The Kennet and Avon Canal, Rivers Frome and Bristol Avon plus a wildlife pond and willow labrynth all feature on this lovely countryside walk.
Exploring this corner of West Wiltshire and North East Somerset is a real delight. There is something for everyone to enjoy – walking alongside water, through woods, under an aqueduct, past a beautiful manor house and chance to explore a nationally important, medieval tithe barn. At the end of the walk you pass close by two children’s play parks.
There’s a climb to set the heart racing and the path surfaces vary from tarmac, canal towpath, rough woodland paths with exposed roots and fields, which can be muddy in places during winter. Don’t worry though, there are good refreshment stops along the route and in Bradford on Avon itself.
Start with your back to the station and turn left to the far end of the car park to the River Avon. Turn left to pass under the railway bridge and past Barton Bridge. Follow the tarmac access road for about 600m then bear left uphill to the canal towpath.
Cross the wooden footbridge and follow the footpath (canal now on your right) over another wooden bridge and up into a field. Keeping the hedge on your right go through the gate then climb up diagonally left to enter Becky Addy Woods through a metal gate.
Follow the clear footpath as it rises and meanders through the woods to join a road at a bend. Turn left up the hill for about 100m then right onto a track that soon becomes a path. On the left you will see the gated entrance to the extensive Westwood stone mines, now defunct but used during World War 2 to store many of the nation's treasures.
Follow the path between some houses and emerge onto a tarmac access road. Turn left uphill to join the road then turn right, passing Chestnut Close. Soon after Friary Close look out for the footpath sign on your left. Climb up onto this and soon emerge into The Pastures where you follow round to the right and down to the end of the road.
Turn right and cross over to walk on the grass verge for about 150 metres. At the bend bear left onto Iford Hill and descend steeply to Iford Manor at the bottom. Linger here a while to enjoy the views of the Manor house and river.
Cross the stone bridge (Britannia Bridge) over the River Frome, opposite The Manor. At the end of the houses on your right turn right into a long field, with the river across to your right. Follow the higher path to enter a wood and keep straight on.
Emerge into a grassed area and continue ahead to a track. Turn left then after about 20 metres turn right up some steps to a gate. Follow this path and at the end, with Dunkirk Mill in front of you, turn right to follow the track round to the road.
Turn right to follow the road over the river bridge and soon after the next bend cross the stile into a field which you follow straight across to emerge onto a road. Follow this for a short way and just before the bridge Inn at Freshford just over the bridge) turn off right into a field to follow the path, keeping the River Frome on your left.
(Just before you leave the field you might like to do a very short detour to your left to see where the River Frome joins the Avon.)
Go through Tess's Gate (apparently named after a local dog) and along the concrete path below Avoncliff Woods, which is now owned by the Woodland Trust. Emerge into a field and keep straight ahead then up into a tree lined path. Keep ahead on the track to Avoncliff, where you’ll see the Cross Guns pub.
Pass under the aqueduct and up the other side onto the towpath. Turn left on the canal path (don’t cross the aqueduct) and after about 150 yards turn off left down a zig zag path to the river; now turn right to follow the path.
(N.B. this path can become extremely muddy in winter and during heavy rain, so you’d be advised to continue on the canal path at this point).
At the last field you’ll find the willow labyrinth to your right and a wildlife pond which has frogs, toads and newts. Go through the large wooden gate and follow straight ahead onto the tarmac access road.
Follow this to the end of your walk at the Tithe Barn, children’s play areas and Tithe Barn Workshops.
To return to the station follow the footpath alongside the river, under the railway bridge and turn right up into the station car park.
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