Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Walk 183 Clevedon to Portishead. Severn Beach. Bristol
Walk 183 Clevedon to Portishead. Severn Beach. Bristol.
(Third leg of English coastal walk – Lands End to Bristol)
Map: L/R 172
Distance: 12 km or 8 miles
Terrain: roads, coastal path.
Access: Parking in each location
Public transport: Buses every 45 minutes between Clevedon and Portishead. Trains from Bristol Temple Mead to Severn Beach.
This walk is split into 3 sections. The first between Clevedon and Portishead, the second around Severn Beach and the third in Bristol. It is a good idea to visit Bristol if you can as there is much maritime history to be seen including the SS Great Britain, The Matthew replica (the sailing ship of the explorer Cabot) and the V Shed Museum with its comprehensive story of the city. I would also recommend a trip to the Brunel Clifton Bridge and the open bus tour which takes you there and other places of interest in the city.
For the first walk, start at the south of Clevedon and walk along Salthouse Bay and up to Clevedon Pier. This was opened in 1869 and is one of the oldest Victorian piers still in existence. It is a Grade 1 Listed Building which collapsed in 1970 and was rebuilt in 2001. The building at the front of the pier is The Toll House and it was built at the same time as the pier, It is in the style of a castle and was accommodation for the pier master. For some time there were salt-water baths next to the pier.
Clevedon goes back a long way and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a small settlement. It was an agricultural village prior to Victorian times when it became a popular seaside resort. The first large scale production of penicillin took place in the town.
The walk to Portishead passes through low open cliffs and quiet copses eventually passing through a caravan settlement before reaching the outskirts of Portishead. Alongside Kilkenny Bay there is a golf course and soon you reach Battery Point Lighthouse built in 1931. Originally, there was a fort here used during the English Civil War by the Royalists. Guns were also placed on the point during World War 2.
Portishead has a long history as a fishing port. The dock area has now been redeveloped into a marina. Walking away from the coast and back towards the town there is a man made lake built 100 years ago. One of the few remaining UK outdoor swimming pools is nearby.
For the sake of completing the coastal settlements in the south west it is worth going to Severn Beach and a reasonably pleasant walk along the Severn Way. Looking back towards the south is the heavy industrialised area of Avonmouth. Walking northwards takes you under the M4/48 and Severn Road Bridges.
Severn Beach village only existed as a farm until 1900 when the railway saw its potential as a seaside resort. In 1922 the village was created with a swimming pool called the Blue Lagoon, a boating lake and a club. Now it is more of a commuter settlement.
Photos show: Clevedon Pier and Severn Beach across The Avon with motorway bridge.
This is the end of Leg 3 of the coastal walk of England.