|< Worle to Portishead||Uphill to Brean >|
|Distance : 16 miles||Grading : ++||OS Sheet : 153|
This walk begins in the suburbs of Weston-super-Mare and heads north to the remote headland of Middle Hope, passing Woodspring Priory. Heading south the walk passes the large beach of Sand Bay and rounds Worlebury Hill to reach the popular resort of Weston-super-Mare, where there is a good beach walk. The walk ends at Uphill, at the south end of the bay.
This walk begins from Worle railway station which is easily reached from the M5 motorway and has a large car park. From the M5 motorway exit at junction 21 and join the A370 south west to Weston-super-Mare. Very soon after you join the A370 take the slip road off onto the B3440. After going over the railway line you come to a large junction, keep left here coming to a roundabout at an out-of-town shopping centre. Go straight on here and then turn left at the next roundabout. At the small roundabout go straight on to come to the car park at Worle station (pay & display).
If you are coming by public transport Worle station has two trains per hour Monday -Saturday between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol. Many of these trains continue south to Taunton and north to Newport and Cardiff. On Sundays the service runs roughly hourly. All trains to Worle are operated by Great Western Railway. In addition bus route X1, operated by First Bristol, Bath and West runs to Worle from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare every 15 minutes Monday – Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
There is no accommodation in Worle itself, but it is very close to Weston-super-Mare which has an extensive range of accommodation from guest houses and caravan sites to large hotels. Booking.com - Weston-super-Mare provides details and bookings for many hotels in Weston-super-Mare. In addition Visit Weston-super-Mare.com Accommodation is a comprehensive directory of accommodation in Weston.
From Worle Parkway Station exit via the main car park and through the business park to the main road, the B3440. Here turn right. Continue straight on at the next roundabout, crossing the entrance to a residential caravan park on the right and a retail park on the left. Just after the caravan park the pavement ends, so cross the road here (via the complex junction with traffic lights), but keep to this main road, the right most of the roads, as it soon begins to climb up to cross the railway line. Once over the railway line take the first road on the left, Bristol Road. Ignore the little residential road off to the left and continue past the pub (the Woolpack). At the mini roundabout beside the pub turn left along Station Road and when you get to the level crossing turn left along Brimbleworth Lane, over the level crossing. Continue with the road as it soon turns sharply to the right and then comes to a roundabout on the edgte of a new housing estate. Here turn left along Bourton Lane. As you near what looks to be the end of the road you come to a road called The Burrows ahead, but there is also a more minor road off to the right (marked Except Loading and with a cycle sign). Take this minor road and continue on this road with bushes either side until it crosses the river Banwell, then leave the road and take the footpath to the left, over a stile.
There are two footpaths in this field, but keep to the left most run, parallel to the River Banwell (little more than a stream here), with the housing estate parallel on the other side of the river. Continue on this path along the next field. As you enter the third field there is a bridge to the left over the river. Ignore this and keep straight ahead until the houses on the left end, and then just after this the path ahead crosses on a small bridge over another stream going left to right - this area is very low-lying with numerous drainage ditches. Here, don't keep this stream on the left but go straight on across the field. Go through the gate ahead into the next field and follow the path along it's left hand edge. This brings you out on a track where you turn right to reach the road (Ebdon Lane) opposite a farm a house and with a track leading to Ebdon Farm. Turn left along this minor road and follow it as it bends sharply to the left and then soon after sharply back to the right, now with houses and the river close by on the left again. Continue past Ebdon Court Farm on the right and then just after this, at the road junction, turn left on Ebdon Lane, with the road ahead being Wick Road. This crosses the river and once over the bridge take the first track on the right, signed as a bridlepath, passing a couple of houses on the left and soon coming into the farm yard of Ebdon Farm.
Keep straight ahead here, passing the large barn on the left straight through the farm yard and continue on the track ahead, past lots of decaying farm machinery abandoned on the left beside the track. When the track ends at two gates, go through the left most gate into a field and continue with the field edge on your right. Keep next to the field edge as it turns to the left and comes to a bridge which you cross. Continue through the gate ahead into another field initially parallel to the field edge on the right, but not immediately adjacent to it. When the field widens, turn a little to the left aiming for the far westerly corner of the field. You now continue through the gate and along a track with bushes on either side down to a minor road. Turn left here along this road to a T-junction where you then turn right. Follow this minor road past Culm Farm on the right and ignore the bridlepath signed along a track to the left but keep ahead. Soon there is a sign in the field to the left Private Farm Property but I believe this applies to the land rather than the road. Continue to approach Woodspring Priory, an unusual buildings now in the care of the Landmark Trust and let as a holiday cottage.
There is also a small museum here about the priory, but it is only open at the time of writing on Mondays and Fridays. Here there is a small car park on the right and then you follow the National Trust sign pointing right to Car Park and footpath to coast. Fork right on the wide (and potholed) track past a farm on the left until you have the tidal creek ahead of you.
Here you turn left on the signed path soon coming to a little pond on the right. Keep to the path passing this pond and just after it you turn left and soon enter a large grassy area. Turn right here until you reach a minor road that leads into the military establishment that occupies the far north east corner of this headland of Middle Hope. Keep ahead here, following the western fence alongside this until you reach the coast. Here you have wonderful views to Clevedon to the east, over the Severn to south Wales ahead and to the left towards Weston-super-Mare. As you reach the gorse area ahead turn left and keep on this obvious path, with the gorse just to the right. This is a beautiful stretch of coast, with this rocky gorse covered headland having numerous little coves.
Pass a couple of small coves on the right and soon you join a minor track along the back of a beautiful shingle beach, with the ground climbing steeply behind the beach. Keep to the most coastal of the paths behind the beach, with the ground behind now quite steep. As you reach the end of the wide path, keep to the lower coastal path ahead right out to the end of the headland. Once at the very western tip you have wonderful views over the two islands in the Severn estuary here, Steep Holm and Flat Holm.
Return along the headland along the high path, offering truly wonderful views over Sand Bay, the headland of Worlebury Hill and the pier at Birnbeck you can also see. Soon you reach the trig point (a white concrete post) and here fork a little left on the main path that then heads downhill, soon between trees and down a few steps to come to a car park and what were toilets (now derelict).
This is Sand Bay, though in truth the name Mud Bay might be more appropriate at this end! Take the low path along the back of the marshy area, parallel with the road to your left. Soon as the buildings begin on the left the salt marsh gives way to hard sand, although warning signs warn you not to stray far from the high tide mark due to deep mud. Continue along this now rather lovely beach to it's south end, where small sand cliffs start and there is a car park.
Enter the car park and take the path ahead you can see into the trees. On reaching the road cross it and continue straight ahead on the steep path that climbs up through the trees. On reaching the wide track at the top turn right, heading due west. When you come to the mast keep straight ahead, ignoring tracks to the left and right. The path soon brings you out onto the road that runs around the base of this hill which you join and turn left along. Ahead is Birnbeck Pier. This sadly closed to the public in 1994 and remains in a state of dereliction, which is a real shame. It is the only pier in England to link to another island, Birnbeck Island. Part of the walkway alongside the pier is still maintained to provide access to the lifeboat station on Birnbeck Island, but this is not accessible to the general public and the rest of the pier is sadly still derelict.
Follow the good promenade here until you come to the Marine Lake. Here take the path that is almost a causeway along this with the lake on your left and the sea (or mud, depending on the tide) to your right. This joins to Knightstone Island, now joined to the mainland and with an odd mix of some lovely old buildings and some rather more bland modern flats.
Continue on the coastal track round here that soon becomes a road passing the harbour on the right. Due to the huge tidal range here, the harbour can only be used around high tide. Boat trips depart from here in the year round to Flat Holm and also to Steep Holm in the summer months.
Once round the harbour, take the wide promenade along the back of the beach. This is a lovely promenade and has obviously been recently (and probably expensively) improved. Keep going round to the Grand Pier. The original pavilion at the end of the pier sadly burnt down in 2008 and destoryed a good deal of the pier too, but thankfully and unlike so many pier, it has been fully repaired with a a new modern pavilion built which opened in 2010.
Continue along the promenade past the pier and to a second small pier, housing an aquarium. Continue past the former Tropicana complex. Just past this, there is a large car park on the back of the beach. This is something of a feature of Weston-super-Mare but of course if you park here you need to be mindful of the high tide as this part of the beach is covered at high tide. When the promenade ends descend onto the beach and continue along the wide sandy beach, with the promenade now giving way to grassy cliffs, with a golf course on top.
This soon comes to a car park and caravan site and here keep on the beach until you have the mud ahead leading to the River Axe, with Brean Down to the right, looking almost like and island, being so high compared to the surrounding land. Do NOT under any circumstances attempt to cross the river here as there is very deep and soft mud. On the other side of the river is the resort of Brean. Re-trace your steps back to the car park and then follow the access road to the car park, Links Road. Ignore Berkerley Crescent and take the second road, Thornbury Road. The walk ends at the bus stop a short distance along on the left hand side, from where there are buses to Weston-super-Mare.
Bus route 5/105 runs twice an hour Monday - Saturday from Uphill back to Worle. For details, see the link below.
Here are some photos taken on this walk. Click each photo for a larger version and description.
Ordnance Survey Explorer map 153 (Weston-super-Mare & Bleadon Hill) covers this walk. It is available from local book shops, tourist information centres and online retailers. In addition the links below show the map of this area.