Published: 25th SEPTEMBER 2023

Vital upgrades to active travel route in the north west of Bristol

Long-awaited path improvements are underway on National Cycle Network Route 41 between Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth.

walking and pushing bicycles on a walking and cycling route that is due to be improved. wind turbines in the back ground, litter lines the route and the path surface is poor

The commuter route is being upgraded to make it safer and more enjoyable to use. Credit: PhotoJB/Sustrans

Update: Construction work continues

Construction work on this project was paused earlier in 2023 due to ongoing legal negotiations about lighting improvements planned for the M5 motorway bridge. 

We pushed to get construction back underway in the meantime, and were pleased to move forward with the rest of the works in phases.

The current phase includes the majority of the remaining route improvements. When it’s finished we will be able to reopen the route for use while we await the final phase.

While progress is being made on this current phase, the contractor has uncovered additional work that needs addressing before we can lay the final surface.

Unfortunately this means we’re now facing a longer program than first anticipated. And we’re also moving into ever more wintry weather that could impact it further.

Our current estimate for completing this phase and reopening the route is by the end of December 2023.

Timing for the final phase, lighting on the bridge and near the underpass, is as yet unknown as it relies on the legal negotiations concluding. This will involve closing sections of the route during the works. We will share more information on this as soon as it is confirmed.

We’re sorry for the delays, and any inconveniences they’ve caused. We really appreciate your patience while we do our best to deliver these much-needed upgrades.

Sustrans is working with partners to deliver a safer and more accessible route for everyone who wants or needs to use it.

The route follows Lawrence Weston Road over the M5 and under the M49 in between the two outlying areas of Bristol.


The key commuter route is being upgraded

With the potential to provide a popular commuter route to the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area, the path will benefit from vital upgrades.

This includes surface upgrades, accessibility improvements, ecological investment and crucially lighting installed on this predominantly unlit route.

underpass on route that is set to be upgraded

The route links Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth, passing under and over motorways along the way. Credit: PhotoJB/Sustrans

Enabling more people to commute under their own steam

These improvements will enable more people to access places of work without having to use a car.

In choosing to travel under their own steam, people will not only save on the running costs of a car as the cost of living rises, but also feel the many personal benefits. Active travel helps our health and wellbeing as we can regularly spend time exercising in the great outdoors.

Lighting and improving access to the route

Adding lighting will make the route feel safer and more welcoming to people outside of daylight hours, whether they are on shift work or travelling during the winter months.

Modifying an existing restrictive access point will enable more people to use the route, whether walking, riding a bicycle, or using a wheelchair, adapted cycle, or mobility aid.

unlit walking and cycling route, two cyclists with hivis and lights on using it before construction work begins to install lighting.

Amongst the upgrades, lighting will be installed on the route to make the predominantly unlit space safer to use in the darker hours. Credit: PhotoJB/Sustrans

Making the route usable all year round

Together with the resurfacing making for a smoother journey, and the lighting guiding the way during the darker hours, the upgraded surface will also address the current drainage issues to make it safer for use all year round.

The project will aim to improve the space for all, delivering the upgrades with sensitivity to the existing environment, as it hosts a waterway that is home to a variety of wildlife.

walking and cycling a route that lines as waterway. The water is green with algae and the banks littered on. and

The route follows a waterway for a large stretch. Credit: PhotoJB/Sustrans

Delivering a path for everyone

Construction began in October 2022 and will continue until autumn 2023.

The route will be closed during this time, and signposted diversions will be in place to guide people walking, and cycling, around the closure via nearby streets.

The work is being led by Sustrans, as part of the charity’s England-wide Paths for Everyone programme to enhance the National Cycle Network supported by the Department for Transport, and is delivered with thanks to input from Bristol City Council and Mott MacDonald.

Improving access to employment opportunities

Ben Bowskill, Partnerships and Public Affairs Manager for west of England at Sustrans, said:

“Upgrading the path between Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth will improve access to employment opportunities in the area.

“By making the route suitable for use all year round, and around the clock, active travel will become a viable and enjoyable way to travel to and from work or nearby amenities without the need to rely on, or have access to, a car.

“I look forward to seeing this section of path transformed, enabling more people to walk, wheel or cycle on a safer and more accessible stretch of the National Cycle Network.”

Helping people to embrace active travel

Councillor Don Alexander, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

"This is an important area for walking and cycling that has been blighted by fly-tipping for many years.

"This is why I'm really pleased to see work to improve this cycle path starting, and delighted to be supporting this project.

"It will mean more people can access it, throughout the year, and get all the wellbeing and connectivity benefits.

"And, with our commitment to achieving net zero by 2030, we need more people to embrace active travel and providing good cycle paths is a big part of this."

Find out more about our work to enhance the National Cycle Network.


Discover our favourite routes in Bristol and Bath.

Share this page

Read more of our news from the south west of England