Route 41 of the National Cycle Network is a long-distance route that, when complete, will connect Bristol, Gloucester, Stratford-upon-Avon and Rugby.
Route 41 starts in Bristol and heads out to Avonmouth along the Avon Gorge. Bristol is a city with a fascinating maritime past, much of which you can learn about at the M Shed, which explores local social and industrial heritage.
On your way out of the city you’ll pass underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This impressive Grade I listed bridge first opened in 1864 and was based on a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It’s an awe-inspiring experience to cycle under this amazing bridge, which spans 702 feet (214 metres) and sits 245 feet (75 metres) above the water at high tide.
Route 41 passes very close to Leigh Woods which has some fantastic mountain bike trails. Despite being close to the city of Bristol, Leigh Woods is a haven for wildlife. Bats, roe deer, foxes and many different species of birds, including marsh tits and song thrushes, all make their home here.
Leigh Woods is designated as a National Nature Reserve and forms part of the Avon Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Avon Gorge Woodlands Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Next, the route heads out across open landscape and is largely flat. It passes Berkeley and Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre, before picking up the Sharpness Canal on the way to Gloucester and Cheltenham.
If you stop off at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre you’ll have the opportunity to spot all kinds of wildlife, including ducks, geese, flamingos and many more species of birds.
The route north of Cheltenham is under development, though sections are open between Tewkesbury and Evesham on unsurfaced bridleway, and between Stratford and Rugby. These offer the opportunity for pleasant, short rides.
A particular highlight is the Offchurch Greenway, which was formerly part of the Leamington to Rugby railway line. This flat, surfaced footpath and cycleway offers exceptional views across South Warwickshire along its one and a half miles.
Route 41 is a lovely ride through beautiful English countryside which also takes in charming towns and cities such as Stratford-upon-Avon, known as the birthplace of Shakespeare, and Gloucester, where you can visit the medieval cathedral.
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.
To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.