Walk Distance: 5.9km
Walk Duration: 1hr 30
OS Map: OS Landranger 172 Bristol & Bath; OS Explorer 155 Bristol & Bath; maps also available from National Trust website and Bath Tourist Information Centre (by Bath Abbey)
Suitable for: Babies in backpacks/carriers, older children (a few steep hills and uneven path in places make this less suitable for little legs).
Walk features: Great views, lovely picnic and kite flying spots, cafe,
The Bath Skyline National Trust walk is a fantastic 9.6 km of wide open views, perfect picnic spots and woodland, all overlooking the historic and beautiful World Heritage City of Bath. This shorter circular walk takes in some of the best parts of the Bath Skyline Walk and is great if you don’t have time for the full Bath Skyline circuit or for a winter family wander (n.b. it can get muddy after prolonged periods of rain). It is also a wonderful walk for whiling away a hot sunny afternoon with a picnic and kite or just to escape the busy streets of Bath below for a couple of hours. The walk is easily accessible by frequent buses from Bath city centre.
The walk starts from Claverton Hill near Bath University and the Bath Cats and Dogs Home. Passing the Cats and Dogs Home and car-park on your left, keep walking down the road in the direction of the American Museum. Up ahead you will see a stile going over a stone wall on your left. Just before you get to the stile there is a gate to the University of Bath sports fields on your left. Go through here – it’s a much easier option than negotiating the stone wall stile with a baby in a carrier!
Through the gate, turn almost immediately right through a little copse and following the line of the stone wall on your right. At the gate, turn left following the Bath Skyline Walk sign.
At the kissing gate, turn right into the field and follow the right hand edge as the path skirts around the field. There are often many dogs on leads here from the Dogs Home, out enjoying their daily walks – what a great spot for a rescue centre!
At the stile, climb over and into a wide open meadow, veer slightly left and head uphill. Until now Bath has been a tantalizing buzz along the right hand edge of the footpath with Bath skyline hidden by trees but this is where the landscape opens up and some magnificent views of Bath emerge.
At the brow of the hill you have a choice of paths – follow the grassy track right and downhill again enjoying those wonderful views. This is a lovely place for a pause and a great spot for a picnic.Pass through the gate and onto the woodland track beyond, keeping to the right-hand path. Continue downhill until the path forks (there is a sign set in the ground here).Take the left-hand fork and continue downhill through the woods. The path descends into a woody bowl, with the track weaving around the left-hand side of it before climbing back out again. Here another path intersects with the track you are on. Cross straight over and follow the Bath Skyline sign downhill.
Follow the right hand edge of the meadow. At the signpost, keep left following the sign for Bath Skyline Walk (not the public footpath). There are several TV masts just uphill to the left. Keep to the right hand side of these and you will come to a rough stony vehicle track. Continue down this track.
At the golf course clubhouse, climb over the stile. For more Bath skyline views, walk right downhill along the roadway entrance to the golf club. At the bottom of the drive there is a viewpoint and bench on your right hand side with more glorious views over the City of Bath. It is easy to spot the Royal Crescent from here, Bath Abbey and Bath ‘s other famous landmarks. Turn your back to the views and follow the footpath sign back uphill through the woods, emerging at Sham Castle. Alternatively, if you’d rather avoid more hills and have seen enough views of Bath already, take the footpath to the left hand side of the golf club house, skirting the edge of the golf course. This will bring you to Sham Castle.
Children will love Sham Castle with its elaborate mock turrets and gateway. Sham Castle is an extravagant folly commissioned by Ralph Allen in the eighteenth century with no more industrious purpose than to adorn his estate and provide employment for the local artisans. Follow the path passing in front of the castle (turning right if you have come up the path from the viewpoint). Where the path splits, keep to the left hand side and follow the right hand edge of the University of Bath playing fields (don’t turn right down the wooded footpath). Following the hedge will bring you to a stone stile. Climb over this and turn left along the pavement set above the university road down the embankment below.
Continue on this paved walkway as it leaves the roadside and weaves through the pleasant shady grounds of Bath University. After passing several residential buildings on your right the path will intersect with another footpath. Turn right and emerge from the woods , passing more university buildings and sports grounds on your right. Go through the gate and turn left along the road to return to the Bath Skyline walk start. Those in need of refreshment can purchase a hot drink, snack or more at the cafe at the American Museum.
Map of Route:
The Bath Skyline shorter length walk begins from Claverton Hill. There is some limited on-road parking on Claverton Hill and The Avenue but is very busy during term-time daytime hours with university staff and students. There is also a two hour parking limit here.
Access is easy by public transport. Just hop onto the no. U18 or 18 bus from Dorchester Street in the centre of Bath for the 12 minute ride up to Claverton Down. Ask the driver to tell you when you get to The Avenue stop on University of Bath campus. Cross the road and walk down The Avenue following the signs to the American Museum and you will come to the Bath Cats and Dogs Home on your right and the start of this Bath Skyline walk on your left.
View Bath Skyline (shorter length) Walk in a larger map
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