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Community Forest Path problems in South Gloucestershire

When attempting the Green Man Challenge (a continuous circuit of the Community Forest Path) we have come across a number of problems on the South Gloucestershire portion of the route.

Beginning at the County Bridge at Keynsham and working anti-clockwise, there are no problems until Londonderry Wharf. From this point to Willsbridge Hill, the CFP is basically un-runnable in the last field leading to the car park of the Queen’s Head – to the extent that we usually use the Dramway Path instead, which also has the advantage of a safer road crossing.

There are no further problems until Southway Drive. The problem is the transition onto the Dramway Path, which is not obvious. We generally turn right on Southway Drive to pick up the Dramway between the warehouses.

Some people have had trouble navigating through Warmley Forest Park to Goose Green.

The enclosed path from Goose Green past Cherryorchard Farm is usually blocked with nettles, particularly near the beginning. One person was misled by the angle of the CFP sign where the enclosed path opens out into a field.

The section up to Shortwood Hill is OK apart from long grass caused by the agricultural depression, which prevents the grass from being cropped.

The path up through the wood on the north side of Shortwood Hill is often difficult to follow due to brambles and other vegetation.

There are no more problems until we get to the other side of the M4.

There are sometimes problems with the gates of the field before the field that contains a disused mine shaft (possibly Parkgate Colliery.) The problem is that there is no proper gate, so when there are cattle in the field, the farmer tends to tie up a barrier with barbed wire. 

There are no more real problems until we reach the built up area, where the lack of CFP signs has proved a problem for some.

The only other problem is the enclosed path between Ash Lane and Badger’s Lane, which is regularly nearly impassable due to nettles etc. The dogs at the stables at the Badger’s Lane end of the path can also be intimidating.

The middle section of the stretch from Badger’s Lane to Easter Compton is not a problem at the moment, because it is down to grass. But the last time it was ploughed for arable crops, it was not restored on the correct line (although there were wide conservation-style headlands, which may have been intended as a substitute.)

The rest of the route is fine.

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Wild West – blocked path alert

The nettles are robust everywhere this year due to the warm wet spring, but they are particularly terrible on the Wild West route (the second one in Beyond the urban fringe or B-tuf 2). Nettles combined with brambles have made the route impassable at point 9 on the sketch map, where the route goes under the railway next to the motorway (Ordnance Survey ST549796). This means the route is not usable at the moment as there is no good alternative route onto Lawrence Weston Moor. There is a path in from Hill End Drive/Darley Close, but that involves a considerable distortion of the early part of the route, and, although this route is passable, it is by no means nettle free. If you do get onto the moor, you will need to find a route through the nature reserve as the path around Bank Leaze School is still blocked.

Something should be done about this problem as Lawrence Weston Moor is supposed to be a Local Nature Reserve. It ought to be accessible to walkers.

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2: B-tuf: 16: A Bird in the Hand

(Or Plop the Owl who was afraid of the Dark)

Two problems have been encountered with the early part of this route.

1) “Penshurst Gardens” should read “Fenshurst Gardens”.

2) The instruction “In the field, turn right and follow the line of a hedge to a stile into a tree-tunnel track.” has proved confusing, due to an unfortunate page break and the insertion of the comment about Ridings Wood and the Wild Country “over to the right.” This led my informant to go through a gap in the hedge – which to be fair is more like a line of bushes – and led him into an unfortunate confrontation with a security guard in the old hospital site.

To avoid this – When you get over the stile into the field, mentioned at the bottom of page 153, turn right immedately and follow the line of what used to be a hedge to the stile into the tree tunnel. (My informant thought this was more like straight on.) The important thing is not to cross the line of the old hedge.



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