Severn Bridge walk

Walk the Severn Bridge from England to Wales over the Severn Estuary

Start and Finish Severn Bridge Services (M48 J1) in England or Thornwell (M48 J2) in Wales
Length 5 miles / 8 km
Time 2 hours
Travel

Severn Services (M48 J1) in England, BS35 4BH : 2 hours free parking (not enough time to do the entire walk). Or try BS35 4BG, and walk along the maintainence access road to the bridge.

Thornwell (M48 J2) in Wales, NP16 5GH : free on street parking

It is now free for cars to cross the bridge - the toll has been abolished.

Public transport: Train to Chepstow, then follow the start of the signed Wales Coast Path for 2.5km to Thornwell. The WCP passes under the M48 at the start of the walk).

Walk Notes

This is an international walk, from England to Wales, over the grade I listed (old, M48) Severn Bridge, with views throughout over the Severn Estuary which divides England and Wales.

The walk is unusual but spectacular, with a motorway on 1 side, and an amazing view on the other. Would be great to break up a long journet to/from South Wales.

The 2.5 mile long River Severn suspension bridge is high over the Severn Estuary. It has walk/cycle paths on either side. Walk out on one side of the bridge, back on the other.

Starting in England, at the Motorway Services, follow the way/cycle path onto the bridge, and walk to Wales. In Wales, follow the steps down, and walk through a tunnel under the motorway, very briefly joining the Wales Coast Path (or turn right, north for Thornwell). Then back up onto the bridge, and walk back to England. Cross over the former toll booth bridge back to the Services and the start.

If you fancy company, there is a Severn Bridge Parkrun every Saturday @ 9am which starts from the Welsh side (but it turns back early as its 5km, not 5 miles)

The walk is very exposed. Don't do it on a rainy or windy day.

Walk Options

You could do a shorter out-and-back walk from the Severn Services (England side) which is the best bit. The Wales side has a 1 mile long viaduct at the start over the River Wye leading to the main bridge, but the England side is straight out over the Estuary to the highest part of the bridge.

Eat/Drink

Severn Bridge services on the England side (not cheap).

Thornwell Football Club Cafe (on the Wales side, open evenings, all day Wed-Sun)

Notes

The first Severn Estuary crossing was the 1886 Severn rail tunnel on the Paddington - South Wales mainline. It was the world's longest underwater tunnel for over 100 years. From 1924, until the opening of the Severn Bridge, a car shuttle operated. The tunnel has a very corrosive atmosphere with diesel fumes and humidity - the track has to be replaced every 6 years. The tunnel suffers from water infiltration - nearby springs - large pumps have run continuously since it was opened to pump water out.

The 1966 Severn Bridge (this walk's bridge) carried the 4 lane M4 Motorway, and 2 walk/cycle paths. As of Jan-20, it has the world's 43rd longest span (between the towers distance). The motorway has been renamed the M48.

The 1996 Second Severn Crossing (now the Prince of Wales Bridge) carries the 6 lane M4 motorway was built to replace the original which was approaching full capacity, and needed weight limits due to corrosion. It does not have footpaths. Due to its design, it can stay open in windier weather than the original. It is downstream of the first bridge, and has a shorter route.

When the new bridge opened, the M4 motorway was diverted over it. The motorway over the old bridge was renamed the M48. Its usually fairly quiet.

The bridge consists of 4 structures, from west to east: (River) Wye Bridge, Beachley (peninsular) Viaduct, (River) Severn Bridge, Aust Viaduct

The Severn Bridge Services isn't the original building on the cliff edge with a view, but a new inland building closer to the Junction without a view.

The toll over both bridges was removed in 2018

The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world - 14.5m / 48ft.

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Start Junction 1, M48 Map Directions

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

May-20

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