Saturday, 21 November 2015

Bristol to Bath - nearly! 14

Well, that was a cold old ride!  Ventured out onto pastures new by taking the train from Weston to Bristol and using the Bristol to Bath cycle path. This is part of the National Cycle Route number 4 that runs between London and Fishguard. It is completely off road and is tarmac surface for this section.   The initial problem, as you can see from the route on the map, was finding the thing in the first place! It started off well signed, but then there was nothing for some time. I collared hold of two dedicated looking cyclists who finally put me in the right direction.

Cycle storage

The train I caught was the Plymouth to London express which called at Weston and Bristol.  The bikes are stored in their own special compartment at the rear of the train with proper bike racks and securing straps.

Fish on its nose

Once I found the cycle path it was a long drag uphill (200ft high) to a sculpture at the site of the old Fishponds railway station. Sustrans, a UK charity that promotes healthy, cleaner journeys for people, (its flagship is the National Cycle Network which has created over 14000 miles of signed cycle routes in the UK) commissioned this work by Doug Cocker in 1993. It depicts a fish diving into a pond and symbolises the many old flooded quarries that became fish ponds from which this area got its name.


A couple of miles east of the fish is a long tunnel.  Unlike a similar one on the Strawberry Line, this one has decent lighting along its length.  This one cuts through Staple Hill and is about 1/3 mile long. The roof is a bit leaky mind and in places looks like it is raining though it is dry outside!

Temple Mead Station

Shortly after the tunnel I decided to turn back. It was quite cold, more so than I anticipated and with Bath still 10 miles away it was prudent to back track. Heading into the cold NW wind it was better to leave the full 30 mile round trip for another, warmer day, or return better equipped for the cold.  Back at Temple Mead station, there was time for a cup of tea and a Kit Kat (other biscuits were available) and an arty farty shot of the main platform looking east.

14 miles today. 12 on the cycle path, 2 getting to and from Weston Station.

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