Leigh Woods Walk - Why Go?
If you're looking to go walking in the Bristol area, it's hard to think of a better place to start than Leigh Woods. Owned and managed by the National Trust, this green oasis on the edge of Bristol offers not just a respite from the bustling city, but some jaw-dropping views over the Avon Gorge and the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. This 1.6km walking route should take around 30-45 minutes to complete - depending on how often you stop to take photos.
Leigh Woods Walk - What to expect
Leigh Woods is a great place to spend a few hours if you're visiting Bristol. As well as offering some of the best views of the city's most famous landmark - Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous Clifton Suspension Bridge - the National Trust Property features a whole series of well-marked walking paths, as well as a mountain bike trail, picnic areas and all kinds of family friendly facilities, including a "natural play trail". There's even the remains of Stokeleigh Camp, an Iron Age Hill Fort.
Located on the western side of the River Avon, the woods are relatively flat, except for the fall off on the Eastern Edge, where the cliff plunges down to banks of the Avon River. This means none of the walks in Leigh Woods are particularly challenging, and you won't really need any specialist gear - although as always a decent pair of lightweight walking boots and a waterproof jacket are advisable.
The Leigh Woods walks are mostly on purpose cut trails that drain reasonably well, making them suitable for buggies, pushchairs and wheelchairs. However, the famously wet Bristol weather means that it can still get muddy in winter, especially if you step off the paths.
Leigh Woods Walk - The Route, Part 1
1.6km / 30 - 45 minutes
From the centre of Bristol, the X3 and X4 busses will take you to Leigh Woods. If you're driving, there's a carpark on the Western Side of the Woods. The classic Leigh Woods walk starts at the North Road entrance (grid ref: ST555730), confusingly located at the southern end of the Leigh Woods National Trust are. Here you'll find a route map.
Step through a kissing gate, and walk up the sunken path until you reach an open, grassy area. Stick to the right-hand side and then follow the small path onwards to Stokeleigh Camp. The distinctive ramparts of the ancient Iron Age hill fort should be clearly visible - grassy mounds that extend in a semicircle with the open end closest to the gorge.
Keep walking past the ramparts in the direction of the Avon Gorge for another 200 or so metres, until you reach the viewing point. From here you'll get an amazing view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and out over the city of Bristol beyond - assuming that the Bristol weather decides to play ball, of course.
Leigh Woods Walk - The Route, Part 2
Turn left from the view point, and walk away from the suspension bridge along the edge of the gorge. You'll pass a fenced pond, and then you should meet the marked "purple trail". Follow this trail until you reach what's known as the Parish Wall, where you join the blue trail.
You'll pass an ancient yew tree which grows in line with the wall, and the entrance to the natural place area, before reaching the National Trust office. Assuming you can tear your party away from the play area, it's a simple stroll from here back down the hill to the start.
Want more? Check out our full list of the best walks near Bristol for further advice on hiking in the environs of one of Britain's liveliest cities.