Route 26

Route Details

  • Distance: 81 miles
  • Type: A mixture of quiet roads and traffic free sections

Route Update

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 is available here
National 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.
Route Description

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 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

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. 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

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.  

Things to see and do

  • Max Gate, Dorchester
  • Radipole Lake RSPB reserve
  • Chesil Beach, Weymouth

Route Development

The Strawberry Line Association is an association of interested groups who want to see the existing Strawberry Line path extend north from Yatton to Clevedon, and east from Cheddar to Wells and Shepton Mallet. The vision is to see a circular traffic-free route connecting Bristol, Portishead, Clevedon, Yatton, Cheddar, Wells, Shepton Mallet, Radstock, and Bath.  If this is something you'd like to see developed - sign their petition today!

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Map shows the National Cycle Network and local routes in this area.

National Route 26 of the National Cycle Network runs from Portishead on the Somerset coast to the Isle of Portland on the Dorset coast via Wells, Castle Cary, Yeovil and Dorchester.

81 miles