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  Avon Cycleway

138

KILOMETERS

8

TIME/HOURS

1877

METRES CLIMBED

87

MILES

The Avon Cycleway was created in 1989 by the now defunct Avon County Council. Designed to circle Bristol, it traverses lanes, dedicated cycle paths and areas of connurbation in North Bristol to produce a delightful ride. There remains quite a lot of infrastructure from dedicated road crossings to quiet lanes and it makes for a hard one day ride or better still, make a weekend of it. 
The route can be divided into 9 manageable sections, each are outlined. Below this is information on things to see, places to eat and what to expect. Finally I have provided links to GPX routes which I have produced. This route was cycled in 2021 and I hope you enjoy it. 
     Neil

Overall Map

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Nine Sections - All at once, or in part, you choose

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Pensford is an arbitory start, because you have to start somewhere. The route heads along a quiet lane that passes under the now disused railway viaduct that last saw a passenger train in 1968. The lane is quiet and leads to Upper Stanton Drew where it is well worth taking the diversion to look at the Stone Circle at Stanton Drew. Through high hedged lanes to Denny Lane which is a delightful lane leading to the northerley edge of Chew Valley reservoir, where you can stop for twa and cake by the lake. The section finsihes shortly afterwards at Chew Stoke
9km, 134 metres climbed
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You climb out of Chew Stoke, zig-zagging through the outskirts of this pretty Somerset village. Keep climbing until you reach a chimney in a field to the right, long since disused. The lanes flatten now as you pass to the south of Winford, heading towards Bristol airport, along whose northern border you will pass before a long descent down the wooded road leading through Brockley Coombe where the end of this section is marked by the traffic lights at the A370
12km, 236m climbed
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You’re into rural North Somerset now as you pass through farming country that has shades of the Somerset Levels to the south. In it’s own way this is one of the prettier sections of the cycleway. The Grade 1 listed Chelvey church dates from the 12th century and you pass this on your right as you ride the lanes. Past the Blue Flame pub, open in the evenings is a real throwback to spit and sawdust pubs, so maybe you could stay at the small campsite opposite. It’s flat riding now as you head west then north crossing a waterway that drains the land around. You bypass Clevedon which is a pity as this seaside retreat is definitely worth a visit, so if you have time, head for the pier and the grand old houses that perch on the hill above. The final part of the ride is a delightful lane parallel to the M5, filled with horses and cyclists.
16km, 335m climbed
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Bristol is a big city, but this section cleverly takes you through the northerly part using quiet roads and cycletracks. From Clapton-in-Gordano a series of lanes takes you towards the Avonmouth Bridge almost in a straight line using a couple of quieter lanes with views of the docks to the left. Through Pill and I’s housing here the 410 signage is excellent, before climbing onto the Avonmouth Bridge that was built in 1974, with a fortuitous traffic free path that leads across the estuary accompanied by the roar of the M5. Heading off the Avonmouth Bridge, the cycleway picks its way through a landscape of tracks, houses and urban development. It continues to be well signed and you’ll even pass a millennium Sustrans marker in an out of the way location. It exits Bristol along a traffic free lane, surrounded by wind turbines, a waterway and plenty of litter. There are pretty parts though especially the unmade track through trees full of mistletoe. The route finishes in Hallen ready for the next stage into the countryside.
17km, 202m climbed
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One of the flatter sections you’ll cycle takes you along the Severn Vale. Being close to Bristol and quiet, it’s popular with local cyclists. For much of the section you’ll get a look at both the new (on the left) and the old (on the right) Severn Bridges leading to the foothills of Wales. Olvaston is the main settlement on this stretch with a shop, church, pub and even a bakery. This leads to one of the few climbs before dropping into Littleton-on-Severn to finish at the pub and the Sustrans millennium sign opposite.
16km, 146m climbed
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Heading west, there will be more climbing than the previous section, but nothing strenuous as you gradually rise and fall with some lovely views across the Severn Valley. Round the outskirts of Thornbury with a grand church on the corner before the major climb of this section to cross the A38 (take care) to the high point at Milbury Heath with grand views and even a seat by the roadside. You’ll hear the traffic from a distance, which is explained by crossing the M5, after which the lanes narrow through woodland, passing the odd coombe to finish with a climb to Wickwar.
18km, 275m climbed
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Descend from Wickwar for extensive views. For so close to Bristol, it’s a surprise to find a large common, but Hawkesbury Common provides an unfenced road scattered with small holdings and good views. The Somerset Monument looms ahead on the hill, but don’t worry, although you can go that way the cycleway doesn’t, instead turning right for another dose of common riding with pretty churches in the distance on the left. The section to Horton is a delight as you pass working farms along a very pretty lane. The area you are heading for is increasingly populated especially close to Yate but the route snakes its way around even using a specially built cyclepath away from the road. You finish at Iron Acton at a pub with quite some façade
20km, 200m climbed
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This part is almost a straight line due south and it starts with a lovely gated lane free of traffic through the fields.  Welcome to Frampton Cotterell reads the sign as the route passes through this settlement to the north of Bristol passing shops and a welcome tearoom. Out the south side, under a viaduct and along a dedicated quiet lane where the cars are encouraged to stay under 30mph making it a safer ride. Crossing Westerleigh road leads to a dedicated cyclepath which heads to of Mangotsfield’s stations where two retaining walls remain in place. Carry straight on here and you will end up in the centre of Bristol, but you head south along the Bristol Bath Railway line, the first cycle path put in place by Sustrans. Increasingly popular, it’s now used for 2.7 million trips a year. Towards the south the Avon Valley Railway have reclaimed a section and it is at Bitton Station that this section finishes.
16km, 148m climbed
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From the railway station at Bitton, carry on down the railway path towards Bath. By the Millennium signpost leave the path to enter Saltford, leaving this and into the countryside to the west of Bath.  Through the lanes with views of Bristol to the right to arrive at Compton Martin. Climb again, then a pretty descent through Woolard and onto Pensford with its amazing railway viaduct. The Route heads left just before the centre, but take a minute to go a little further into the village for a impressive view of church and viaduct.
14km, 201m climbed
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Along the way

Below are a list of things to see, places to eat and places to stay

                  Places on interest

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The Avon Cycleway isn't packed with lots of places to visit, but there are a few places along the way
Pensford
Built in 1874 for the railway, the Pensford Viaduct carried trains for just over 90 years to Bristol. Today it towers over the village. It can be looked at/ridden under but cannot be accessed.
Stanton Drew
You need to divert a kilometre for this but Stanton Drew Stone Circle is definitely worth a visit. It is the third largest stone circle in England and for  £1 admission (for the landowner) it's worth it.
Clevedon
The Avon Cycleway, bypasses Clevedon which is a shame as the town has a lovely seafront overlooking the Bristol Channel. Don't miss the pier and if you do have time, explore the streets inland where enormous Victorian houses lie. You will though pass Clevedon Court. Managed by the National Trust, this 14th century house has gardens to explore
Thornbury
Has a pretty centre, again the cycleway goes to the west and north, worth a detour
Brandy Bottom Colliery
By the side of the cycle path and fenced off, Brandy Bottom Colliery was a 19th century steam colliery

Food and Drink

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Each section starts and finishes near a pub, however there are some notable places on the way around that are suitable for cyclists
Chew Valley Lake
By the lake is the Salt and Malt Cafe, With views of the lake this is a popular place
Clevedon
You'll need to divert to the seafront as there is nothing along the route itself
Bristol
As you pass through the Lawrence Weston area of Bristol, there are shops and cafe's
Thornbury
The pretty town of Thornbury has cafes and shops
Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell
You've mostly passed through countryside to this point. Frampton Cotterell has a few shops and the Gingerbread Man cafe
Bristol Bath Railway Path
This has a number of places, but the one that offers indoor seating is at the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton
Saltford
Saltford offers a few shops and The Little Coffee Shop which is located just past the garage as you cross the main road.

Somewhere to Stay

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It is outside the scope of this resource to list all the hotels, bed and breakfast and pubs that you can stay at.
For camping and budget accommodations, there is little choice should you wish to make a weekend of this
Camping
There is one campsite on the route, another is close, but they are in the same area.
You pass Myrtle Farm It's a small camping and caravan site. Mendip View Camping is close to the route
YHA
Bristol YHA provides good value right in the centre
You could stay here and treat this as a weekend. On day one, take the Portway Cyclepath to the Avonmouth Bridge and pick up the Cyclepath there. Return via the Bristol Bath cycle path (At the old Mangotsfield Station, carry straight on and follow the signs). On day two, take the Bristol Bath cycle path out to Mangotsfield and follow the route to Avonmouth returning along the Portway.

Getting there

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Train Stations
There are none that are on the route and none in the bigger towns that this route passes through, however there are some that are close and these are marked above.

You could take the train the Bristol Temple Meads and cycle out via the Bristol Bath Cyclepath or make it into a weekend staying in the centre of Bristol.

Useful Websites

A group has looked into looking after and documenting the cycle path. They have constructed a very good website at http://avoncycleway.co.uk which complements this web page
Sustrans also have a page set aside for this route, but the information offered here and above is far more detailed.

Signs

This route has gone through a few changes.
It was originally marked out with the Avon Cycleway signs and you will still see these as you go around
Later it was remained 41 and these are still there. Another change was to rename it as 410 and you will see these as well.

You will also see 3 and 4. These are not the Avon Cycleway but where the long distance routes use this route.

The route though (In 2021) was very well marked and thank you to those that do this. Sticky signs are frequent (see bollards below) and even the new diversion in 2021 around house building in Larence Weston had new signage.

The perfect one is the 410/Avon Cycleway.

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