Leigh Woods

The day after our visit to Tyntesfield, as we were in Bristol, we wanted to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge (Mr NTbB is an engineer and I studied Brunel at school). On the far side of the bridge from Bristol is the village of Leigh Woods, which is adjacent to Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve, managed by the National Trust. Leigh Woods NNR is an important mature broadleaf woodland that is home to a wide variety of wildlife and the site of an Iron Age hillfort.

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We were feeling energetic (and had some time on our hands), so we opted to walk from Bristol city centre up to Clifton – something that’s not for the faint-hearted! It was a lovely morning so we followed the river all the way along past the harbour and towards the gorge. On the right-hand side of the road just before the road tunnel, there’s a path marked ‘Zig-zag path to Clifton’. It’s very steep, very zig-zaggy and has quite a few steps, so it’s definitely not suitable for wheelchairs, and probably not for pushchairs either. However, the pain is relatively short-lived as it’s so steep and there are some great chances to peek at the bridge through the trees on the way up.

A signpost to the Clifton Suspension Bridge

After walking across the bridge (free for pedestrians and cyclists, £1 each way for vehicles) and calling into the excellent Clifton Suspension Bridge visitor centre (free, donations welcome), we took the scenic route to Leigh Woods. Just after the visitor centre there’s a turning on the right into North Road.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Following this road round (admiring lots of magnificent houses), we eventually arrived at Leigh Woods NNR. There is no parking on site, and on a sunny, busy day, as it was when we visited, people park all along the road – it’s a very popular spot – not bringing the car was a definite benefit here.

A map and information board for Leigh Woods

We had a short but enjoyable wander around the woods (during which time I completely forgot to take any photos – sorry!) before heading back into Clifton. For families there’s a den building area and there are designated mountain bike trails in the woods too. We particularly liked the views of the bridge from the hill fort (whose earthworks are still very visible).

For those wanting an easier route to the woods, the First Bus X3/X3A and X4 services depart to Portishead from Bristol city centre (every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday, every 30 minutes on Sundays) and travel across the bridge and into Leigh Woods village – it’s just a short walk from the village into the woods.

Please note: All information is correct at time of publication, but please do check – timetables and ticket prices are subject to regular changes.

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