Route 4

Route Details

  • From - to: Greenwich to Fishguard
  • Distance: 432 miles
  • Terrain: Various
  • Access: Many rail stations from London to Fishguard
  • National Cycle Network: National Route 4
  • Current closures/diversions on this route

Route Description

The route is fully open and signed. Although the route has not been finalised in central London between Greenwich and Putney Bridge, a fully signed route does exist.

The route is described here from London to Fishguard but is signed in both directions.

Route sections

1. Central London: Greenwich to Putney Bridge
National Route 4 starts or finishes at Greenwich. The route through central London follows the River Thames as closely as possible through to Putney Bridge using both the north and south side of the Thames. Future proposed alignments direct the course of the route mainly along the south side of the Thames. Central London via Bristol to Chepstow also forms part of EuroVelo 2.

2. Putney Bridge to Reading
From Putney Bridge the route loosely follows the River Thames, passing through Richmond Park and Windsor Great Park. This section of Route 4 is also known as the Thames Valley cycle route; at Reading the Thames Valley cycle route continues to Oxford on National Route 5 whilst Route 4 continues west.

3. Reading to Great Bedwyn
From Reading National Route 4 follows the Severn & Thames cycle route, also know as the Kennet & Avon Cycle Route between Reading and Bath, through Newbury and Hungerford to Great Bedwyn, with most of the Reading to Newbury section on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath.

4. Great Bedwyn to Bristol
Route 4 continues to Bristol via Devizes and Bath - follow Route 403 for an alternative option via Marlborough and Chippenham - taking the Kennet & Avon canal towpath between Devizes and Bath and then the Bristol & Bath Railway Path to Bristol.

5. Bristol to Chepstow
National Route 4 climbs out of Bristol via Clifton Down, Westbury-on-Trym and Aust. A highlight of this section is crossing the River Severn high on the Severn Road Bridge. Bristol to Fishguard also forms part of EuroVelo 1.

6. Chepstow to Swansea
In Wales, National Route 4 forms the main option of the Celtic Trail East cycle route passing through Newport, Caerphilly, Pontypridd and Port Talbot, on the way to Swansea.  Large parts of the Celtic Trail East are traffic-free.

7. Swansea to Fishguard
Heading west from Swansea the Celtic Trail West cycle route features two large traffic-free sections, the Millennium Coastal Park near Llanelli and the Brunel Trail along a disused railway between Pembroke and Haverfordwest. A new path between Pembrey and Burry Port provides a cycle and walking link along a scenic old railway and also gives access to two local tourist attractions: Pembrey Country Park and the Millennium Coastal Park. The rest of the route can be hilly but rewards the cyclist with stunning coastal scenery. 

Things to see and do

  • Richmond Park
  • Hampton Court
  • Thorpe Park
  • Windsor Great Park
  • Eton Dorney
  • The Nature Discovery Centre
  • Kennet and Avon Canal
  • Bath Abbey
  • Thermae Bath Spa
  • Roman Baths
  • Caen Locks
  • Blaise Castle
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Millenium Coastal Park

Route diversions/closures


The project to upgrade the 2.2km section of canal towpath between Bath (A36 Beckford Road) and Bathampton will commence on site on Monday 14 March 2016. Works will be carried out by Kier (Canal & River Trust’s contractor) and are expected to last for up to 18 weeks, with a scheduled completion of Friday 15 July 2016.

The project is being undertaken in partnership between Canal & River Trust and Bath and North East Somerset Council and is being funded predominantly via the Department for Transport’s City Cycle Ambition Fund 2.

The works in brief will comprise of the following:

  • Scarify the full width of the existing towpath and widen where required to make up an overall width of 2.5m of finished towpath
  • Lay 50mm thick dense bitumen macadam upon a 100mm type 1 sub-base
  • To finish, lay a surface dressing of tar spray with chippings. The coloured finish of the chippings will attempt to closely match the existing limestone surface colour.
  • Upgrade the 300m link path which provides a footpath link from the canal towpath to/over the Grosvenor river footbridge.

Works are scheduled to commence at Bathampton and work west back towards Bath.

The canal will remain open to navigation throughout the works, but sections of the towpath will be closed to the public. However, access for residents and boaters (to and from their boats) will be maintained throughout and managed by the works contractor.

For towpath users, there is a towpath diversion via Candy’s Bridge/Meadow Lane which is around the mid-point of the site, meaning 50% of the towpath (not being worked) will always remain open.

A temporary pathway is to be created from the towpath on to Candy’s Bridge/Meadow Lane to facilitate the diversion.



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A long distance route between London and Fishguard via Reading, Bath, Bristol, Newport, Swansea, Carmarthen, Tenby, Haverfordwest and St. Davids.

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A long distance route between London and Fishguard via Reading, Bath, Bristol, Newport, Swansea, Carmarthen, Tenby, Haverfordwest and St. Davids.

423 miles
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