One of the best things about Bristol, aside from the epic food and drink scene, are the beautiful green spaces. Across the city we boast incredible woodlands, parks and nature reserves, that everyone can enjoy. (Most of which are accessible by public transport and have paths suited for buggy’s and wheelchairs, as well as more challenging trails)
What better activity, when the sky is blue and the sun is shining, than a good long walk followed by some delicious grub? So whether you like to march and munch, toddle and taste, stomp and scoff – this list is for you! Get yourself outdoors, snap some pictures, and then reward yourself with a refreshing pint and something delicious.
Ashton Court Estate – The Ashton
Just 10 minutes from the city centre, Ashton Court boasts 850 acres of woods and grasslands, magnificent old oak trees and is home to hundreds of deer. In the autumn it’s particularly special; in addition to the vivid hues, you might witness the spectacle of the deer rutting.
After your ramble treat yourself to lunch and a pint at The Ashton restaurant – a stylish, relaxed and rustic pub with an open fire, serving classic grub and ales.
Address: Ashton Rd, Long Ashton, Bristol BS41 9LX
Folly Farm Centre – The Pony And Trap
Folly Farm Centre is located in Pensford, just to the south of Bristol in the Chew Valley. It is a 250-acre nature reserve owned by the Avon Wildlife Trust, and celebrates ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows. It’s home to butterflies, bluebells, badgers and bats, and many other rare animal and plant species.
The Pony and Trap, a Michelin award winning Pub, is a short distance away down a few country lanes. Despite its prestige, its very ‘down to earth’ and serves some proper delicious grub. The lunch menu caters to all tastes and budgets, featuring excellent value ‘pub classics’ as well as pricier signature dishes. The restaurant champions a ‘field to fork’ ethos and sources food from around Chew Valley and South West.
It’s very popular, so book ahead to avoid disappointment!
Address: Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8TQ
Leigh Woods – Nutmeg
Leigh Woods is a stunning broadleaf woodland on the Avon Gorge, just across Brunel’s Suspension Bridge as you leave the city. It’s a tranquil wilderness a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle. Designated pathways lead through a diverse oak, small leaf lime and ash forest. It is particularly social at springtime when the forest floor is carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic. (Freshly foraged pesto anyone?!)
Nutmeg is a vibrant Indian restaurant situated across the Suspension Bridge in Clifton Village, about a ten minute walk from the woods. Clifton is home to many fine eateries, but Nutmeg is particularly special and is a far cry from the typical Anglo-Indian curry house. The menu reflects the diversity of India’s 29 states, featuring dishes that are both familiar (Korma, Rogan Josh, Saag) and new (Chettinadu, Kadai, Laal Maas).
Address: 10 The Mall, Bristol BS8 4DR
The Narroways – The Cauldron
The Narroways Nature Reserve in the neighbourhood of St Werburghs is a grassy and wooded inner-city green space, home to lots of lovely wildlife. It’s a small slice of sanctuary, with some short trails through the woods, grasses and orchard. If you want to stretch your legs a little more you can also explore the City Farm have a nose at the quirky Gaudi-esque eco houses, before wandering through the artfully graffitied railway tunnel, down Mina Road, arriving at the rank of quirky eateries just past the roundabout.
The Cauldron Restaurant is the UK’s first solid fuelled kitchen in over 100 years. All of the food is handmade from scratch and cooked over charcoal and beech logs in their cast iron Cauldron, Victorian Stove or Wood Fired Oven. The restaurant takes sustainability seriously, with the furnishings, consumables and ingredients coming from as close as possible – many from St Werberghs itself. The environmentally conscious ethos doesn’t mean that taste is compromised in any way; the food delicious, satisfying and beautifully presented.
Address: 98 Mina Rd, Bristol BS2 9XW
Arnos Vale – Bocabar
Arnos Vale Cemetery is a unique heritage site in the heart of the city, and is one of Bristol’s best kept secrets. The 45-acre Victorian cemetery is home to incredible architecture, and is magically overrun by nature. The beautiful graves give way to new life, and from them emerge gnarled roots and tall trees. You can explore the trails on a self-guided walk, or join an expert guided tour most Saturdays from Spring to Autumn.
Bocabar is located a short walk down the road in the Paintworks estate. It offers a relaxed and cozy atmosphere, heavenly food, real ales, scrumptious cocktails and live music. The menu is delicious and affordable, and changes regularly throughout the year to offer the seasons best. If you don’t fancy sitting to a table, you can sink into a sofa in the bar area. The large pizza’s are a popular choice of you want an informal snack to share with friends.
Address: Paintworks Central Trading Estate, Bath Rd, Paintworks, Bristol BS4 3EH
St George’s Park – The Lock Up
The eastern suburb of St George is home to a large Victorian park, and has a network of paths suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. Impressively tall old trees rank the long promenades, the greenery providing shade and shelter to visitors, whatever the weather. In sunny weather the central stream-fed lake mirrors the tranquil blues and greens, is home to plenty of ducks, moorhens and swans.
The Lock Up restaurant and bar is a short stroll down the high street. This family-run cosy and casual eatery can be popular at peak times, so booking is recommended. It offers brunch, lunch and dinner, and is affordable, generous in portion and satisfying.
Address: 182 Church Rd, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9HX
Oldbury Court Estate – The White Lion
The Oldbury Court Estate and Snuff Mills is just three miles East of the city centre. It combines woodland and riverside paths with historic parkland, and is popular with walkers for its varied landscape and panoramic views. It also boasts impressive geologic outcrops, and 300 million year old tree fossils.
Following the trail upriver you can cross the old stone bridge into Frenchay Village, where (after a short climb up Pearce’s Hill) you come to The White Lion Pub. The pub overlooks Frenchy Common, and is particularly lovely on a sunny day, when you can enjoy a pint sat on the grass outside. The bar offers a (very) large range of ales, beers, ciders, wines and spirits, and the food menu is excellent value for money.
Address: The Common, Frenchay, Bristol BS16 1LZ
Goblin Coombe – The Ethicurean
Goblin Coombe is nestled between the villages of Cleeve and Wrington, located south of the city near to Bristol Airport. This walk is perfect if you don’t mind a scramble, a bit of mud and hopping over a few stiles. Aside from the low flying aircraft (which can be quite exciting!) the trail takes you through tranquil woodland and open pasture.
The Ethicurean is an ethically conscious restaurant set in the stunning Barley Wood Walled Garden. The menu is wonderfully creative, taking inspiration from the local delights of the field and forest. The presentation of each dish is an exquisite and colourful work of art. I really get quite excited about this place, it’s my absolute favourite restaurant in the UK. It’s on the more expensive side, so is perfect for a special occasion or if you are feeling flush! (maybe run a comb through windswept locks and take an a pair of non-muddy shoes to change into…)
Address: Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington, Bristol BS40 5SA
The Golden Valley – The Rose in Crown
The Golden Valley Nature Reserve in Wick is rich in heritage as well as beauty.
A former 20th century Ochre Works site, the quarrying history leaves telltale features on what is today a stunning natural habitat, comprising of river, grass and woodland. The deep red clay sparkles and shines under foot, like something out of a fairytale. Against golden autumn leaves it’s positively magical, and needs to be seen to be believed!
The Rose and Crown is everything you might expect from a typical countryside pub, with its dark wooden beams and open log fires it’s the epitome of ‘warm and cosy’. Despite now being run by a chain, the charming character of this 17th pub is not lost. The traditional gastro-pub menu and is both generous in portion and good value.