Country Living (UK)




Beeching’s axe fell on this three-mile stretch of branch line between Bristol and Bath in the 1960s, but it survived thanks to volunteers who began restoring and re-laying it just a decade later. Today, it’s as if the 1950s never left, with the huff and whistle of steam sounding in the valley – the heritage engines make the hour-long journey daily between Bitton, a restored Victorian station, Oldland Common and Avon Riverside. The railway shares its route with the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, a 13-mile pedestrian and cycle track that runs alongside it and connects the two city centres. In spring, this wildlife corridor is alive with nature waking up, full of unfurling leaves, dappled sunlight and birdsong – year-round, though, you can spot artwork from the sculpture trail along its route. Visit avonvalley­


Take to the waters in Bath’s ancient natural thermal spa (below) like the Victorians did – the city is a short distance further along the Railway Path from Avon Riverside station and the Thermae Bath Spa’s openair rooftop pool is the modern soak; then hunker down for a traditiona­l afternoon tea at The Country Living Hotel Lansdown Grove.

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