Walks in Monkton Combe, Bath UK

Rainbow's End - by Nigel Vile
General description - Printable version

Distance: 4 miles
Time: minimum 2 hours
Start: Claverton Down Dogs Home (GR 775641)
Maps: OS Explorer 155 or Landranger 172

Claverton Down is certainly not the most peaceful of locations in and around Bath. If you are not familiar with the area, this is the site of the local Cats and Dogs' Home. One must have a degree of sympathy for our feline friends, with the constant noise of barking and growling in the background.

Man's best friend is soon left behind, however, as the walk passes the entrance to the American Museum before descending into the Avon Valley. At the bottom of Claverton Hill lies the village of Claverton itself. There is just the single street, lined with charming stone properties dating back to the 17th century.

There is a real surprise in the local churchyard - a most impressive mausoleum housing the earthly remains of Ralph Allen who died in 1764, having made his fortune twice over. First, he carried out a number of postal reforms before ploughing the proceeds into the successful exploitation of Bath Stone.

Below Claverton, the walk follows the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal through to Dundas Wharf. This is quite simply an exquisite slice of landscape, surely unrivalled in the Bath area. One guidebook notes: "The purlieus of the Limpley Stoke Valley are a place for superlatives", adding that "picturesque and scenic seem somehow inadequate appendages to a description of the valley." I couldn't put it better myself!

The delights of the towpath and Dundas are all too quickly left behind as the walk climbs a steep field path to reach the top of Brassknocker Hill.

It is hard going but there is some consolation insofar as the frequent pauses for breath will give you every opportunity to enjoy the view back across the valley.

Fortunately, it is a level stroll across the fields alongside Rainbow Wood Farm that brings the walk to a close.

These open spaces are the property of the National Trust, which has bought much of the land to the south and east of Bath, thus protecting the greenbelt around the city.

The Trust has declared this land to be inalienable, which in simple English, means it cannot be built on or sold and will remain rural.

The name Rainbow Wood, incidentally, comes from the arc shaped woodland at the top of Rainbow Wood Fields - a quite logical explanation I suppose.

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