Walk Distance: 2.6km (basic loop) or 5.2 km (including detour to New Manor Farm)
Walk Duration: 1hr 15 for the basic loop at preschooler pace, with plenty of view admiring time; allow 2-3 hours if heading to New Manor Farm – you’ll want to leave plenty of time for coffee and cake or light lunch.
Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 141 Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West; OS Landranger 172 Bristol & Bath
Suitable for: Kids in carriers (with fit parents), good, determined little walkers and older kids. The route is not that long but the pull up the first hill is pretty steep and quite a big ask for very young walkers. Take care after wet weather too as it can be slippery on the steep bits.
Walk Features: Fantastic views of the Chew Valley, Chew Valley Lake and Denny Island, trig point, livestock (sheep & cattle at time of writing), earthworks of iron age hill fort (not much to see other than a nice view though), option to walk to New Manor Farm for lunch/refreshments and farm shop treats, pub in the village, Indian restaurant and village shop for supplies. Chew Valley Lake is only a short drive away if you fancy a change of scene for refreshments or fish and chips.
“The Bishop Sutton & Burledge Hill Circular Walk offers fantastic views of Chew Valley Lake and the Chew Valley for a relatively short walk and makes a nice addition to a visit to Chew Valley Lake. Don’t be deceived by the distances. The climb up to the ridge at the top of Burledge Hill is a steep pull for little ones and some fairly deep steps. Roo at 4 and on a mission to reach the top managed it on a wet winter New Year’s Day without complaint but I’m not sure she’d have been quite so keen a year ago.
The climb is worth it though and there’s also a trig point to bag, if that’s your thing. If you want to make a half day of it then you can extend the circular route down to New Manor Farm. They offer excellent snacks and lunches and the farm shop is also very good. I should know – they supplied the buffet food for our wedding lunch reception. Just don’t eat too much – you’ll have to retrace your steps back up Burledge Hill to rejoin the circuit. Don’t be tempted to walk back along the roadside to Bishop Sutton with kids instead. It’s a fast road with plenty of bends and at time of writing there was no pavement.”
The Bishop Sutton & Burledge Hill Circular Walk can be picked up easily from most places in Bishop Sutton. We started our route from the path leading off the corner of Church Lane but you could equally find parking along the main road in Bishop Sutton or streets nearby and join the walk on the return leg as it passes through the little cul-de-sac directly opposite the village hall. Another alternative might be to start the route at New Manor Farm, returning there for lunch although you’d need to check permission with the farm on parking before setting off.
- From the sharp bend in Church Lane, follow the footpath leading off to the west along a narrow dirt track.
- Head through the kissing gate (or tickling gate as Roo prefers) and then turn left uphill to pass through another kissing gate and into a field.
- Follow the path diagonally back across the field and through the wooden kissing gate at the far side.
- Keep to the edge of the field and on to the next kissing gate a short distance on.
- Continue diagonally across the field above the buildings. You’ll begin to climb a little here.
- The path continue up to yet another metal kissing gate where a sign advises of entering access land of Burledge Hill. Head through the gate, following the path uphill to where it joins another path coming in from the left just beyond the line of trees.
- Turn right, through the kissing gate and up the steps to yet another gate.
- From here walk diagonally across the field, enjoying the fantastic views back down Bishop Sutton and Chew Valley Lake as you go. Denny Island is easy to make out in the middle of the lake and on good days you can see right across the Chew Valley in all directions.
- Head up the next set of steps and path. This bit was very muddy on a wet winter day so take care with little ones. Another gate and you are nearly at the top of the hill. Head left straight up across the field to visit the trig point.
- When you’re ready, follow the way-marker west across the field until after passing through another metal kissing gate you emerge onto a narrow track lined by shrubs and trees.
- Continue along this track. If you’re taking the short loop back to Bishop Sutton then look out for the steps and metal kissing gate leading down to the right of the path a short walk along this track. Head to point 16 to finish this walk.
- If you’re heading on to New Manor Farm or just fancy a walk out onto the old site of the iron age fort on Burledge Hill then continue along the track instead. Eventually it opens out onto a byway. Continue straight onto the bridleway, ignoring the lane to your left.
- The area of land surrounding the byway here and as it heads towards the brow of the hill is where the ancient iron age fort was once sighted. There is little here these days other than the contours of the hill to give its position away and you are not permitted to leave the track. Those not continuing downhill to New Manor Farm will want to turn back here and head back to the steps and gate as outlined in point 11 above.
- To continue on to New Manor Farm just outside Bishop Sutton walk on down the byway as it descends steeply downhill. This eventually brings you out onto the main road. Cross over and continue down the lane to New Manor Farm where some excellent refreshments and farm shop goodies await. Sometimes there is even a small pet corner in the barn for the children to visit.
- When you’re ready rejoin the main circuit back to Bishop Sutton by retracing you steps back up the hill, walk along the byway and back to the steps and gate outlined in point 11 above.
- From the gate walk out into the field, roughly following the left hedgeline. The going is steep but you get to enjoy the excellent views again.
- Walk through into the larger field below and make for the group of houses in the bottom left corner of the field.
- At the bottom, head left through the gate by the houses and onto the lane beyond.
- Follow the lane down to the main road and turn right to carefully walk the only few meters of roadside walking without pavement on the route. A pavement starts shortly after and you can head up some steps and away from the side of the road to follow from the path above. When this runs out, there is more pavement on the other side of the road.
- Continue into the village until you see the village hall on your left. On the opposite side of the road from the hall, there is a small lane leading up between some houses. Take this and follow it up to the end of the cul-de-sac.
- The lane turns into track. Continue to walk along this before turning left along the footpath to skirt across the bottom of the fields below Burledge Hill. Continue along the lane passing through another kissing gate. This will bring you back to the kissing gate up to the right and into the field that you started your walk on in point 2 above. To finish your walk at Church Lane, carry on the main track instead and through one final gate, where the track will take you back to the walk starting point.
Map of Route:
Bishop Sutton is most easily reached by car although the 672 bus from Bristol does stop very close to the village hall – a good starting point for this walk. There are also other buses to Keynsham and Bath from Bishop Sutton but these only run on certain days of the week and all services are somewhat irregular so please do check a travel planner before you go.
By car, there is usually ample off-road parking around the main road through Bishop Sutton and its central streets. Please make sure you are not blocking up spaces for people’s houses though.
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