Bristol’s Answer to the Bob Graham Round: The Gordano Round

Bristol’s Answer to the Bob Graham Round: The Gordano Round

An Epic Local Escape from Lockdown 3 on Adventurous Trails

Bristol’s answer to the Bob Graham round. Albeit shorter, less hilly and easier.  Not really a comparison a Bob but The Gordano round is an excellent route which covers a wide variety of terrain requiring stamina and constant attention to avoid missing hidden turnstiles. I ran this round during Lockdown 3 when travel was limited and it made for an excellent local adventure.

The signage for The Gordano Round atop of the tribute to the creator, Jim Dyer

The Round

The Gordano Round is a long-distance figure of eight route starting in Portishead.   It follows the Severn Estuary costal path to Clevedon, passing the Black Nore Lighthouse along the way. 

The Black Nore Lighthouse

The path then turns inland, heading over Dial Hill, through wooded countryside and farmland toward the village Clapton in Gordano.  The round continues through more farmland down to the edge of Abbots Pool in Abbots Leigh.  From here it heads back following different trails towards Clapton in Gordano before returning to Portishead.

The Gordano Round is covered in the OS Explorer 154 – Bristol West & Portishead.

The Run

It was soon after New Year and I had not been on “best behaviour” through the festivities.  It was a peculiar festive period, with the ever-changing lockdown restrictions and I was determined to make the most of my annual leave from work. I over indulged, lapsed on training, and “enjoyed” the locked down festivities.

After New Year I wanted to do a long run. I had the Gordano Round in my sights for a while, but I had never found the time to do it.  I would normally travel further away to run event or train in the mountains but that has not been possible for a while.  What better time than to take on the Gordano Round?

Clevedon Pier looking lonely with the grey drop

I sourced a GPX file from the internet, uploaded it onto my Garmin Fenix 5, prepared the essential bagels and packed my trail bag. 

My big error of the whole run was not thoroughly checking the GPX file.  It was very poor, lacking detail.  A straight line had been plotted where there are multiple small turns, some were through buildings or through dense woodland.  This resulted in a 37 km GPX file ending at 47 km. 

The intent of this post is to encourage you to run or walk the Gordano Round without facing the same difficulties.  I have carefully drawn the route seen above to accurately depict the round and the areas I deviated from the route because of building/farm works. 

The start of the Gordano Round is in the Roath Road carpark in Portishead.   This is a free carpark but with limited spaces, I suspect it would get busy during peak months (outside of lockdown). 

I found the Gordano Round tough, due to a combination of poor GPX, the endless mud in the second half and probably (definitely) too much Christmas pudding.  The round covers a wide variety of terrains, along costal paths, through woodlands and across various farmland.

The Gordano Round is beautifully scenic

Roughly 90% of the course is on trails which is wonderful.  Most of the roads are minor but there is a dangerous, short lived road section in the last 5 km. At grid ref 482736 there is meant to be a right turn which I could not find due to construction works.  Instead, I ran to Whitehouse Lane then down a side lane, at grid ref 481735, through a small gate and across a field.  There is a path on the side of the road, identified by a Gordano Round sign.  Once the path runs out you must run on the road.  It is a few hundred metres of a busy narrow lane with NO PAVEMENT, BE CAUTIOUS.

The course is quite devious, and stiles can be easily missed.  Especially in the less popular sections where the hedges can be quite overgrown.  At times, the Gordano Round signage is well spaced.  However, the distance and the wide mix of terrain make this route very interesting. 

It is full of beautiful views of the countryside and the 7 – 8 km section along the wonderful, undulating coastal path.  It is a great route for marathon runners or long-distance hikers alike. 

Caution, TANKS?!

I highly recommend taking on the Gordano Round, but I would advise running it in the warmer months to avoid the worst of the mud that I encountered. 

The muuuuudddd

When I run it again, I will do the round in reverse.  This way I will save the best section, along the coastal path, for last.

Get out and enjoy this challenging local trail.  As ever, if you would like a copy of the GPX file, I will gladly send a copy or download it via the link under the OS Map.  I hope you have more success than I did. 

Get ready for muck gear. Here are my abused Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX

Stay Safe.

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