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Severn, Little Avon & Ladden Brook

Almost circular from Severn Beach Station returning direct to BS9.

From Severn Beach station along the river front to New Passage, then out to Oldbury-on-Severn for morning coffee and cake in the Community Cafe. Onward over the marshlands to the Severn Bank at Severn Farm for a picnic lunch.* Return over the modest watershed into the Little Avon valley, straight across the A38 at Lower Stone and then up the Little Avon, descending to cross the bridge at Damery and climb up to Tortworth, with its nine centuries old chestnut, a sprawling ruin of a tree, behind the splendidly aristocratic church of St Leonard's. Return downhill to Cromhall crossing another watershed to run along the west side of the broad Ladden Brook valley, with views to the Cotswold edge, finally crossing back to the Severn marshlands through Alveston and Cattybrook.

* Not as good a river bank spot as Shepperdine for a picnic. The river bank here is concrete on the river side, dropping steeply straight to a narrow grass edge or directly to the mud. The inland side does provide stretches of sloping grassy bank.

The train service to Severn Beach runs every two hours during the day - a useful way of skipping the urban fringe.

If catching the train from Sea Mills there is usually five minutes to spare by the river, here on a calm September morning. 

Sea Mills could also be a useful destination for some routes out of NW Bristol, although for many, once on the train it makes sense to continue to the end of the line.

Severn Beach - mud and new bridge.

Bilsham Lane: autumn reeds in the ditches.

St Arilda's, Oldbury-on-Severn.

Nupdown Lane - Hill.

Severn House farm - the river bank.

Severn House farm - the view inland.

Little Avon bridge - private fishing, private everything else, but the footpath up the river is about fifty yards away, for anyone wanting a short walk.

Tortworth Chestnut - a sprawling wreck of a tree, but definitely big and old.

BS9-Ashton Court-Wrington the bumpy way

Gratuitously bumpy for a destination that can be reached more or less on the level. The bumps give a trip through Ashton Court, views across the Tickenham valley from near St Andrews church Backwell, and down Wrington Hill into Wrington. Tea, coffee and cake at Mother Hen's cafe in Wrington.

Suitable picnic spots in Ashton Court, and on the Millenium Way in Flax Bourton.

Short stretch of the A370 in West Town before turning off along back lanes towards Claverham & Cleeve. Almost direct crossing of the A370 in Cleeve.

Backwell church

Descent to Wrington

Mother Hen's, Broad Street, Wrington

Ladden & Thornbury Vales from NW Bristol, BS9

Skirts round east of Thornbury for trip up to the Old Down ridge above Tytherington, a handy picnic spot with seats looking east across the headwaters of the Ladden Brook to the Cotswold edge, then about face to descend into Thornbuy Vale and across the marshes to the Severn bank and Shepperdine.

For return choose any suitable route over Stock Hill from the Oldbury area.

Roads generally quiet, uses the inner distributor road to pass round Thornbury, not the ring road.

Looking east over the Ladden headwaters to the Cotswold edge from the seats behind the car park at Tower Farm above Tytherington

View west over the Severn marshlands from Whitewall Lane

An architecture at one with the landscape - Lower Morton

Shepperdine - the Severn at low tide on a summer day.

Clevedon & Kingston Seymour circular from Stoke Bishop, BS9.

Trip down the Gordano Valley to the levels, visiting the coast to see the Severn Sea without waiting for it to resume its former courses across the levels. Enters Clevedon by climbing Dial Lane to Hill Road,with its baker's and cafes then down along the front past Salthouses to Clevedon Pill and the Blind Yeo outflow beyond Wain's Hill with St Andrew's church. Then, after a short detour through Kingston Seymour returns along Claverham Drove and through Ashton Court.

Generally quiet roads, apart from the short stretch of A370 returning through Backwell, and the short stretch of B road into Clevedon. Going over Hill Road visits an attractive part of Clevedon and avoids the busier Old Street that goes more directly to the front.

New moon and equinox approaching: the tide still rising in the Avon.

Salthouse Bay Clevedon, taking advantage of the new moon tides to drain the Marine Lake for maintenance.

An impressive outflow from the marine lake, but new moon means the water will be back soon.

Picnic spot at Clevedon Pill, outside the banks that keep the levels dry, with mudflats exposed by the receding tide.

The Blind Yeo draining the levels towards the weir at Clevedon Pill

Kingston Seymour - waters in the ditch almost up to road level

Kingston Seymour, Church of All Saints - flooded 1.5 metres deep in the great flood of 1607.

Stoke Bishop, BS9 through Wickwar to Hawkesbury Upton via Tytherington

From NW Bristol round across the Ladden Vale up to the Cotswold edge at Hawkesbury Upton monument, then through the Cotwold slope villages of Hawkesbury and Horton to return via Iron Acton and Frampton Cotterell to use the Gaunts Earthcott approach to the Severn Vale.

Quiet rural lanes and wide views W across Sodbury and Inglestone Commons, continuing surprisingly rural south of Iron Acton after just touching the edge of Yate. Typical limestone pasture on the edge and open wooded and scrubby common between Wickwar and Hawkesbury Upton. Medieval churches and village cores according to choice.

The Somerset monument and grounds are private, but the seat just across the road provides a place to sit and admire the view.

Short detour from Tytherington up to Tower Farm/Baden Hill reaches the three seats looking out across the Ladden Vale for a good picnic site, although motorway noise from the west can be surprisingly loud.

Probably the furthest south you can make a loop in the Ladden Vale without getting tangled in the satellite towns.

Generally quiet roads, the Easter Compton stretch, now 20 mph within the village and the short stretch of B4058 to Cromhall Common being the only main roads. The latter fast but wide and not heavily trafficked.

Chase Lane, Inglestone Common with the Cotswold edge and Somerset monument up ahead.

Scaffolders at work on Hawkesbury church

Looking NW over the Ladden Vale from the Cotswold slopes

The Cotswold slopes.

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