Bath Circular via 2 Tunnels and a Canal walk
Walk/Cycle route via a disused railway, Devonshire and Combe Down tunnels, Tucking Mill Viaduct, the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, Dundas Aqueduct, and historic Bath
|Length||12.4 miles ( 19.9 km) with 425 ft (125 meters) of ascent|
|Toughness||2 out of 10 - almost step free over cycle friendly paths|
|Maps||OS Explorer 155 Bristol and Bath|
This walk uses a newly opened (2013) walk/cycle path along a disused railway line with 2 tunnels and 2 viaducts. The return route is along the Kennet and Avon Canal tow path, passing the Dundas Aqueduct. The final stretch through the centre of historic Bath. The entire route is surfaced.
The walk heads west from the centre of Bath. If starting from Bath Station, you can follow the riverside path.
Cross the river and join the railway path. Follow it via a mix of cuttings, embankments and bridges. The first tunnel is the 409 metre (0.25 mile) long Devonshire Tunnel. The path crosses a viaduct over Lyncombe Vale. The second tunnel is the 1,672 metre (1 mile) long Combe Down tunnel, which is now the longest pedestrian tunnel in the country. Both tunnels have lighting, but is would be prudent to bring a torch. Finally the railway path crosses the Tucking Mill viaduct over Horsecombe Vale before reaching Midford. Being a former railway line, the path's gradients are gentle
Just before the Tucking Mill viaduct, there is a footpath (only) short cut (avoiding Midford) to Monkton Combe, saving 2km
Lunch is at The Hope and Anchor. If you have a bike, you can continue south along the Colliers Way / NN24 partly off road cycle route.
Head north east from Midford, along a quiet lane, to the Monkton Combe and the Wheelwrights Arms pub. Carry on to join a canal spur - The Somerset Coal Canal (cafe, Angelfish Restaurant) which soon joins the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath for the return journey by Dundas Aqueduct (which takes the canal over the River Avon). Follow the canal path (initially north, don't cross the aqueduct) back to Bath. There is a popular canal side pub at Bathampton on the way.
Leave the canal to take a short cut to the station through the historic old town. The route shown is a cycle friendly one. Walkers should feel free to vary it
Note that this route is not completely step-free. Several bridges on the former railway route were removed while it was closed. Not all of them have yet been replaced - see the 2 Tunnels Greenway News page.
If you like this walk, there are lots of amazing "levanda" (canal) walks with tunnels through mountains in Madeira
(not shown on the map) In winter, or if you simply want a shorter walk, you could walk back over the hill directly to Bath, through Prior Park (NT) if you are a member, or via Claverton Down if you are not, following points 3.5 to 1 on the NT Bath Skyline Walk
As mentioned above, cyclists can continue south from Midford along the partly traffic free Colliers Way
You could cross the Aqueduct, and walk to Bradford-on-Avon, which has direct trains to Bath, and to London via Salisbury. See SWC Walk 6 : Bradford to Bath
Bath has a fast (1 hr 30 mins, direct) train service from London Paddington, and a much slower but cheaper one from London Waterloo (2 hrs 30 mins, direct or change at Salisbury).
However, there are problems: 1) these stations are outside the Network Card area, which makes the journey more expensive, and 2) the tickets on the fast trains from Paddington are much more expensive than the slower ones from Waterloo
Suggested Train: Plan 3+ weeks in advance to allow advance tickets to be purchased. Take the first train after 9am from Paddington.
About 2 hrs 15 mins from London.
Park at Midford (i.e. away from Bath centre, for easy parking)
If making a weekend of it, Bristol, Avebury and Glastonbury are nearby.
The Hope and Anchor Midford, BA2 7DD, 01225 832296
Wheelwrights Arms Country Inn, Monkton Combe, BA2 7HB, 01225 722287
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.