Leigh Woods to Ashton Court via Abbots Pool
A gentle hike on the edge of the city with woods, a pool, large open spaces and views to Wales (oh, and a pub!)
Victoria Square, Clifton Village BS8 4EW
Good paths throughout. Can be very muddy in the woods and fields. Mostly flat. Need to cross a busy road and some city walking at the start in Clifton.
Yes. Though there may be livestock about in the fields and there are some busy roads involved.
The walk starts in Clifton in Bristol. You can park nearby for free on Sundays but good luck! An alternative starting point for drivers might be to park on North Road at the entrance to the woods and miss the first part of the walk. This road gets busy very quickly though. You've been warned!
If you are using public transport, the number 8 and 9 buses stop at Victoria Square. You can get straight onto them at Temple Meads and in the city centre.
There is also a bike rack on Victoria Square (by the bus stops) to leave your bike. There is also a VOI park for those who like electric scooting.
You'll start this walk on the streets of Clifton Village, specifically next to the lovely Victoria Square Gardens. Head through Boyce's Avenue, past the fantastic Primrose Cafe (a must visit for cake on the way home) and other independent shops. Make for the Clifton Suspension Bridge (you'll see signs on the route).
Cross over the bridge with its spectacular views of the Avon Gorge. Keep to the right-hand side of the road and once you've passed the Bridge Visitor Centre, turn right onto North Road. This road takes you past some very grand houses, all the way to the entrance of Leigh Woods which is through a gate on the right.
There are actually two entrances here - the main kissing gate takes you into Leigh Woods the normal way, then a gap to the left (signposted for mountain bikers) is the route you want to take for this walk. It goes straight up a little hill that bends round to the left. Continue along this path, past the information centre (with its compost toilets!) and along a wide path that eventually reaches a stone wall. Go through the little gap in the wall for bikes (don't go through the gate) and continue forward on this wide main path which will lead you back out onto the road to the main Leigh Woods car park.
Emerging from the woods, cross the road and climb over the little fence. Turn left (away from the car park) and you'll see a faint path following the avenue of trees. After a little way, on the right you'll see a footpath sign pointing through a gate. Follow this sign into the big open field.
Cross the field (to the left) via the faint but wide path. Be mindful of any livestock that might be around. This field is extremely muddy after rain (like, knee deep) so take care to skirt round the mud as much as you can!
Go through the farm gate at the other end of the field and cross the road to continue along the wooded path opposite. This will take you through another gate into a second field. Walk straight ahead, making for the village church on the hill in front of you. There's a little gate at the bottom of the hill to go through on the way, then a metal gate into a playing field nearer the church itself. You are now in Abbots Leigh.
Once you reach the church, the view towards Avonmouth and Wales will open up in front of you. Turn left onto the road through the village until you reach the George Inn. You'll have to cross the busy main road to reach the pub but there is a pedestrian crossing a little further down. The George is a really fab little pub with a great beer garden to stop at for a pint or a bite to eat (the Sunday lunch is really good too).
Take the road that goes behind the pub (Manor Road). This takes you past the beautiful Priory building and along country lanes towards Abbots Pool. Turn right onto Manor Lane, then left at the village noticeboard along a little footpath. Carry on down this road past more house to reach the gate into Abbots Pool at the bottom (it momentarily feels like you will end up in someone's driveway but you'll see the gate right at the last minute!). Head down the steps to the bottom and then left towards a picnic bench (a good place for a snack!) near some little waterfalls.
Continue along this path up to Abbots Pool itself. You can walk either side of the pool but we recommend turning right and taking the main path on the other side.
Follow this main path, keeping the pool on your left, until you reach the little car park. Continue along the road and cross over at the crossing to continue up a footpath that starts up a gentle hill.
Follow this path for a little while as it passes fields and Clifton College's rugby pitch. It eventually turns into a minor road. At the end of the road, cross over the very busy and very fast main road to the gap in the wall in front of you. You are now in Ashton Court - watch out for mountain bikers zooming along the track!
Cross the mountain bike track and head out into the big open space of Ashton Court. From here you can find your own way to the main gates - we recommend either walking around the left edge of the open space, or making for the clump of trees in the centre and then joining the main path and road.
Once at the gates, you'll find yourself back on the main road to the Suspension Bridge. Cross over and head along Bridge Road back to the suspension bridge. Retrace your steps through Clifton to Victoria Square.