Stunning summer pub walk near Bristol with river views and wild swimming

Lap in the countryside around you as you take this short walk

Incredibly, it’s almost 40 years since the Bristol and Bath Railway path fully opened - and for many walkers, runners and cyclists in the city they couldn’t imagine life without it. From providing adaily commute to a countryside stroll on the weekend, this paved artery of region is as important as any motorway or A-road.

And so perhaps it’s not unsurprising it also provides us with many of the region’s most-visited attractions that line the route; from lovely pubs to idylic swimming spots to cosy coffee shops.

For this feature, we took a very short circular walk from The Bird in Hand pub in Saltford. The pub, which dates back to the 1850s and was formed from two cottages, is located at the bottom of the village’s High Street.

It’s an ideal spot to set up base before venturing up a stone stairway up to the Bristol and Bath Railway path. The route once had the tracks of the Bath to Mangotsfield branch line of the Midland Railway Company, but after complete closure in 1971 it’s now a well-used path.

Turning right, you first go over the old wide railway bridge crossing the River Avon where people stop to look out over the water or up at views to Kelton Round Hill. On a hot day, the grass bank will be filled with people sunbathing and swimming in the water.

Moving on and you soon come to the site of the old Kelston Railway Station. Nothing remains of the station itself, although a display provides its history with some pictures. The station in 1949, with Saltford already having another station on the Grerat Western Main Line.

Turning back around and crossing the bridge you can take an immediate left turn down a hill which will bring you out to Saltford Weir. Then, turning back up The Shallows you can end up back at The Bird in Hand for some well-earned refreshment.

Here are several pictures of the walk:

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