Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Day 5: Glastonbury to Bristol

I was expecting another fairly easy day today, as it's one of the shortest distances planned. The weather was also fantastic today, with blue skies and sunshine all day, which made a change from the last few rather grey days (although the sun had made an appearance yesterday, but only as I was coming to the end of the ride).

After leaving Glastonbury, I re-joined NCN 3 where it ran alongside the A39 for a short while, before turning off across the levels again. About 5 miles on, the terrain became slightly hillier on the approach into Wells. I arrived there just before 10am, and wandered around for a while admiring the beautiful architecture of the city, particularly the cathedral and its surrounds.

A couple of miles out of Wells, just past Wookey Hole caves, was the long steep road leading up into the Mendips. Slightly worryingly, this was marked with a "Road Closed Ahead" sign but, having no alternative plan to hand, I decided to press on. At the top (with some wonderful views back across Somerset) it became clear that the road closure was actually going to be in the village of Priddy, for the Priddy sheep fair. I was able to cycle most of the way into the village, and only had to dismount to walk through the fair itself.

The route continued across the top of the Mendips for about 10-12 miles, and was generally pretty flat. About half-way across was Charterhouse, where there were various remains of a Roman settlement to be seen, including lead workings, an ampitheatre and a small fort. I wandered around the ruins of the fort for a while before pressing on.

Half-way down the descent from the Mendips were some excellent views of Chew Valley Lake to the north, and these were repeated at the top of another hill just to the west of the lake. Around here, my route left NCN 3 and soon joined the Avon Cycleway (Regional Route 10). I'd cycled this several years before (although in the opposite, clockwise, direction) so it was familiar in places. After a few more hills I was in much more familiar territory, and stopped off for a pint and a pie at the "Bird In The Hand" in Saltford, a popular pub backing onto the Bristol to Bath cycle path.

Following lunch, I joined the path for the final few miles. Having lived in Bristol most of my life (and at times within a few metres of the path) this was extremely familiar to me. I finally arrived into Bristol just after 3pm, to stay with my parents for the night. It seems strange to now be back where I started from, almost as if I haven't really gone anywhere yet! However, it's good to know that I am actually now just over a quarter of the way through the trip.

Distance: 46.1 miles
Total ascent: 1219 m
Cumulative distance: 268.1 miles
Interactive route map and profile:

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