National Route 26 has it all - from quaint villages and rolling hills to the stunning Somerset and Jurassic coastlines. This really showcases the best the south of England has to offer. The section between Yatton and Cheddar is known as The Strawberry Line and is mainly traffic-free with no steep gradients. The route is open except for the sections between Portishead and Clevedon, and between Cheddar and Wells, where we are working with local communities to close the gaps.
The route can be thought of in three sections. The longest completed section is between Glastonbury and Portland Bill:
1. Glastonbury to Sherborne
This section of Route 26 takes you through a lovely part of Somerset and past the pretty villages of Baltonborough, Lottisham, Lovington and Sparkford.
2. Sherborne to Dorchester
This section of the route takes you past Barwick, Sutton Bingham Reservoir, Maiden Newton and then on to Dorchester. Between Sherborne and Maiden Newton the route is made up of quiet, country lanes and is mainly flat, with only one steep section at Closworth. Maiden Newtown is a great place to stop for a picnic and has a shop and pub for those in need of refreshments. Maiden Newton to Dorchester is approximately 8 miles and large sections are off-road making it ideal for novice cyclists and children. The last section that runs along the A37 is off-road, shared foot/cycleway.
3. Dorchester to Portland Bill
Route 26 signs start in Glyde Path Road next to County Hall. If you need to pick up some supplies before you set out, South Street is the main shopping street in the town. Out of Dorchester, this beautiful part of Route 26 takes you all the way down to the coast at Weymouth. On arrival in Weymouth you travel directly past Radipole Lake, a great RSPB reserve with well-known birds like house sparrows, finches and robins to spot, as well as rarer birds like Cetti's warblers and bitterns. The route takes you onto Chesil Beach and then onto Portland Bill. There is now an uninterrupted route along the Rodwell Trail to Portland Beach. The trail travels along the former route of the Weymouth and Portland Railway and is part of the South West Coast path.
There are ongoing railway developments relating to this route.
is a programme of rail infrastructure improvements in the West of England which will deliver an extended and more frequent service to local communities. Phase 1 of Metrowest includes the potential re-opening of the line to Portishead with a new station at Pill.
Sustrans has been consulted by the Metrowest team, and both Sustrans and the Local Authority are clear that the route must be preserved when the railway re-opens. The crossings have been surveyed and Metrowest and Sustrans believe that this is practicable, although the width of the paths may have to be slightly reduced under the bridges.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.