Lockdown 2 Local Adventure: The Bristol 3 Peaks

Lockdown 2 Local Adventure: The Bristol 3 Peaks

The Bristol 3 Peaks is a circular route in North Somerset.  The route starts in Chew Magna and passes around Pensford and Clutton.  The 3 notable peaks of the route are Maes Knoll, Knowle Hill and Blackberry Hill. The route is 26.5 km (16.5 miles) and has 580 m (1900 ft) of vertical gain throughout.

A blurred selfie I took early on after reaching the most northerly point of the circuit

By no means is this a route that is as challenging as the likes of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, but it is a beautiful circular walk very close to Bristol.  This makes the Bristol 3 Peaks a good challenge whether enjoying a longer walk or in my case, an enjoyable run.

The route starts and finished in Chew Magna at grid reference ST576631 (red marker in the map above). From Chew Magna I headed north past North Wick through the fields and onto a road.  While crossing the early fields, there were messages of encouragement written in one of the sties. I wish I had found them nearer the end. 

I followed the road for a kilometre before turned back into the fields and travelling South East towards Pensford.  This turning off the road was easy to spot but I did pass a couple foot paths later and needed to back track. 

One of the turnings I missed. This was the view from the road.

From this point I travelled South West for 8 kilometres, passing through Pensford along the way. 

I passed under the viaduct in Pensford

Progress was tough in the fields, a lot of them had been recently ploughed and with the heavy rain over the last few days, they were waterlogged.  Even tracking around the edges of the fields my shoes became heavy with mud. 

A small treat after Pensford, at around 10 kilometres was passing a farm where I came upon some very happy looking goats, hiding from the rain. 

Following the path south and then back west towards Clutton, the sky opened.  Until this point, there had been light drizzle in the air but oh boy did it rain hard. 

I was busy taking this picture when the rain really came in.

As I approached a house, I saw a post man delivering letters who looked at me with a face of disbelief.  I jokingly said “its not the weather for it really” as I ran on by. 

I also scoffed one of my legendary Nutella and Peanut Butter bagels!!

From atop of the hills, through the mist and the rain, I could make out the shape of Chew Valley Lake.  It was a shame that the conditions were so bad as the view would have been fantastic! 

The view was very limited due to the mist and rain

After covering 20 Kilometres, I started to head North back towards Chew Magna.  28 kilometres later I was back, covered in mud and feeling wet.  A recipe for a good day!!

One of the final legs of the run, very close to the end

The route.  It passes through a lot of farmland which after heavy rain (like I found out) becomes very waterlogged.  The ascents and descents are very slippery underfoot, so care is needed. 

One of the easier tracks to follow, it felt very barren and isolated

As the route crosses a lot of agricultural land, it is important to follow the countryside code and to shut the gates behind you. There are often cattle in the fields so be mindful if there are calves. Cows can be very protective of their young. I have linked a short version of the countryside code here

When not in the fields, there are multiple legs of the route in woodlands.  The woodlands are very secluded and pretty, so be sure not to drop any litter and enjoy the peaceful paths. 

A steep and rather technical descent in the woods

There are also a couple of busy road crossings, but these are easily crossed with care. 

A traditional sign in on one of quieter road crossings

The navigation of the route is very straight forward.  The entire route is well sign posted but there are a few kilometres on the road and on 2 occasions there are footpaths that turn off the roads that are not obvious and very easy to miss. 

If visibility is good and you are paying attention, you could easily complete the loop without any assistance.  However, I would recommend you take a map with you in case bad weather and visibility descends

If anyone wants a copy of my GPX file, get in touch and I can share a copy which can be uploaded onto smart watches and mobile phones.

This is a great mini adventure very close to Bristol.  It has it all, fields, farms, city views, lake view, woodlands, and wildlife. 

An inquisitive horse that followed me along the fence boundary until its end

I fully recommend anyone, and everyone has a go at the Bristol 3 Peaks, whether running or walking, on a bright and dry day, this is a great circular route.

I will return and run this again in the future but maybe with a better forecast!!

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