Family walks near Bristol & Bath
5 Family walks near Bristol and Bath
Somerset has some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Being so close to Bristol and Bath makes it easy to pop on your boots, pack a picnic and discover some of these fantastic family walks – ideal for kids of all ages.
Where can I walk with the kids in Somerset?
Here are a few of the best family walks in Somerset.
These aren’t ‘set routes’, but more an idea of nice areas to explore. It’s worth getting a map of the local area and plotting a route beforehand. It’s then easier to measure and plan the length and difficulty of the walk and decide what suits the family best. Of course, walking with a 2 year old will be different to walking with a 22 year old!
How to make a walk exciting for kids
Let’s face it; sometimes the kids get bored walking. To keep them entertained, explore our series of Family Adventure Guides; filled with outdoor activities for the children to help keep them entertained on your walks! And read our top tips for walking with the kids.
1) Explore The Somerset Levels
The Levels are close to Bristol and Bath and are a great place for family walks. Also featuring on our ‘Family Day Trips from Bristol’, they’re flat, far reaching and absolutely stunning. Walking down on the Somerset Levels is great, or climb above them and enjoy far reaching views out to sea.
– Dolebury Warren & Rowberrow Woods (OS Map 141)
There are a number of routes that you can take here as the area is so large and it’s perfect for walking with the family.
We tend to start with a steep climb up to the top of Dolebury Warren (which the littlest legs might need help with) and then enjoy the beautiful walk along the top of the ancient hill fort, jumping on bumpy old rabbit hills. There’s a sort of spooky, mystical feeling up there and the views are incredible. The 5km (ish) loop descends down into Rowberrow Woods and follows the stream back. Limited parking at the base of Dolebury Warren.
As an alternative, you can loop from the Swan Inn at Rowberrow and have a pint on your return!
– Draycott Sleights (OS Map 141)
This short, family-friendly walk is easily accessible and great for children. The official loop around the reserve is 1.7km but you can continue on at the far end. The views are fantastic looking out right over the Somerset levels. Kestrels and Peregrine falcons are often spotted flying overhead. Across the road from Draycott Sleights is an old hill fort where there are some good little bits of rock climbing for the kids.
– Ham Wall (OS Map 141)
Ham Wall is well known for it’s Starling murmurations in winter. At these times the reserve can be very busy but the rest of the year it’s relatively quiet. It’s great for kids as the paths and there’s plenty to see. We’ve seen bitterns, egrets, hobbys, and even an otter. The sounds of frogs in Spring is incredible as well as the butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies. See below for my ‘Ham Wall bingo’ game.
There’s a large car park (free for RSPB members) and the main pathways are buggy friendly. If you want to explore the wilder pathways through the reserve, leave dogs at home as there are certain areas where they’re not permitted. There’s a new playground to enjoy too.
Nearby pub The Sheppey, Godney is worth a visit.
2) Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes
Both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes are absolutely beautiful but the small pathways around them can be very busy. Rather than visit the lakes themselves, there are beautiful family walks up above them.
– Compton Martin (OS Map 141)
The Coombe (steep sided valley) behind Compton Martin is great fun for exploring. There’s a wooded path which climbs the hillside, opening up to a large field at the top. Here, there’s a great view looking down over the lake and it’s a good spot for a picnic. Following the path back down through the Coombe is incredible. It’s like being taken back to the time of the dinosaurs. Ancient woodland with high steep sides and caves dotted all over. A proper adventure playground!
Pop into the Ring of Bells, Compton Martin for a pint or treat yourself to a meal. Lovely pub garden for summer, or snuggle in next to one of the Ingelnook fireplaces after a wet walk with the kids in winter.
– East Harptree (OS Map 141)
This beautiful spot near Bristol and Bath is ideal for family walks. The woods above the village are great for exploring. Established paths (good for buggies) wind through the woods and show the Chew Valley’s industrial past with an old lead mining chimney and ponds created from lead mining (full of newts).
If you don’t have a buggy, head through the woods to the top of the Combe at East Harptree and follow the stream down back into the village. We’ve spent hours rambling along these paths, exploring the Combe and playing on the old hill fort with rope swings and a spooky statue of a knight. With so much to see around one small village, take a map and plan your route! This is where we took Clare Balding on our episode of BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings. Listen here.
Find more woodland walks near Bristol here.
3) Ubley Warren (OS Map 141)
The perfect place for a family walk in Somerset – especially for younger children. This former lead mine dates back to Roman times but now it’s the most amazing playground ever! There are mounds and dips, caves and caverns, mines and tunnels, rocks and trees. There are even old mine shafts with grates over them, perfect for dropping rocks down and listening for the long-awaited splosh at the bottom. Walks can be long or short. Not buggyable.
4) Visit the beach near Bristol (OS Map 153)
Everyone loves the sea (or technically the Estuary) and Brean Down is a wonderful place to visit with kids. Walk up the natural peninsular and enjoy incredible views of Bristol Estuary, Flat Holm and Steep Holm islands. Take some time to explore the fort at the end of the peninsular and finish off with an ice cream or hot chocolate in the National Trust café. It’s a great winter beach too (and dog friendly).
5) Cheddar Gorge (OS Map 141)
You can’t talk about walks in Somerset without including Cheddar Gorge. This is an iconic place to visit and only 30 minutes from Bristol and Bath. There’s a beautiful circular walk along the full length of the gorge and back along the other side (8km). Park at Black Rock car park and climb to the dizzying heights of the gorge to admire the views. Stop half way in Cheddar for an ice cream or a pint before heading home along the opposite side, leaping across the ‘giant’s rocks’ as my son calls them. There are shorter loops on both sides of the gorge.
Find out about Max’s birthday adventure on Cheddar Gorge and a new idea for a party bag here.
How do we plot our adventures? Using a map and the awesome series of Wild Guides which share the best, secret spots to explore across the South West. We take it with us whenever we visit somewhere new! Grab a copy here.
*I have used and enjoyed the Wild Guide book series for years and I hope you will too. Though I take an affiliate commission for each book sale from my website, this helps cover the running costs of Go Wild Go West.