This May, the National Trust hopes to get Bath residents and visitors exploring the Bath countryside with their new guidebook to the Skyline.
The fully-illustrated guidebook (RRP £6.99) contains three circular walking routes and a foreword by former Bath resident and celebrity baker Mary Berry.
It’s well-known that Bath was a social hotspot for Georgians like Jane Austen – but a visit to the city was about more than attending Assembly Room balls or promenading through Sydney Gardens. Visitors also enjoyed escaping to the surrounding countryside to ‘take the air’.
Today that countryside makes up a significant part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath, and the National Trust looks after 202 hectares (500 acres) of it. This new guidebook celebrates this countryside and encourages both locals and visitors to follow in the footsteps of our Georgian predecessors and explore it.
– The showcase ‘Bath Skyline walk’ goes through Bathwick Wood and Down, Bathampton Down and Wood, Bushey Norwood, Claverton Down and Smallcombe Vale and Wood and finishes at Bathwick Fields. It’s six miles long and walking boots are recommended.
– The three-mile ‘Walk to the View’ guides you from the city centre to Bathwick Fields. It passes some of Bath’s key tourist sites along the way such as Ralph Allen’s Town House and Pulteney Bridge and Weir.
– The ‘Family Discovery Trail’ is an accessible two-mile route around Claverton Down. It is predominantly on level ground with smooth surfaces, the majority accessible for those with buggies or wheelchairs (though there are a couple of short sections through unsurfaced fields).
Alongside the route maps and walking directions, each section also contains more information about the area you are exploring to help you make the most of your walk.
Tread in the footsteps of Iron Age settlers, discover the site of a deadly duel and see the remnants of tramways that once carried distinctive Bath stone from quarries into the city.
There’s also tips about the wildlife you might spot during the walk, from bee orchids to butterflies, and plenty of photos, including a wildlife spotter’s guide, to help you identify them.
Also featuring general overview of the history of Bath and packed with gorgeous colour photography, the Bath Skyline guide is both a practical walking book and the perfect souvenir of a visit to Bath.
– Enjoy a themed and guided ‘Walk to the View’ as part of Bath Festivals, led by our expert co-authors. On Saturday 27 May, David Goode will lead a nature-themed edition, or if you’re more of a history buff, join Robin Dixon on Sunday 28. Each walk costs just £3.
For more information see: http://bathfestivals.org.uk/blog/event/bath-skyline-nature-walk-to-the-view/ (nature walk) or http://bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/event/bath-skyline-history-walk-to-the-view/ (history walk)
– The National Trust owns just over 200 hectares (500 acres) of countryside in Bath, or 10% of the UNESCO World Heritage Site
– Researchers at the University of Bath have found that completing the Bath Skyline walk burns off more than 700 calories, about the same as a 90-minute game of football, or an hour of swimming or running
– The guidebook is 60 pages, 210 x 210cm full colour throughout. It will be available from Prior Park and selected other shops throughout Bath (RRP £6.99, £5 from National Trust shops)