Woodland and Forest Walks Near Bristol

Photo by Marc Ruaix on Unsplash

Woodland Walks near Bristol

The area around Bristol are full of wonderful walks and the forest or woodland walks are particularly special. The ancient footpaths and bridleways crossing public and private land allow access to the most stunning scenery at all times of the year.

The woodland walks set out below are some of the best in the area and cater for all tastes and abilities.

Click on the links below for the details of each walk

Leigh Woods

Bristol suspension bridge from Leigh Woods

Image credit: National Trust

Bristol suspension bridge seen from Leigh Woods

The walk

Leigh Woods are so close to Bristol that you can walk there, across the very scenic Bristol Suspension Bridge. Despite this, this forest is very serious about conservation and contains an large number of Nationally Rare and Nationally Scarce plant and insect species. It is important to support this work by staying to the paths and taking litter home with you.

If you are lucky, you might see roe deer, foxes or vowls and even grass snakes! You might also catch sight of Peregrine falcon or hear their calls.

You can find out more about Leigh Woods on the National Trust website.

Quick Facts

Start point: Public car park in Leigh Woods, Abbots Leigh, Bristol BS8 3QB

Distance: Various walks available

Access: The purple trail (see the NT Leigh Woods map) is ideal for buggies. The red trail is slightly more taxing, but not much!

Difficulty : Easy

Facilities: There is a composting toilet, which is currently closed. You can have picnics, but please take all rubbish home with you as there are no bins

Dogs : Welcome but please keep under control and take any waste home or use the bin at the North Road entrance

Getting there: There is a public car park here. There is no car parking from the National Trust side of Leigh Woods. You can either walk from the City Centre across Bristol Suspension Bridge, or take X3 or X4 buses

The Downs

Bristol suspension bridge from Clifton Down

Image credit: Harry Kessell on Unsplash

Bristol suspension bridge seen (by a dog) from Clifton Downs

The walk

Just across the River Avon from Leigh Woods, in the Clifton/Redland areas of Bristol, can be found a huge area called The Downs. The Downs is made up from two landscapes, Clifton Down and Durdham Down and are protected from development by Act of Parliament from 1861.

The Downs are very popular with walker and runners and are used for team sports and occasional festivals, funfairs and circuses. They provide plenty of footpaths and woodland trails (in the wooded section next the river).

The Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project have produced a beautiful series of leaflets on the Downs area. The Downs tree trail provides practical details on the trail, and fascinating information on the stunning wildlife you will encounter. Alternatively you can just wander - but do stay on the marked paths as some of the woodlands are private property.

Quick Facts

Location: The Downs are about 2 miles from the City Centre, in the north-west of Bristol. You can find a map here.

Distance: Various walks available

Access: If you follow the The Downs tree trail the route is mostly flat and suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. However, navigation may be more challenging in winter or when it rains.

Difficulty : Easy

Facilities: The nearest toilets can be found on the approach road to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Dogs : Please keep dogs under control and dispose of waste sensibly.

Brandon Hill Nature Reserve

Brandon Hill Nature Reserve

Image credit: Avon Wildlife Trust

Brandon Hill Nature Reserve

The walk

Unlike many of the walks shown here, Brandon Hill has only been a nature reserve since 1980, when it was created from 5 acres of urban parkland by the Avon Wildlife Trust. At the same time it is thought to be one of the oldest parks in the country, as it was given to the council by the Earl of Gloucester in 1174.

The park is in the very centre of Bristol, making it very easy to access by either foot or public transport. At the highest point there are great views over the River Avon.

You can find out more about Brandon Hill on the Avon Wildlife Trust website.

Quick Facts

Start point: 14 Jacob's Wells Rd, Bristol BS8 1EA, UK

Distance: Various walks available

Access: Some steps and slopes, mainly easy access. Access for wheelchairs from Great George Street and Berkeley Square only.

Difficulty : Easy

Facilities: As the nature reserve is so central, it is easy to access the shops and cafes of the city

Dogs : Welcome but please keep on lead at all times to avoid disturbing the wildlife

Getting there: There are numerous cark parks in the area, and countless public transport options.

More walks coming soon