Last updated: January 2021
This short circuit around the lower reaches of the Chew Valley is the perfect winter stroll. It provides a short, refreshing dose of rural scenery combined with characterful village architecture on the edge of Chewton Keynsham and a small historic part of Keynsham town.
The walk can be attempted in any weather conditions as you will never encounter very soft ground or deep mud.
Ground: Generally paved, with one long section on a rougher track that can get slightly muddy after wet weather.
Key Attractions: Chew Valley.
Refreshments: None on the route. Various food and drink options available in the town centre.
Starting point: Wellsway, Keynsham, at the Manor Road junction.
Getting there: The starting point is a fairly short walk through the historic town centre from Keynsham Station. On-street car parking available in Manor Road.
Approx. Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Approx. Distance: 1.8 miles
Our route starts on the Wellsway, a main road that climbs out of Keynsham in the direction of the A39 from Bath to Wells. Starting at the junction with Manor Road, you will find yourself overlooking the rolling green valley of the River Chew. This is the last section of the River Chew as it makes its way down to the River Avon from its source in the Mendip Hills. To the right you can see buildings on the edge of Keynsham, while to the left the valley wanders off upstream towards the village of Chewton Keynsham.
Begin by making your way to the south along the Wellsway, walking away from Keynsham. Take the first right, Chewton Road (1).
Chewton Road descends gently into the valley. You will continue to enjoy good views of the river and the surrounding fields.
Soon you will pass some old stone cottages on the left, which mark the beginning of the village of Chewton Keynsham (2). This pretty area features well-kept gardens next to a split channel of the River Chew. The road bends round to cross the first of two bridges.
On the other side of bend in Chewton Road you will find a grand property with a large waterside garden. It is home to a unique stone dovecote that leans at a jaunty angle (3).
Continue along Chewton Road, crossing a second bridge.
The second bridge crosses the main channel of the River Chew and is home to some fine old sluice gates.
Beyond the bridge, the road curves round to the left, opening up a view of some inviting river meadows (4). The footpath along the river here looks like it would reward further exploration in the summer.
Follow the road around a second bend, this time to the right. When the road bears left again, turn right onto a rocky track climbing steeply up through some woods (5).
This is Enginehouse Lane, an unmade road that connects Chewton Keynsham with the western part of Keynsham itself. The lane is very rough to begin with as it climbs through the woods. After a while, it levels off and the surface becomes more even as it emerges from the trees.
The hedges that border Enginehouse Lane are quite thick, but during the winter you can glimpse views to the surrounding countryside. From time to time, you can glance back across the Chew Valley towards the Wellsway.
Follow the full length of Enginehouse Lane until it ends at a T-junction. Turn right onto a footpath connecting through to St. Clement’s Road (6).
On St. Clement’s Road you will suddenly find yourself in post-war suburbia. The houses may be very ordinary, but they have a lovely aspect looking out over the edge of the Chew Valley. Through gaps in the hedge, you may be able to glimpse the tree-crowned peak of Kelston Round Hill rising behind the Wellsway.
Follow St. Clement’s Road until it bends to the left, then bear right onto a footpath that descends gently into the valley (7).
This lower branch of St. Clement’s Road passes the Keynsham Health Centre and then quickly takes on a more historic feel. You will find yourself in a pretty enclave of old stone cottages at the bottom of Dapps Hill.
Turn right so that you cross the River Chew via an old stone bridge (8).
This crossing is one of the oldest crossings of the River Chew in Keynsham and has been here since at least the 1840s. Don’t miss the pretend fossils embedded in some of the stone walls.
Turn right into Steel Mills.
Steel Mills is an old roadway providing access to a few riverside properties. It carries very little traffic and is lined by atmospheric stone houses and shrubby gardens.
After a while, the roadway curves off to the right, and Steel Mills continues up the hill as a footpath (9).
Take the footpath up the hill.
Before long you emerge back on the Wellsway and regain the attractive views of the valley.
Go straight on along Wellsway to return to Manor Road and complete Walk Twenty-Eight.
In Walk Twenty-Nine ‘Willsbridge Mill’ we will visit a secluded woodland nature reserve following the Siston Brook through the Willsbridge Valley near Bitton, also discovering parts of an old Victorian tramway.