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Bridgwater River and Canal Trail

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Bridgwater River and Canal Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 04 Mar 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar1 Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guidestar0 Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guide
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Bridgwater River and Canal Trail
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guide boot Bridgwater River and Canal Trail Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk from the town of Bridgwater in Somerset. The walk heads south out of the town along the banks of the River Parrett before returning along the towpath of the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Of course the area is fairly industrial and so it isn’t the prettiest of walks, but if you’re in Bridgwater and want somewhere to stride out and stretch your legs then this will certainly do the job. The route will also give you chance to reflect on the history of travel in Britain, with the river, canal, railway and M5 motorway all criss-crossing the journey.

The walk follows a mixture of town pavements, stone paths and grass field/tow paths the latter of which can be quite muddy in winter and after wet weather. The route is almost entirely flat and there are four gates plus a number of steps over the river bridge. One section of the towpath is quite narrow so take care with children and dogs here. Approximate time 2 hours.

The walk starts from the Dampiet Street pay and display car park in Bridgwater. At the time of writing (March 2013) the car park was free on Sundays and Bank Holidays, and limited to two hours on other days (so if you’re likely to take longer to complete the walk it would be better to park elsewhere). Approximate post code TA6 3LZ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Rail Bridge
Start to Rail Bridge

Start point: 51.1279 lat, -3.0021 long
End point: 51.1165 lat, -2.9863 long

Leave the car park and turn right along Dampiet Street. At the end you’ll reach a mini-roundabout with a black and white Tudor hotel opposite, turn left here. After just a few yards, fork left again into Old Taunton Road. Keep right (ahead) at the next fork to reach the T-junction with the main dual carriageway.

Turn left along the pavement of the dual carriageway and follow this over the river bridge. At the traffic lights you need to turn right onto the road signed to Colley Lane Industrial Estate (use the pedestrian crossings ahead and then right to do so). Pass the Lime Kiln Inn on the left and follow the road with the river to the right.

When you reach the fire station on the left, fork right to leave the road via a concrete slope. Here you will join a stone footpath running directly alongside the river on the right. After almost a mile you will reach a rail bridge across the river (with attached footbridge).

Rail Bridge to Huntworth Lane
Rail Bridge to Huntworth Lane

Start point: 51.1165 lat, -2.9863 long
End point: 51.1045 lat, -2.9708 long

Cross the river via the footbridge and at the opposite side turn left under the low vehicle arch. Keep ahead on the tarmac lane with the river now on the left. Continue past Summerhayes Fisheries on the right and soon you will reach the M5 motorway passing overhead. As you reach this point, the main track bends right – do NOT follow it, instead fork left to follow the narrow path which passes under the motorway. The path becomes a grass field edge path with the river still on the left.

The River Parrett flows for 37 miles from its source in Dorset heading north to reach the Bristol Channel. At this point, about 6 miles from the sea, the river is still tidal (and partly salty!) and when the tide is out you will be able to see the mud banks that create a valuable habitat for many rare species. The river is home to European Otters, Kingfishers, Curlews and Marsh Harriers.

After one field length go through the kissing gate passing a small property on the right (you may see alpacas in the garden here). Straight after the property pass through another gate and follow the grass path along the embankment. Soon a third gate takes you back into another open field. Follow the embankment path ahead with the river on the left and you will emerge out through another gate and down a short rough slope to reach a T-junction with Huntworth Lane.

Huntworth Lane to Marsh Lane
Huntworth Lane to Marsh Lane

Start point: 51.1045 lat, -2.9708 long
End point: 51.113 lat, -2.9882 long

Turn right along Huntworth Lane (taking care of any traffic) heading for the traffic lights which sit on the bridge over the railway. Cross the rail bridge and ahead you’ll see a second bridge over the canal – do NOT cross this, instead turn right immediately before it onto the towpath signed for Bridgwater.

Follow the canal towpath, a popular stretch for fisherman, with the canal on the left. The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal opened in 1827 to link the River Parrett to the River Tone. The canal, like many others, declined with the introduction of the railways and until the 1960s investment and maintenance was minimal. With restoration during the 1970s, today the canal is still used for the transport of drinking water to the residents of Bridgwater.

After some distance you’ll reach a pub on the right. Keep straight ahead after it to pass back under the M5 motorway still with the canal on the left. The narrow grass towpath eventually comes to a T-junction with Marsh Lane.

Marsh Lane to End
Marsh Lane to End

Start point: 51.113 lat, -2.9882 long
End point: 51.1277 lat, -3.0021 long

Turn left here across the wooden swing bridge and then turn immediately right to join the gravel towpath with the canal now on your right. Follow the towpath for some distance and you will pass under the next bridge – a red brick arch.

Continue some distance further passing the sluice (where water overflows from the canal to the river) on the right, a waterfowl pond on the left and then keep ahead to pass under two road bridges. Immediately after the second of these bridges, the narrow towpath merges out onto a wider tarmac lane. Merge onto this and follow it to reach the brow of the bridge ahead.

Turn right over the bridge and then take the right hand fork (straight ahead), a tarmac path with a gulley on the left. You will pass a large Morrisons superstore on the left and emerge out to the main road junction. Use the pedestrian crossing ahead to cross over the dual carriageway and keep straight ahead into Taunton Road. At the mini-roundabout turn right and you will reach the car park on the left.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "Bridgwater River and Canal Trail"

This walk is good for a stroll out if you are in the area and has potential but is not a walk worth travelling a long distance to.

By RichardJ on 06 Apr 2013

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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