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The Royal Crescent in Bath
The Royal Crescent in Bath

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Route No. 439 - Tuesday 18 October 2011
Pulteney Br, R Avon, Victoria Br, Royal Victoria Park, Royal Crescent, Circus, town centre - 5km
Bath, Somerset . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 155 Bristol & Bath or local street plan


Weirs on the River Avon below Pulteney Bridge
Weirs on the River Avon below Pulteney Bridge

Steps from Pulteney Bridge down to the Riverside Walk
Steps from Pulteney Bridge down to the Riverside Walk

Pulteney Bridge seen from the riverside
Pulteney Bridge seen from the riverside

We followed the direction of a sign to the 'Riverside Walk, down some stone steps with an iron handrail, under the buildings to emerge on the riverside where a little cafe had some tables out. We passed the boarding point for river cruises next to an arched triple weir, and followed the path along the riverbank heading downstream.

Neither my wife nor I have visited Bath before so we decided to put that omission right by have a short break in Bath this week. After a general reconnaissance (mainly from the top of an open topped bus) yesterday we planned to have a walk along the river and up to the Royal Crescent today. Our hotel is in the streets leading to Argyle Street and Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon and that is where we started our walk at map ref. ST752164 at the eastern end of the bridge.

Cafe terrace by the river
Cafe terrace by the river

Bath Abbey seen across the River Avon
Bath Abbey seen across the River Avon

Approaching the North Parade bridge over the river
Approaching the North Parade bridge over the river

Looking back up river from Ferry Lane
Looking back up river from Ferry Lane

A little lower down on an ornament to one of the pinnacles there was another peregrine. What an amazing sight to simply come across in the city centre. Apparently the falcons have been nesting here for several years now.

We passed under the road bridge at North Parade and after about 200m we came to Ferry Lane. On the opposite side of the river here is St John’s Catholic Church in South Parade with its tall steeple. A local man had parked his bicycle by the path and was watching the church steeple where there were a lot of pigeons circling. He pointed out a nesting box high on the steeple with a peregrine falcon perched at the entrance.

St John’s Catholic Church - the peregrin's nest box is at the bottom of the narrow window part way up the spire
St John’s Catholic Church - the peregrine's nest box is at
the bottom of the narrow window part way up the spire

Lock on the Kennet & Avon canal where it joins the river
Lock on the Kennet & Avon canal where it joins the river


Looking back across the river to Brunel's Great Western Railway

We crossed the river here and as we reached the other side a man pointed out a kingfisher sitting on a rope slung along the retaining wall at the edge of the river. As we turned to look it flew off and all we saw was the familiar blue flash as it disappeared from view along the river. Looking back across the river the railway is part of Brunel's Great Western Railway coming from the Bath Spa station just a few hundred metres to the east. We crossed the road at Churchill Bridge and continued on the riverside path on the northeast bank of the river.

We continued along the river bank under the railway bridge and came to the lock on the Kennet and Avon Canal where the canal joins the River Avon. We continued on the riverside path to cross under the railway again. About 100m beyond the railway bridge there was a footbridge over the river to the edge of the bus station.

Riverside path approaching the second railway bridge
Riverside path approaching the second railway bridge

Path along the northeast bank of the river
Path along the northeast bank of the river

Path along the northeast bank of the river
Path along the northeast bank of the river

Path between the allotments to Victoria Park
Path between the allotments to Victoria Park

We walked along Victoria Bridge Road to the main road called Upper Bristol Road. Here we turned left to walk along the main road for about 150m to a path between the allotments leading to the Royal Victoria Park. I love the scent of the vegetables on the allotments at this time of year, particularly the celery.

We followed the riverside path for about 1.3km to the derelict Victoria Bridge at map ref. ST741650. As we walked along this part of the river there was a good deal of redevelopment work in progress on the southwestern side of the river. At the Victoria Bridge we turned away from the river.

Victoria Bridge and redevelopment work beyond
Victoria Bridge and redevelopment work beyond

Lower Common organic allotments at Victoria Park
Lower Common organic allotments at Victoria Park

Autumn tree tops at Victoria park
Autumn tree tops at Victoria park

We sat on a bench for a while to look at the colours and enjoy the sunshine. We continued to follow the path out of the northeast corner of the park and turned down the road towards the Royal Crescent.

We followed a path crossing the park and climbing up the hillside. It was a cloudless morning with brilliant blue sky and all the autumn colours in the parkland trees.

Royal Victoria Park in Bath
Royal Victoria Park in Bath

Royal Victoria Park in Bath
Royal Victoria Park in Bath

 

The Royal Crescent, Bath
The Royal Crescent, Bath

Brock Street leading from the Crescent to the Circus
Brock Street leading from the Crescent to the Circus

The whole scene was completed when a tourist guide in full Georgian costume came into view with his little entourage of eager visitors.

The Crescent has a magnificent position looking out across parkland to the valley of the River Avon with the City of Bath below. The whole structure was most impressive as we walked along the cobbled street in front of the Crescent.

A tourist guide in full Georgian Costume
A tourist guide in full Georgian Costume

The Royal Crescent, Bath
The Royal Crescent, Bath

The Royal Crescent, Bath
The Royal Crescent, Bath

From the Crescent we followed Brock Street for about 250m to The Circus. I suppose that this is an extreme form of crescent, being a full circle of these amazing Georgian terraces. In the centre of the circle is a group of huge London Plane trees that have been recorded on the Ancient Tree Hunt web site. I imagine they were planted when the circus was built.

The Circus in Bath
The Circus in Bath

Group of large London Plane trees at The Circus in Bath
Group of large London Plane trees at The Circus in Bath

Entrance to the Jane Austen museum
Entrance to the Jane Austen museum

From the museum we continued past Queen Square where there is a large obelisk with a plaque declaring that the obelisk was erected in 1738 in honour of the Prince of Wales and His Consort in recognition of their good works in the City of Bath.

 

From The Circus we made our way down the slope along Gay Street, towards the city centre. Just before we reached Queen Square we came to the Jane Austen museum on the right hand side of the road. Here there were two figures in full Georgian costume. One, a lady turned out to be a mannequin whilst the other, a man was a real live 'greeter' at the museum door.

Obelisk in Queen Square, Bath
Obelisk in Queen Square, Bath

Pedestrian precinct near the Roman Baths
Pedestrian precinct near the Roman Baths

Pedestrian precinct near Bath Abbey
Pedestrian precinct near Bath Abbey

Carved wooden door to Bath Abbey
Carved wooden door to Bath Abbey

In the square there was usually a busker at work in the time that we were in Bath. These included a classical guitarist and a female opera singer, both excellent musicians.

We continued into the city centre along Barton Street and Westgate Street to the pedestrian precinct at the Roman Baths museum. From the Roman Baths we walked through the square in front of Bath Abbey.

Pedestrian precinct at the Roman Baths
Pedestrian precinct at the Roman Baths

Statue of the Roman goddess Minerva by Bath Abbey
Statue of the Roman goddess Minerva by Bath Abbey

Back on the riverside
Back on the riverside

The whole walk is a little over 5km and there's so much to see along the way. The actual walk takes about two hours, but if you visit the museums and tourist sites it could take all day.

From the abbey we made our way out to the road above the river with a view of the weir and Pulteney Bridge and completed our circular route.

Returning to Pulteney Bridge at the end of the walk
Returning to Pulteney Bridge at the end of the walk