Ivor King’s Country Rambles around Pill
Walk 5 – Easton-in-Gordano, The Bottoms, Windmill Hill, The Downs School,
Children’s Hospice, Priors Wood, Portbury
A very nice walk of a little over 6 miles through bluebell woods (in May), a couple of steep climbs and some pleasant vistas.
You may start from the Kings Arms in Easton-in-Gordano. Walk up Rectory Road to the A369, or you can start from the cul-de-sac which is a section of the old Portishead to Bristol road at the top of Rectory Road. In any case, cross the A369 with care and turn right towards the motorway and in a few yards
- Turn left by Brandon Cottage and pass through a gate into Common Lane. After a few yards, cross the stile on your right and head for the double stile and gate straight ahead. Cross the stile and you will see a stile ahead leading into Summerhouse Wood. Follow the steepish path down through the wood to a path leading left and right beside a steep gulley with a stream running through. This gulley was once part of Coombe Lane and a bridleway, locally, this section of the walk is know as ‘The Bottoms’.Turn left and follow the path to another stile which cross and turn right to another stile on the right beside a gate. Cross and turn left onto the usable part of Coombe Lane passing through a gate onto a tarmac road beside a house – formerly a keeper’s cottage and follow the continuance of Coombe Lane ahead. Soon the lane turns sharp left and quickly right again. Here you have a choice – either continue along the lane to turn left into Failand Lane, or cross the stile on the left (which I did) leading into a field. Make for the water-trough diagonally across the field to a stile and Failand Lane. Cross the stile opposite and go up a sunken path to another stile which leads into a field rising steeply ahead. This is Windmill Hill.
- When you reach the stile into the wood, turn and admire the panorama before you, but unfortunately its mainly of industrial buildings at Portbury and Avonmouth Docks. the nearer view towards the green fields and farms however is a pleasant one. You may be lucky and see a buzzard or two circling overhead than here. Enter the wood still climbing and follow the path to a rather high stile to exit the wood. Follow the right-hand edge of the field to a double stile and cross to carry on straight ahead to join a war-time concrete track to a metal gate. Cross the stile beside the gate and carry on down the concrete track to a finger-post on the right pointing to a sloping path to a gate and stile adjoining Portbury Lane. The small reservoir on the right is a pleasant sight on a sunny day. Cross the lane and take the track opposite into another wooded area climbing steadily up through the trees. You will soon come across the remains of a group of cottages that once stood beside the track. It is nice to see that a new residence is being built from the stones produced by the demolition of the cottages. Now the track becomes a footpath which meanders through the trees to a stile leading to a large field at which point the path forks , but neither path is evident so follow the way-marker on the stile pointing slightly to the right up a quite steep slope. When you reach level ground you should see a stile in the far corner of the field. This leads into the Downs School playing field. The right of way actually runs diagonally across the field, but to save trampling on the cricket pitches, I followed the right-hand hedge passing a fallen tree-trunk (Ideal for a rest) and pass between two buildings to leave the field onto a track then a wide drive around the school buildings to Charlton Drive.
- Turn right on reaching the drive to pass the former Charlton Farm, now the new Charlton Farm Children’s Hospice South-West to Prior’s Wood via a kissing gate where there is an information board. Take the path straight ahead and in about 500 yards, the path forks. Take the right-hand path to take you away from the noise of the motorway traffic, although both paths meet again later on. The path meanders downward through Prior’s Wood. Known locally as ‘Bluebell Wood’ I could see why when I did this walk on May 2nd with the carpets of bluebells a joy to behold.
- At the end of the path turn left up wooden steps to where the two paths meet. At this point turn right through the gate onto a track to ‘Keepers Cottage’. Pass the cottage and carry on through two kissing gates to Caswell Lane on the edge of Portbury. Cross the lane to steps (very steep) down into a field and follow the path beside a stream and turn right across the stream and cross the field diagonally to cross the road which used to carry on to Sheepway and Portishead until the M5 was built. Follow the line of houses round to the left into Priory Road where you will see a finger post pointing to the left to a kissing gate then a stile. At another kissing gate, you can pass through to follow a fence on your right or keep the fence on your left to enter an enclosed track to the Portbury Parish Church. On the mound opposite the church is Portbury Ancient Standing Stone of 2000 BC, complete with an information plate. Keep straight on past the church and an old cottage to the stile which leads to a second stile, a second field and a right turn to meet Portbury High Street. Cross over the road with care to the car park and cross the A369 using the central refuges, turning right to the bus-stop where bear left onto yet another stretch of the old Bristol to Portishead road to a stile on the left…..
- ….onto a permissive path which the Footpath Committee negotiated with Gordano Services several years ago and created by working parties of Committee members of the time. The path is way-marked by signs and paint splashes on trees wandering round the perimeter of Gordano Services to reach a stile on the right leading to the path across the field towards St. George’s Church, Easton-in-Gordano, ending at Marsh Lane. Turn right along Church Road with the church on your left to return to the King’s Arms, or continue up Rectory Lane to where you may have parked your car.
I hope you enjoyed the walk.