Local Walks: Swineford Kelston Circular
One night while I was on the Camino, I was talking on the phone to Simon, and he said,
Hey Dad and I went on a walk today that you would love.
Music to my ears!
Tell me more. I replied.
He told me that the scenery was “really nice,” and that there were some great stops along the way.
Well, I love great stops.
So when my mom was visiting, we went back to this great walk.
Sometimes a walk is so perfect that it becomes a regular for when folks visit us.
There are several boxes it has to check. Of course, you want it to be beautiful. But also, it can’t be too far of a drive from home. We always prefer a circular walk to an in and out. And then it’s a bonus if there is a good place to stop for a drink or lunch on the way home.
Even better, you pass the fun place to stop when you are actually out on the walk, rather than on the drive home.
This Swineford Kelston circular is one to repeat for sure. It has not just one place to stop while you’re walking, but THREE!
Two pubs and a cheese shop all on one meander through the countryside.
My first time on this walk was with my mom, so we stopped at all three places.
About two miles in, we got to the super cutie Bath Soft Cheese Shop, where we popped in to buy cheese and crackers to take home for later. (You can also eat lunch at the cheese shop.)
Then a little further down the road, we reached The Old Crown Inn, We stopped for a cup of tea in their gorgeous, flower-covered beer garden.
When we left The Old Crown Inn, we walked uphill for about a half mile. It’s not terribly hard as climbs go, but it’s steady. (You gain about 1000 feet of elevation total on this 7 mile loop.)
The reward for the climb was the 360-degree views from the top of Kelston Hill.
We could see both Bath and Bristol from the top, depending on which direction we looked.
From Kelston Hill, the walk was a mostly downhill meander through farmland. For a little while, we even crossed paths with The Cotswold Way. It was fun to see the signs again from the now familiar trail, and to get to show my mom part of the walk I had done in the spring.
After lots of sheep-spotting and a little bit of woodland, we passed an old church and emerged onto a road that crossed right in front of another pub, The Upton Inn.
We had been walking for while by this point, so we stopped and had a lovely Sunday afternoon meal (Sunday Roast + veggie burgers!) at the pub before heading back to our car.
Simon was right about this walk. I did love it!
It was an absolutely lovely day out.
Since then we have been back to this Swineford Kelston circular walk a few times with guests, and sometimes we walk it in reverse and end at The Old Crown Inn or the Cheese Shop for lunch. The last time we went was in November while my niece was visiting and by the time we reached The Old Crown Inn, it was pouring down rain and we were all soaking wet. It was such a different experience from the bright blue June day with my mom! But we warmed up quickly in the pub, where they had a fire going, and we were even able to get a bus back to our car from just outside the pub.
I kind of love doing the same walk at all different times of year and with different people. I like getting to know a route really well, so that I notice the changes in the seasons by the way the terrain changes on the walk.
This loop was so muddy in November that I took it much slower just trying not to slip. In June, the trails were almost overgrown with flowers and ferns. And in July, we were sticky hot.
The June lambs were not tiny, but still young. In the fall, I almost couldn’t tell the difference between mamas and babies.
I’m sure I still have nuances to discover on this circular and lots more times of the year to see it. If you visit me, there is a good chance I will take you there. I’ll even let you choose if we go to the cheese shop or the pub for lunch.
If you’re ever in the area this lovely circular walk is on AllTrails.
Mini Walking Stories is a project I’m doing this month to catalog a fabulous year of walking. During December, I’m inviting you to come along with me for a few minutes on one of the walks I took in 2022. Read more stories here.