Walk 6 - by Nigel Vile
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General Description - a personal view
|Claverton Down is
certainly not the most peaceful of locations in and
around Bath. If you are not familiar with the area, this
is the site of the local Cats and Dogs' Home. One must
have a degree of sympathy for our feline friends, with
the constant noise of barking and growling in the
Man's best friend is soon left behind,
however, as the walk passes the entrance to the American
Museum before descending into the Avon Valley. At the
bottom of Claverton Hill lies the village of Claverton
itself. There is just the single street, lined with
charming stone properties dating back to the 17th
There is a real surprise in the local churchyard - a
most impressive mausoleum housing the earthly remains of
Ralph Allen who died in 1764, having made his fortune
twice over. First, he carried out a number of postal
reforms before ploughing the proceeds into the
successful exploitation of Bath Stone.
Below Claverton, the walk follows the towpath of the
Kennet and Avon Canal through to Dundas Wharf. This is
quite simply an exquisite slice of landscape, surely
unrivalled in the Bath area. One guidebook notes: "The
purlieus of the Limpley Stoke Valley are a place for
superlatives", adding that "picturesque and scenic seem
somehow inadequate appendages to a description of the
valley." I couldn't put it better myself!
The delights of the towpath and Dundas are all too
quickly left behind as the walk climbs a steep field
path to reach the top of Brassknocker Hill.
It is hard going but there is some consolation
insofar as the frequent pauses for breath will give you
every opportunity to enjoy the view back across the
Fortunately, it is a level stroll across the fields
alongside Rainbow Wood Farm that brings the walk to a
These open spaces are the property of the National
Trust, which has bought much of the land to the south
and east of Bath, thus protecting the greenbelt around
The Trust has declared this land to be inalienable,
which in simple English, means it cannot be built on or
sold and will remain rural.
The name Rainbow Wood, incidentally, comes from the
arc shaped woodland at the top of Rainbow Wood Fields -
a quite logical explanation I suppose.
Distance: 4½ miles
Time: minimum 2 hours
Start: Claverton Down Dogs Home (GR 775641)
Maps: OS Explorer 155 or Landranger 172
Follow the lane past the Dogs' Home and on down hill past
the entrance to the American Museum. In half a mile, almost at
the junction with the A36, turn left into Claverton village.
Walk the length of the village street, passing the entrance to
St. Mary's Church, to reach a small green. Turn right and
follow a Tarmac path along the side of this green to a hand
gate and the A36. Cross the road and follow the pavement
opposite alongside a wall to the left. Where this wall ends,
turn right down a sloping Tarmac path to a kissing gate and a
field. Head down this field 100 yards to a stile in the wall
on the right, join the lane and turn left to reach the Kennet
and Avon Canal.
Follow the towpath to the right for one and quarter miles.
Just before Dundas Aqueduct, cross a footbridge on the right
and follow the bank of the canal past a warehouse and crane by
Dundas Wharf. Bear right up the drive leading away from the
canal and turn right to climb some rough steps up to a lay-by
by the A36. turn right and in 20 yards, cross the A36. Follow
a signposted path opposite. Walk uphill along the right edges
of two fields to reach a kissing gate at the top of the second
field. Continue along an enclosed path alongside a property to
reach Brassknocker Hill. Cross the road and follow the
enclosed path opposite, alongside a boundary wall to a kissing
gate. Continue along the right edge of a field by the Wessex
Water Board's new HQ. In the corner of the field, bear left
along the end field boundary to reach a metal kissing gate and
Claverton Down Road.
Cross the road, turn left and follow the pavement in front
of a rank of cottages. Cross a stile on the right before
following a path up to open fields and the National Trust
Rainbow Wood property. Follow the right edge of the first
field to a gate, before heading across the middle of the
second field to a stile. Follow the left edge of the next
field to a stile in the corner cross a track and a stile
opposite before heading diagonally across the middle of the
next field to a stile alongside Claverton Down Community Hall.
Cross Claverton Down Road to the pavement opposite, turn right
and continue to the access road to the University of Bath.
Cross the road and turn left to follow the Tarmac path
alongside the sports pitches back down the avenue. Turn right
to return to the roadside parking area.