The annual coach trip had arrived again and 43 travellers set off for Bath. The morning had a nip of Autumnal coolness, but the sun was rising, warming the air swiftly, as we made good progress and 33 walkers disembarked and booted at Bathwick Fields in time for a prompt 11am start.
Bathwick was once a separate parish from the City but, as with most cities, expansion soon incorporated the area and the fields now lie within, if above, the City and provide the starting point of the Skyline Walk.
A climb initially, towards Sham Castle and then into Bathwick Woods. A little too far in as it happened today with a signpost missed, meaning a walk down and a walk up. Patience needed and appreciated, but we emerged eventually onto Bathampton Down, in the open, with views to the east unfolding before our eyes, as far as Bradford on Avon, around 8 miles from the City.
Lunch in the sunshine with such a view was a treat for all before we set off through Bathampton Wood and then to Bushey Norwood. This area is now managed by the National Trust as it is rich in history, with Roman Earthworks and an Iron Age Hillfort. There are the remains of mine workings in Bathampton Woods and an old tramway, once taking the stone, greatly valued for building expansion in Georgian times. London town preferred granite but this unusual limestone was the choice for the churches and famous buildings in Bath that we so admire today.
Emerging from ‘Bushey’ we crossed Bath University grounds to arrive at Claverton Down and eventually to the Balcony and Rainbow Fields. A perfect viewpoint here to see the city nestling in the distant haze, on this beautiful late summer afternoon (we won’t call it Autumn just yet!).
A pleasant downhill stroll now back to the city and the Kennet & Avon Canal, 87 miles of waterway from Bristol to Reading with 105 locks in all.
The group dispersed in Bath to wander, explore and, for the majority, enjoy a pot of tea in this beautiful Georgian City with its warm honey coloured buildings, of oolitic limestone from their own Bathampton Down Mines.
Such is the beauty of Bath that it has been the chosen location for many film and TV productions, Persuasion, Sherlock, Vanity Fair, The Duchess and Poldark to name some, but the impressive Pulteney Weir, created to power the mills in the early 1600’s was famously used as The Seine when the unfortunate Javert could take no more and ended his life in the last Les Mis film, starring Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe. Thankfully Russell was substituted with a dummy for the final fling. Phew! Today the Crescent hosted a film crew and cast for ‘Bridgerton’, a Netflix production, to star Julie Andrews apparently! Would there be a TBR member in the crowd somewhere?
Meeting up once again with the sightseers near the Abbey, we boarded the coach once more for Wellington.
Here we enjoyed an excellent carvery at the Beambridge Inn where the staff made us very welcome, before we set off once more. Around 7 miles plus a little City strolling made for a weary band of travellers, who were safely back home with the setting sun.
Thank you to everyone who came along on, hopefully, another successful TBR Summer Coach Trip.
NB – Caps and shirts for our 2020 Anniversary Year can be ordered from Mandy, most colours available. 07956 125958