crossing. Turn left into another lane which becomes a path as it descends to the junction of the A4 and A36 roads. As you cross the railway shortly before reaching the road, look to your right at the impressive castellated portal of the tunnel entrance. The line's engineer the mighty Brunel didn't believe in doing things by half! Go over the road at the junction and follow the A4 for twenty yards as it crosses over the route of the former Midland railway, now reincarnated as the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. A set of steps lead down to the path which you follow for three hundred yards to a graffiti strewn bridge over the Avon.
If you've had enough walking by this point, carry on for a further 250yds to the end of the Railway Path and then turn left and immediately right to reach Newbridge Road from where the X39 bus runs frequently to both Bath and Bristol. Alternatively, drop down right immediately after the bridge on to the Riverside Path from where it's about a 1.5m walk into Bath city centre and the end of the walk.
Detailed schedules for all the bus services referred to can be found on the Traveline South West website.