Walk 3

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Ivor King’s Country Rambles around Pill

Walk 3 – River Avon Trail, Paradise Bottom, The Grotto,
Abbots Pool, Happerton Farm

A circular walk of about 7.5 miles that can be started at any stage. It includes stretches of river-side, woodlands, tarmac road and fields but only two stiles! There are a few easy climbs but the footpath up through Paradise Bottom is a bit strenuous. There are a few muddy paths – mainly the lower section of Paradise Bottom and around the stone bridge at Abbots Pool, so wear sturdy walking boots – trainers would be most unsuitable. Go prepared and you will enjoy the walk


  1. The walk begins at the information board on the western down-river side of Pill Creek – the start of the River Avon Trail. Take the raised walk towards the railway viaduct. At the end of the paved footway, turn left down the steps to the American Monument at the head of the creek. From the monument turn right on the road, just before the arches, turn left through a steel barrier with another information board. Carry on up the foot/cycle path with the railway on your right, passing a games area and youth shelter on your left and some unusual mosaic sculptures. Take the footpath on the left around an earth mound with a seat atop. Follow the path to the corner of the field through the wooden gate posts onto a road which bears right. Then immediately on your left take the path signposted ‘Cycleway 41’ over The Green. Office blocks abound here where Ham Green Hospitals once stood. Cross the road into the Hart Close, (named after local historian Gerald) and bear left into Chapel Pill Lane. Pass the old lodge on your left and the grand entrance gates to the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre. The main building is the original Ham Green House now restored with new buildings attached. Opposite the gates is Haymaize Lane which once led to Portishead railway lines’ Ham Green Halt before local rail lines were savaged by Dr. Beeching.
  2. Carry on along Chapel Hill Lane, passing Rock Cottages on the left with glimpses of Ham Green Lake on the right. As you reach the north end of the lake, Chapel Pill is on your left. Stay on the lane to Chapel Pill Farm and pass through a wooden gate into an enclosed path. Soon you will see the River Avon through trees on the left with small craft moored in Chapel Pill. Where the path opens up beside the river, note the white building on the opposite bank. Now a private house, in the days of sail ,ships were not allowed to carry gunpowder into the Port of Bristol, so explosives were left in this gunpowder store until the ship returned. Count the old iron capstans you pass and when you reach the third one you are standing in the middle of Horse Shoe Bend where many a ship has come to grief. About 200 yards further on are very convenient picnic table and benches. Soon the old roman port of Sea Mills is seen on the opposite side of the river. After passing a navigation light enter woodlands on your right to reach an information board.

  3. Here we leave the river Avon Trail and take the footpath under the arches into Paradise Bottom. Stay on the main footpath climbing steadily until arriving at a clearing, where ideally there should be a seat. A sign on the right points to the Grotto. Take this undulating footpath with Paradise Bottom falling steeply on your right. After 500 steps or so the cave on the left is NOT the Grotto. Carry on another 50 yards to the grotto were you can rest and enjoy the views.  Return back to the clearing.

  4. Continue on the original path to a metalled road. Here you could turn right to follow the circular road to Leigh Court rejoining the road further on, but this detour is not included in the walk mileage. Otherwise, turn left and after 100 yards there is a car park and information board on your left. Regain the road passing the entrance to Freeways Disabled Facility on the right and Karpasia Farm on the left. The lane then passes Brackenwood Garden Centre to join the A369 Bristol to Portishead road. Ignore the 10 mph signs you may walk or run faster if you wish! Cross the A369 carefully and turn left to Sandy Lane.

  5. Alternative 1 – A stop for refreshment at the George Inn which is just a short walk away following the pathway beside the A369 up the incline. On leaving the George, turn right then right again into Manor Road. Pass the Manor House on the left and at the junction with Manor Lane on the right, take the track on the right. Stay on this track passing some private houses. Where the track ends, a kissing gate is seen on the right with an information board. This leads onto a flight of descending stone steps to a stone bridge. Do NOT cross the bridge but turn left besides the brook and cascades climbing up some steps to the main lake. Turn right walking along the dam to an information board where you rejoin the main walk. (This detour is also not included in the main walk mileage.)

  6. Alternative 2 – Continuing the main walk, turn right into Sandy Lane. At the entrance to Saddlestone House on the right keep straight ahead and downhill through the woodlands. Pass Knightcott Road and the Glen Avenue on your right and Glenn Cottage on your left. 100 yards further on the footpath to Abbots Pool is on your left to the right of a private drive. Follow this footpath and on a left-hand bend join the track coming up from the right. The track leads up a gentle slope to an information board, at which take the descending steps to the left to a stone bridge. Do NOT cross the bridge but turn right following the brook and cascades up some steps to the main lake and an information board. An ideal spot for a picnic.

  7. From the information board, take the ascending path on the right away from the lake (not the steps). At the information board where you originally turned down the stone steps, keep straight on passing the original footpath on the right to rejoin undulating Sandy Lane for 1 mile. At the entrance to a farm on the right enter woodlands. Pass Tanpit Cottage and Mulberry Farm on your left. Fir Tree House is now on your right and Laurel Farm on the left. At a left-hand bend in the lane, ignore the stile on the right but continue a few more yards to a finger-post on the right. Pass through the metal gate to gain the excellent footpath ahead. Once over the brow of the hill, the path meanders down to Upper Happerton Farm with fine views of the docks complex and Severn estuary.

  8. On reaching the farm pass through a metal gate and go left past a barn onto the farm drive. At the T junction with Happerton Lane turn left and at Happerton Farm, turn right up a lane leading to a T junction with the A369. Continue carefully across the main road and slightly to your left is a stile. The footpath is clearly seen running straight across a large open field. After 150 yards at a junction, take the path on your left to a stile and an enclosed bridle-way to the top-end of Cross Lanes. Turn left passing Crockerne Drive on your right. At the junction with Westward Drive, turn right into Westward Drive and continue to near the bottom end where you turn left into Water Lane to return to the village green.
Paper copies of these walks can be purchased from the Resource Centre
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