A good ride for a grey February day with a chilly north-easterly: let the wind blow you to Weston, then take the train back. Not quite the most direct route, but a simple flight across the marshlands, down the Strawberry Line and along below the south side of the Mendips to enter Weston from the South.
As always when taking the most direct route south west from north west Bristol we start north, following the Avon along Sea Mills Reach, turning west after Horseshoe Bend to run south west down the Gordano Valley and across the north Somerset levels to Yatton. Picking up a pasty from Pullin's the baker provides a picnic on Biddletown Moor on the Strawberry Line (NCN 26). Then southward, tunnelling through the Mendips at Shute Shelve, turning west above Cross and taking the road below the south scarp of the Mendips through Rackley and Bleadon to enter Weston from the south along NCN 33, passing across Walbarrow Common under the ruin of St Nicholas at Uphill and so to the golden sands and silver seas of Weston-super-Mare, a resort for all seasons.
The loop along Barberry Farm Road on entering Yatton gets you to Pullin's bakery and then to the Strawberry Line with minimal use of the busy B road through Yatton. The more conventional right turn straight onto the Strawberry Line takes you past the station cafe. There are also two inns near the station.
When turning onto the A371 at Axbridge use the short section of pavement cycle track at the bottom of the hill to take you left to the dual carriageway section where the sight lines to the right are much better. The A371 carries quarry lorries towards Cheddar, coming from the right. This apart, the section on the A371 is short and the traffic light. At Cross, use the pedestrian island to the right to ease crossing the A38.
After the strange NCN trimming by Sustrans the departed parts of NCN26 near Yatton and Portishead are joined by the back road along the Gordano Valley, which has now resumed its original marking as 'Avon Cycleway' and is just as quiet as it always was.
February on Sea Mills Reach from above Horseshoe Bend.
Winter picnic on Biddletown Moor, crossed by the Strawberry Line.
Brent Knoll on the Somerset Levels seen from above Rackley, below Crook Peak.
Ruined St Nicholas above Uphill, flying the English and Ukrainian flags in late winter 2023.
The Golden Sands of Weston in February.
Brean Down with winter afternoon sunshine silvering the Severn Sea.