This Indian summer has prompted me to explore a few walks near Bristol that have been on my ‘to do’ list. I walked them with my son, who is on the cusp of leaving home for university. What gems they turned out to be.

 

The first, Goblin Coombe to Wrington, was gastronomically led.  The exquisite Barley Wood Walled Garden plays host to the Ethicurean, a multiple award winning restaurant committed to local, organic and seasonal cooking. Its bucolic setting puts you in a Victorian time warp and you could happily spend the whole day here (actually the service is rather slow so it’s just as well the view is so gorgeous).  Goblin Coombe is, in my opinion, best visited in the Autumn, preferably on a misty morning before the sun has burned through.  The ancient yew trees give it an Arthurian feel and, when my son was small, he loved coming here, expectantly anticipating the knights of the round table to gallop through the mists towards him. The walk was about a 7 mile round trip – and it was stodgy and boggy in places. We loved it though, especially the added bonus of visiting the delightful Cleeve Farm Shop on the way home.

 

Steve, one of our walkers, told me about the Mendips ridge walk running from King’s Wood to Crook Peak. It’s perfect for Nordic walking. There are steep sections where you can really get stuck in and punch those poles in to help propel you up (and support you down) and close-cropped pasture along Wavering Down where you can slot into a steady rhythm. It’s probably somewhere between 4 and 5 miles long with a few good hills thrown in. The views were magnificent and it was dry and easy under foot.  Not the place to go when it’s wet and windy though!

 

The final walk, which we did this morning, was a circular walk around Sand Point, just north of Weston-super-Mare. It was an inland and costal walk all-in-one, with highlights being the ancient Priory of Woodspring, the Middle Hope Nature Reserve, magnificent views up and down the Bristol Channel and a chance to try out Nordic walking along the beach.  This was a five star walk with a tea shop at the end and I can’t wait to show it to you!

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