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Ride to the North Somerset Coast

Route Details

  • From - to: Bristol to Portishead
  • Distance: 11.5 miles
  • Type: A mix of traffic-free routes, purpose-built cycleways and quiet roads; some hills
  • Surface: Mostly compacted stone
  • National Cycle Network: 33 and 41 

Route Description

This mostly traffic-free route, popular with families and commuters, follows a riverside path through the spectacular Avon Gorge.

The ride begins in the Regency splendour of Bristol's Queen Square, then continues over the Prince Street bridge (passing M Shed, a museum of Bristol's history) and right onto Cumberland Road. After the pelican crossing there is a pavement cycle route, which then drops down to a traffic-free section along the river bank past the CREATE Centre onto the Ashton to Pill Path.

Once across the river, the path passes underneath the spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge and on through the Avon Gorge. The route arrives at the village of Pill, which has a pretty harbour, and is where you could return if you wanted to make the journey shorter.

The ride then continues onto Portishead, an attractive seaside town with great views across to Wales. The High Street is pleasingly dominated by locally owned independent shops, and alongside the sea front you will find one of the UK's few open air lidos.

Download a route description sheet.

Local attractions

Bike hire


Rail/Route Development

Metrowest 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 I of Metrowest includes the re-opening of the line to Portishead with a new station at Pill. Works on site could start in 2017, and the service is scheduled to open in 2019. In the meantime preparatory works such as vegetation clearance will be undertaken. More information at
NCN Route 26 touches the Portishead railway at three critical points where the railway and the traffic free path share the formation to pass underneath the M5 near Portbury, and Marsh Lane and Royal Portbury Dock Road. 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.
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This route showcases some of the best that Bristol and its surrounds has to offer. Taking in the Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Leigh Woods and the historic Queens Square, this route takes you onto Portishead, where you get to enjoy great views over the water towards Wales.

12 miles