Coastal Walks Near Bristol
There's several lovely walks to do along the Bristol Channel near the city of Bristol. Just a few miles to the west you can visit Portishead, Clevedon and Weston-Super-Mare. Here you'll find pretty bays, nice beaches, sandstone cliffs and great views across the Severn Estuary into Wales.
A little further afield you can pick up the West Somerset Coast path and explore highlights such as the Holnicote Estate and Brean Down.
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Coastal Walks Near Bristol Walk Map
|Brean Down||2 miles (4 km)||Explore this beautiful natural pier and enjoy wonderful coastal views on this walk on the Somerset coast. The promontory stands at 318 feet (97 m) high and is a continuation of the Mendip Hills. As such there is some climbing involved but you are rewarded with wonderful views of the Bristol Channel, south Wales and Weston Super Mare. At the seaward end you will find Brean Down Fort which was built in 1865 and then re-armed in the Second World War. |
The area is a nature reserve and has an abundance of interesting flora and fauna. Look out for birds including peregrine falcon, dunnock and kestrel. Butterfly species include chalkhill blue, dark green fritillary, meadow brown and marbled white. In the summer months there are lots of pretty wildflowers and plants including Somerset hair grass, wild thyme, horseshoe vetch and birds-foot-trefoil.
This circular walk starts at the car park and takes you to the fort, Howe Rock and Sprat Beach at the end of the promontory. You return on an alternative path. There is a cafe at car park where you can enjoy refreshments after your walk.
If you'd like to cycle to the reserve then you could follow National Cycle Network route 33 from Burnham-on-Sea or Weston-super-Mare.
The West Mendip Way starts from Uphill next to the down. You could pick this up and head to the nearby Bleadon Hill to extend your walk.
Just to the north of Weston-Super-Mare you will find the wonderful Sand Point. This is a similar area to Brean Down with a beautiful peninsula jutting out into the Bristol Channel. View Full Details>>
|Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve||2 miles (2.5 km)||Explore this beautiful nature reserve on this short walk in the Somerset Levels. The reserve is situated on the mouth of the River Parrett with lovely views over the estuary to Stert Island and Burnham-on-Sea. It consists of extensive areas of mudflats, sand banks, reed beds and saltmarshes attracting a large number of birds. Look out for shelduck, curlew, redshank and oystercatcher from the excellent elevated bird hide. There is also an abundance of interesting flora with wildflowers and plants including Somerset hair grass,wild thyme, horseshoe vetch and birds-foot-trefoil. |
Steart Marshes nature reserve is also located on the south side of the peninsula with otters, egrets, owls waders and wildfowl to look out for.
The River Parret Trail starts from Bridgwater Bay so you can pick this up to extend your walking in the area. The lovely waterside trail heads south to the nearby village of Combwich and then on to Bridgwater.
This walk start from the Steart car park but you could also start from Combwich or Bridgwater and follow the River Parret Trail to the reserve.
You could also head west along the estuary towards Hinckley Point Nuclear Power Station. It's a lovely walk with great views of the Sterte Flats and Catsford Common. View Full Details>>
|Dunster Castle||8 miles (13 km)||Explore the parkland, woodland and Historic Deer Park surrounding this Norman Castle near Minehead. From the castle there are fabulous views toward the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and Exmoor. View Full Details>>|
|Holnicote Estate||3 miles (5 km)||This walk visits Selworthy Beacon and Bury castle in the splendid Holnicote Estate in Somerset. You start off in the village of Selworthy next to the church, and head to the nearby Bury Castle where you will find an Iron Age enclosure dating back to 400 B.C. You then climb to the 308 metres (1,010 ft) high Selworthy Beacon where there are marvellous views across Exmoor and the Somerset coast. It is one of the highest points in the Exmoor National Park along with Dunkery Beacon. From the high point you descend on Folly Combe, returning to the church soon after.|
If you would like to continue your walking in the area you could head to the nearby Dunkery Beacon. It is the highest point in Exmoor and consists of a beautiful nature reserve with woodland walks. You could also pick up the South West Coast Path and head west along this lovely stretch of coastline towards Bossington Hill and Porlock or east toward Minehead. View Full Details>>
|Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead||3 miles (5.5 km)||This circular walk explores a beautiful area of coast and countryside in the Quantocks. |
The walk starts at the large car park just north of Kilve. It's a short walk from here to the fascinating Kilve Beach. Part of the Jurassic coastline the beach is a good place for fossil hunting. You'll also pass the Oil retort which was built in 1924 to burn the oil rich shale beds here. Though the venture failed the old building remains.
The footpath passes along the coast with great views of the cliffs and surrounding countryside. You then turn inland to the village of East Quantoxhead. It's a pretty place with thatched cottages, a medieval tithe barn, a duck pond, a mill house and an interesting manor house with a medieval tower. The route then leaves the village and passes more countryside and some woodland before returning you to the car park. View Full Details>>
|Lorna Doone Walk||5 miles (8.8 km)||Explore Exmoor's beautiful Doone Valley on this fine literary walk. The area has strong connections with Richard Dodderidge Blackmore's 1869 novel 'Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor'. The walk notably visits Oare church, scene of Lorna Doone's dramatic wedding day.|
Start the walk from the County Gate Car Park (EX35 6NQ), just off the A39 north of Malmsmead. From here you can pick up the trails heading north east towards the Glenthorne Beach on the coast. Around here you pick up a section of the South West Coast Path to take you through Yenworthy Wood.
The route heads south across Yenworthy Common, before passing along Deddy Combe to Oare. Here you can visit the 15th century Church of St Mary with its Norman font, cherubic memorials and strong links with the novel.
From here head south west to cross Badgworthy Water where you pick up the Samaritans Way South West. Follow it north along the water through Malmsmead before returning to the car park. View Full Details>>
|Poets Walk Clevedon||1 miles (2 km)||This short walk in Clevedon follows the Poet's Walk footpath along the cliff tops to the west of the town. The walk is inspired by some of the poets and writers who have visited Clevedon. These include Coleridge in 1795 and Tennyson in 1834. It's also a local nature reserve and includes calcareous grassland, coastal scrub, woodland, with fine views over the Bristol Channel. |
The walk starts in a lovely spot at the pretty Marine Lake at Salthouse Bay. From here you can pick up the little path heading south west along the coast. It runs down to Wain's Hill where there is an univallate Iron Age Fort. The hillfort is defined by a steep, natural slope from the south and north with two ramparts to the east. You can follow footpaths round the hill to the noteworthy St Andrew's Church. Parts of the original 12th century church remain with 14th and 15th century additions also. It's located in a fine elevated spot overlooking the Bristol Channel, and has been designated as a Grade I listed building. View Full Details>>
|Porlock and Porlock Weir||6 miles (9 km)||This circular walk from the town of Porlock uses sections of the South West Coast Path and the Coleridge Way to take you on a tour of the coast and woods surrounding the town. |
The walk starts in Porock and follows the South West Coast Path east to Bossington before turning west along Porlock Bay to the pretty village of Porlock Weir. It's a very popular area with a lovely harbour and lots of attractive little cottages, many of which date from the 17th century. After exploring the village the walk returns to Porlock via woodland trails around West Porlock. View Full Details>>
|Portishead Nature Reserve Walk||2 miles (4 km)||An easy circular walk around the Portsbury Wharf Nature Reserve in Portishead. The attractive 113 acre site provides a vital buffer of green land between Portishead and the Portbury Dock industrial complex. |
You can start the walk fro the Portishead Marina car park, located next to the reserve. Here you can pick up footpaths heading east onto the site, which includes two large pools, several ponds, grazing marsh, hay meadows and hedgerows. There's also a number of bird hides where you can look out for a variety of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for curlew, dunlin, redshank and shelduck as you make your way around the site. View Full Details>>
|Portishead to Clevedon||5 miles (8.5 km)||Follow the coastal path from Portishead to Cleveland on this point to point walk in Somerset. There's pretty bays, nice beaches, sandstone cliffs and great views across the Severn Estuary into Wales. The route runs along a fairly flat path for about 5 miles.|
The walk starts from the Portishead Lake where there is a nice park, lakeside cafe and car parking. Just to the north is Portishead Point lighthouse at Battery Point which is another good start point for the walk.
From the park you head south along the Mariner's Path to Black Nore lighthouse. The Grade II listed building was built in 1894 to guide shipping in the Severn Estuary as it made its way in and out of Bristol Harbour.
You continue past Redcliff Bay, Charlcombe Bay and Walton Bay where you reach the coastal golf course. The route continues past the 17th Century, Grade II listed Walton Castle and Ladye Bay before passing along the sea front in Clevedon and finishing at the pier. You can either return the same way or catch the bus back. View Full Details>>
|Sand Point||3 miles (5.5 km)||Enjoy fine views across the Bristol Channel to Wales on this coastal walk on the edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Sand Point is an extraordinary peninsula stretching out from Middle Hope over the Bristol Channel. The area is geologically significant with carboniferous limestone and unusual volcanic intrusions. It is also historically fascinating with bowl barrow and disc barrow dating from late Neolithic or Bronze Age and the site of a likely motte-and-bailey castle. It's also the site of Woodspring Priory, a former Augustinian priory, founded in the early 13th century. The area is managed by the National Trust and is a popular place for walkers with its wonderful views towards Flat Holm island, South Wales, Clevedon, the Second Severn Crossing and the Severn Bridge. There's also lots of wildlife to look out for with various coastal birds visiting the bays below. Keep your eyes peeled for curlews, little egrets, redshank and sandpipers as you make your way across the headland.|
Sand Point is located just to the north of Weston-super-Mare, near the village of Kewstoke. You can start your walk from the Sand Point car park at the end of Beach Road, next to the lovely Sand Bay. Then follow the footpath east towards St Thomas Head, passing Woodspring Priory on the way. From here there's nice views down to Woodspring Bay and up the coast to Clevedon.
After taking in the views from St Thomas Head you turn west and head back towards Middle Hope. On the way you can descend to the pretty beach where you can look out for seals. Also look out for the fascinating volcanic rock formations known as pillow lavas, formed as molten lava cooled quickly as it flowed under the sea.
The walk finishes by climbing towards Swallow Cliff where you reach a height of about 130ft, with great views over Sand Bay to enjoy. From the high point you descend back to the finish point at the car park.
To extend your walking in the area you could head south and visit Worlebury Hill where there are nice views over Weston-Super-Mare and woodland trails in the pretty Weston Woods.
In Weston-Super-Mare you can also pick up the West Mendip Way long distance trail and explore the Mendip Hills.
You could also visit the splendid Brean Down which is a similarly beautiful coastal promontory. View Full Details>>
|West Somerset Coast Path||25 miles (40 km)||Follow the beautiful Somerset coast through the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on this lovely coastal walk.|
The walk begins at the car park at Steart, next to the Bridgwater Bay Nature Reserve. You then follow the path west, along the coast, to the village of Watchet with its pretty harbour and piers.
From Watchet, you continue to Minehead along Blue Anchor Bay and Dunster Beach Nature Reserve.
This is an excellent walk for anyone with an interest in geology as local people have uncovered the remains of elk antlers and wild boar tusks on the shores. Fossilised oak and yew tree sections are also still visible in places.
Also of interest are the views of Flat Holm and Steep Holm Islands which you can visit by boat from Minehead in the summer. On a clear day, there are also good views of the South Wales coast across the Bristol Channel. View Full Details>>
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