Bath and Solsbury Hill

Descend to one of England most architecturally rewarding cities, returning via canal towpath, hillfort and Cotswold villages.

Technical sheet
No. 18106639
A Charlcombe walk posted on 30/12/21 by Walks from the Door. Update : 30/12/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h35[?]
Distance Distance : 12.05mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1161ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1181ft
Highest point Highest point : 745ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 69ft
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Cotswolds
Location Location : Charlcombe
Starting point Starting point : N 51.415835° / W 2.394962°
Download : -


(D/A) From Charlcombe Inn front door, turn right and right again through the kissing gate onto the racecourse. Duck under the rails and cross the course, then bear half-left to the far corner, where a gap in the wall leads into a road.

(1) Turn left, then take a footpath on the right through a wooden kissing gate. Walk along the bottom of the playing fields, bearing right and left as the hedge bends. Beyond the buildings, join a track that continues towards Beckford’s Tower, looking out for a kissing gate on the right. Take the signposted footpath, bearing left to a metal kissing gate, and follow the path across the hillside beyond, initially close to the wall then dropping below some trees.

(2) Go through two further kissing gates in quick succession and pass below Beckford’s Tower. After the next kissing gate, ignore a second gate on the left and continue along the contour for a while, then turn right at a waymark post and follow the path steeply downhill.
Cross a farm drive and continue downhill to a kissing gate.

(3) After two more gates, you enter Primrose Hill Community Woodland. Follow the ride ahead, which leads downhill through the wood. At the bottom of the wood, cross a path and go through another gate and follow the path via a couple more gates to an open area.

Cross to a diagonal, descending path which you follow to the left, to meet the Cotswold Way. Keep left to a gate into a tree-lined path. Stay on the Cotswold Way, ignoring a kissing gate into a residential road on the right, and pass under power lines.

(4) A short distance further on, turn right through a gate into Weston Park and follow a path downhill past a bench to cross a stream. Bear right down the valley, then pass left of a football pitch to a gate in the bottom corner; turn left and right.
Follow Weston Park round to the left, passing the bottom of Linden Gardens and Cranwells Park on the left.

(5) At a mini-roundabout, go half-right between the gateposts into Royal Victoria Park. Follow the park road to a junction, where you turn right. Beyond the Botanical Garden entrance, you can either cut diagonally left across the park, or follow the road as it curves round the western and southern sides of the park.
Either way, exit the park by the Prince of Wales Oak and the Victoria Column.

(6) Beyond the formal gateway, you meet Marlborough Lane. Cross the road and, ignoring Royal Avenue ahead of you, turn left for a short distance, then follow a tarmac path on the right that leads below the Royal Crescent.

At the end of the open space below the Crescent, turn left (signposted Assembly Rooms) and walk up to Brock Street. Turn right (away from the Crescent) to the Circus.

(7) Follow the Circus anticlockwise (right) and then turn right down Gay Street. Beyond George Street and Old King Street on the left, continue ahead past Queen Square with its obelisk on the right.

Beyond the Square, turn left into Wood Street and then right into Queen Street, passing under the Trim Bridge arch at the bottom. Cross Trim Street and continue ahead to Upper Borough Walls, where a section of the medieval city wall is visible on your left.

(8) Turn right to reach Saw Close and turn left past the Theatre Royal. Turn left into Westgate Street then, next to the Grapes pub, turn right into a narrow alleyway that leads to the Cross Bath.

Walk to the left of the single-storey Cross Bath building and turn left along Bath Street. Turn left then right under a colonnade and continue to the east end of Bath Abbey.

(9) Turn right in front of the Abbey and walk down to York Street. Continue down Abbey Street and turn left in Abbey Green (a square with a central tree). The narrow North Parade Passage leads past Sally Lunn’s Eating House; carry straight on to emerge onto North Parade.

Turn left past a fountain surmounted by an urn, then cross the main road at the lights to reach the balustraded pavement overlooking Parade Gardens.

(10) Turn left and follow the main road past the Empire Hotel, with views of Pulteney Bridge on your right. Turn right by the Art Gallery and cross Pulteney Bridge.

Continue past the fountain in Laura Place, along Great Pulteney Street to the Holburne Museum.

Follow Sydney Place (to the right of the museum) and turn left through a wrought-iron arch into Sydney Gardens. When you meet the central path behind the museum, turn right and cross the railway via Brunel’s ornamental bridge next to Minerva’s Temple. Beyond the bridge, a path crosses the grass on the right to a gate in the wall, giving access to the canal towpath.

(11) Turn left under the bridge, then follow the towpath through a short tunnel. Continue along the towpath, passing a footbridge after about half a mile and, after a similar distance, going under bridge 184. After a terrace of stone-faced canal cottages, you reach bridge 183 in the centre of Bathampton.

(12) Leave the canal via a picnic area then turn left on Mill Lane, passing between the George pub on the left and the church on the right. Cross the railway and the A4, then turn right onto a combined footpath and cycleway that leads down to Bathampton Toll Bridge on the River Avon.

(13) Follow the path to the right, parallel to the river, until you reach a footbridge over the Avon leading to a car park in Batheaston. Exit the car park to the main road and cross at the lights.

Turn right then left at a mini-roundabout into Coalpit Lane. Pass the medical centre and then a football pitch on your left, then take a turning on the left opposite Avon Court.

(14) Beyond some garages, join a path that leads past a playground; keep left at a fork then turn left over the stream at a bridge by the primary school. Walk up the lane beyond to emerge in the village centre, and turn right to the parish church.

Take a footpath up shallow steps to the left of the junction with Church Lane, signposted to Bailbrook, which leads between garden fences then through a hand-gate into a field. Follow the left-hand edge of the field to a footbridge, then follow the left-hand field boundary uphill to a kissing gate into a narrow lane.

Turn right and follow the Solsbury lane uphill for quarter of a mile (ignoring a footpath on the left) then turn right up a no-through road. This narrow lane climbs steeply for a further quarter-mile.

(15) At the top by a farm entrance, where the track bends right through a gate, go through the wooden kissing gate ahead of you and climb to the National Trust sign on Solsbury Hill.
Turn left and follow the ramparts of the hillfort, passing a memorial stone commemorating the donation of the hill to the National Trust.

(16) Bear right by the trig point (with fine views over Bath) and continue along the ramparts above some small limestone outcrops. Drop down left through a break in the earthwork and turn right to the circular turf maze. Just beyond the maze, turn left through a notch in a lower bank, and descend to a footpath sign.

Go through the wooden kissing gate ahead and bear left, downhill, with woodland on your right. A tree-lined section leads to another kissing gate, beyond which you follow the field edge then cross the field diagonally left to a third kissing gate into a lane.

(17) Turn left and walk down to the road near the A46 junction. Cross and turn left down the pavement. Follow the road round to the right and under the A46. Turn right and follow the road uphill, past a couple of houses.

Just before the road rejoins the A46, turn left (signposted to Langridge, Tadwick, Woolley and Swainswick) and walk down through Upper Swainswick village, ignoring a road off to the right. Keep left at a green triangle by a trough in the wall, then turn left downhill past Glebe House to the church, keeping straight on at a road junction above the churchyard.

(18) At a T-junction, take the footpath straight ahead through the garden of Woodbine Cottage and down steps into a field. Bear right diagonally down the hill; ignore the footbridge directly below the cottage, instead of aiming for the far right-hand corner of the field, where a double-gated footbridge crosses a small side-stream and runs alongside the main stream in the next field before bearing left to a second footbridge.

Once over the stream, climb the hill ahead towards Woolley village, following the right-hand hedge through a field gate to a kissing gate, beyond which a narrow path leads to a slab stile by the church.

Walk up the village street to a T-junction, where you turn left for a short distance, then right into a driveway.

(19) Shortly, turn left through a kissing gate and walk up the right-hand side of the field towards the right-hand side of a hanging wood occupying the combe ahead of you. The path leads between trees to a kissing gate then bends right past a bench and up some steps to a second, wooden, kissing gate.

Climb the steep slope between clumps of bramble, past a waymark post and up the grassy slope to a footpath sign, where you bear left towards the farm. Go through a gate and bear left to a second gate.

(20) Don’t go through the gate, but turn sharp right and pick up a path across the field that heads gradually away from the wall on your left. Cross three fields separated by slab stiles and a kissing gate, then follow a narrow path to a farm drive.

Take the path opposite, swinging right then left and along a wall to another slab stile, then skirt the next field. Just after the far corner, another slab stile leads into the next field; cross diagonally to a farm drive, where you cross a cattle grid left to the road. Turn right to return to the Charlcombe Inn. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 745ft - Charlcombe Inn
1 : mi 0.3 - alt. 735ft - Playing fields
2 : mi 1.15 - alt. 715ft - Beckford’s Tower
3 : mi 1.65 - alt. 551ft - Primrose Hill Community Woodland - Cotswold Way
4 : mi 2.16 - alt. 256ft - Weston Park
5 : mi 2.67 - alt. 180ft - Royal Victoria Park
6 : mi 3.2 - alt. 135ft - The Circus
7 : mi 3.51 - alt. 177ft - Obelisk - Trim Bridge arch
8 : mi 3.83 - alt. 108ft - Theatre Royal
9 : mi 4.11 - alt. 105ft - Abbey
10 : mi 4.28 - alt. 89ft - Views of Pulteney Bridge - Fountain
11 : mi 5.02 - alt. 138ft - Sydney Gardens
12 : mi 6.46 - alt. 118ft - Canal - Railway
13 : mi 6.82 - alt. 72ft - The Avon
14 : mi 7.6 - alt. 108ft - Stream - Footbridge
15 : mi 8.51 - alt. 584ft - Ramparts
16 : mi 8.73 - alt. 594ft - Views over Bath
17 : mi 9.25 - alt. 397ft - A46
18 : mi 9.91 - alt. 259ft - Garden of Woodbine Cottage - Stream
19 : mi 10.53 - alt. 325ft - Wood
20 : mi 10.96 - alt. 715ft - Stiles
D/A : mi 12.05 - alt. 745ft - Charlcombe Inn

Useful Information

The route down into the city is fairly easy, although it includes a steep descent which can be muddy and you may encounter sheep and cattle. The return route includes two long climbs, and the fields may again contain livestock; the Park & Ride bus service from Milsom Street in Bath city centre offers a much easier alternative!

Pdf Link :

The Charlcombe Inn
Lansdown, Bath, Somerset BA1 9BT
tel +44 (0)1225 421995

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The Charlcombe Inn is a classic countryside free house, with a comfortable interior, large garden overlooking Bath Racecourse, ten fabulous en-suite letting rooms and ample parking.
The menu offers a good range of pub classics plus some more exciting dishes, cooked fresh and wherever possible, using locally sourced ingredients.
Open daily from 9am (12 Sundays), we now serve our main menu from 12.00 all day every day. We also offer morning coffee and afternoon tea. This is a popular spot for walkers and, naturally, well-behaved dogs are welcome.

St Martin’s Church, North Stoke, has an idyllic position next to a trickling stream and waterfall. Its tower dates probably from the 12th century and Roman bricks have been reused in the fabric of the walls.

Sometimes described as the UK’s first war memorial, Sir Bevill Grenville’s Monument, erected in 1720, commemorates the death of the Royalist commander at the Battle of Lansdowne in 1643.

The Avon Valley Railway runs from Oldland Common to the Avon via Bitton, a distance of three miles. Both steam and diesel locomotives are run at weekends

Bath Racecourse is Britain’s highest flat-racing course. Racing was first recorded in Bath in 1728 but the first major meet was held in 1811. Notable races includes the Lansdown Fillies’ Stake (April) and the Beckford Stakes (October)

The Cotswold Way long-distance footpath runs for 100 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath.

The River Avon flows for 75 miles from South Gloucestershire to Avonmouth, but its source is only 19 miles from its mouth as the crow files.

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