London to Bristol/Bath, Sustrans 4??

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gxr
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London to Bristol/Bath, Sustrans 4??

Postby gxr » Wed Jun 20, 2007 13:58 pm

I need to get from London to Shepton Mallet (which is south of Bristol/Bath, BA4 6QN) this summer. Thought I'd consider cycling rather than taking the train.

Any recommendations for a route? And how long to allow? And any B&Bs on the way?

Reading to Bristol seems to be Sustrans route 4, but this is described as the Kennet&Avon canal. Is this as reasonable surface, or muddy/rutted/slow??

Thanks in advance.

Simon Withers
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Postby Simon Withers » Wed Jun 20, 2007 15:59 pm

East of Devizes the canal towpath is very narrow and often pretty awkward to ride (boggy if wet, too), though if I remember correctly part of the route isn't the path itself but rural roads running roughly parallel.

From Devizes to Bath NCN route 4 is the canal towpath but is, on the whole, very rideable. There's a narrower bit between Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon but other than that it's fine (Trowbridge-Bath is my usual commute). It will be wet at the moment, but rideable, though unless you've got mudguards you'll get covered in muck. When it's dry your bike'll be covered in a fine layer of dust.

If you're going to Shepton Mallet from Bath avoid the A367 - very un cyclefriendly. In fact, you might be better off leaving the canal around Trowbridge and heading cross country; I don't know any specific cycle routes, though.

Simon

Colin Watts
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Postby Colin Watts » Wed Jun 20, 2007 16:01 pm

The section from Bath to Bristol (the bit I know) is a tarmac surface on an old railway line. I don't know if you would want to go into Bristol though if you were going to Shepton Mallet?

I also know that the canal tow paths from Bath to Devises are ok for cycling, but further east towards Pewsey they do get quite muddy if its been wet, more mnt bike that road bike.

Colin
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Rob Sallnow
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Postby Rob Sallnow » Wed Jun 20, 2007 19:12 pm

I've ridden from London(and or Reading...and or Newbury) to Shepton Mallet (and onwards home to Plymouth) and can thoroughly recommend....THE A4!!!!...between Newbury and Beckhampton, and then the A361 to Devizes. It is reasonably flat, a wide road and incredibly it's quite light traffic and it takes you through the High Street of Marlborough and past Silbury Hill.[:)]

If you want to take in the Bradford upon Avon-Bath section of canal path (a handy pub by the aquaduct at Avoncliff) you could always come off at Dundas Aquaduct and then take the A36 toward Frome and then a bit of a maze of C roads to end up at Doulting just east of S-Mallet....this is a section of route I intend to add to the summer version of my regular tailwind assisted century a month challenge safety-net ride of Plymouth to Westbury (train back home) as I'm a little bored of the A361 past the quarries route.

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Brains
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Postby Brains » Wed Jun 20, 2007 23:17 pm

I've ridden the NC4 Reading to Bath, stick to the route, so when it says get off the Canal path, do so, and you will avoid the muddy bits.

B&B is available all along the route, we took 3 days to do the route, but this was with stops at stuff that looked interesting

Bloke on a bikecp
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Postby Bloke on a bikecp » Thu Jun 21, 2007 06:26 am

I agree with Rob. I've ridden from Reading to the Severn Bridge and for most of the way I stayed on the A4. I don't now the last bit as I needed to call in to Bradford-on-Avon so the route got a bit messy at the end.
I also use the A38 from B'ham to Bristol. These roads were built as large trunk roads but then replaced by ajacent motorways which is where all the heavy traffic goes.

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Rob Sallnow
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Postby Rob Sallnow » Thu Jun 21, 2007 07:51 am

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Bloke on a bike</i>
I also use the A38 from B'ham to Bristol. These roads were built as large trunk roads but then replaced by ajacent motorways which is where all the heavy traffic goes.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Yep...me too. It only gets a bit pants south of Aztec West.

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gxr
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Postby gxr » Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:52 pm

Thanks folks.

I'll probably give Rob's A4 route a go: looks very direct on the map

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toontra
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Postby toontra » Thu Jun 21, 2007 13:52 pm

I do London-Bath on the A4 fairly regularly, usually on a Saturday. I leave early (5-6am) so I'm out of London before the trafic builds up. Never any problems.

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gxr
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Postby gxr » Thu Jun 21, 2007 14:20 pm

Toontra: sounds like you do it in one day? Looks like about 100 miles.

I'm a commuter..being doing it for 9+ years, 18 miles per day (average 4,000/year) so clocked up 36,000 miles, but never more than 9 miles in one go!

I have absolutely no idea how many miles I'll do in a day....one way to find out, I suppose...


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