The Bath Skyline walk leads you over rolling hills, across enchanting valleys, through blooming meadows and ancient woods, and offers a wonderful escape to the beautiful Cotswold countryside surrounding Bath.
As its name indicates, the Bath Skyline enjoys splendid views of the city of Bath and the surrounding hills. From various view-points along the walk, you can spot Bath’s top sights, including Bath Abbey, the Empire hotel, St Michael’s church and the many rows of Georgian terraced houses Bath is renowned for.
You can start the Bath Skyline walk at either Bathwick Meadows or Prior Park. If you don’t have time to complete the whole walk, you could just explore the first section of the walk closest to Bath. Be ready to walk up and down many steep hills, and don’t forget your picnic, the many meadows and fields this walk crosses are perfect picnic spots.
Location: Bath, Somerset
Walk difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 3 ½ to 4 hours
Distance: 6 miles (9.4km)
Prior Park to Bathwick Meadows: Enchanting valleys and blooming meadows
I started this Bath walk at Prior Park. The first section of the walk from Prior Park to Bathwick Meadows is, in my opinion, the best part. If you wish to shorten the walk, this is the section to explore. You can admire the best views of the city of Bath from the many meadows, woods, valleys and fields you cross.
Starting this Cotswold walk at Prior Park, you can enjoy the beautiful scenic gardens and 18th century Palladium Bridge built by Ralph Allen. Prior Park is one of Bath’s hidden gems and you should visit this landmark. From Prior Park, this Bath walk leads you up the hill across meadows and fields. This is the first steep climb of the walk.
Please note that you’ll need to make a small detour to visit Prior Park and that there is an entrance fee to visit the landscape garden. Find out more on nationaltrust.org.uk.
As you reach Ralph Allen’s 18th century carriageway which leads to his Prior Park mansion and is now a country path, you can marvel at the charming views of Bath and the surrounding hills. From this far, the different landmarks of the city are barely decipherable, but you can admire the lovely honey-coloured Bath stone. As you walk through Rainbow Wood and back down Widcombe Hill, you cross more meadows and fields filled with wild flowers and offering delightful views.
This Bath walk then takes you through the enchanting Smallcombe Vale. This valley is so close to the city and yet so peaceful. From Smallcombe Vale, you can imagine you are lost in the middle of beautiful countryside. You then reach Bathwick Meadows, another hidden gem, which offers the most magnificent views of Bath. From Bathwick Meadows, you can fully appreciate the Bath skyline and its many landmarks, such as Bath Abbey, the numerous rows of Georgian terraced houses, the Empire hotel and St Michael’s church.
Cleveland Walk to Bathampton Wood: Georgian houses and verdant woods
As you leave Bathwick Meadows and stroll along Cleveland Walk, you can spot the gorgeous honey-coloured Georgian terraced houses typical of Bath. This is one of the few sections of the walk along city streets. From Cleveland Walk, you make another steep ascent to Bathwick Wood.
Before entering Bathwick Wood, you can do a quick 5-minute detour to Ralph Allen’s Sham Castle which also enjoys further lovely views of Bath. The folly is believed to have been built to showcase the quality of Ralph Allen’s limestone. As you cross Bathwick Wood, and further on, Bathampton Wood, signs of the limestone quarries, such as rock faces and old railway tracks, are visible.
This Cotswold walk then leads you behind the Bath Golf Club across Bathampton Down to Bathampton Woods. The serene fields of Bathampton Down offer charming views of Bathampton village, the valley and nearby hills. From there on, this country walk is mainly on flat ground until the descent back to Prior Park.
Bushey Norwood to Claverton Down: Lush fields and country paths
From Bathampton Wood, this Bath walk continues across the Bushey Norwood field, at the back of the University of Bath. You can barely glimpse the university buildings behind the burgeoning trees delimiting the university boundary. You then walk along the edge of fields and country paths and through woods across the Claverton Down area.
This section of the walk is the least charming or exciting. While the land is flat, the views are limited, but the country scenery is as beautiful and serene. As you finish the loop around Claverton Down, you reach the back of Prior Park College and Ralph Allen’s 18th century carriageway. From there, you descend back through blooming meadows to the gardens of Prior Park where the walk started.
Find the Bath Skyline walk itinerary and walk map: nationaltrust.org.uk
The Bath Skyline walk details
Location: Bath, Somerset
Time: Approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours with regular stops
Distance: 6 miles (9.4 km)
Ascent: Somewhat steep
Itinerary: Bath Skyline walk
Trail condition: Good, but the trail can get muddy in wet weather.
Accessibility: Not suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs or bikes.
Parking: Bath’s off-street car parks (visit bathnes.gov.uk for more information) or on the streets of Bath (subject to a time limit)
Facilities: Toilets, shops and pubs in Bath
Notes: Please be mindful of livestock and keep your dogs on a lead.
Explore more: Walks in and around Bath
Explore Bath off the beaten path and enjoy the green spaces of the city and the beautiful countryside surrounding the city. Bath offers gorgeous walks in and around the city for lovely Sunday strolls and stunning country escapes. From the Bath self-guided walking tour to the St Catherine’s Valley walk, Bath is filled with wonders just waiting to be explored with the Bath walk guides.