Visitors have been coming to this Somerset seaside town for its quiet charm and bracing air since Victorian times. A family constitutional along the seafront is still very much a festive tradition.
The far end of Old Church Road in the West End of town is a good place to start a stroll. From here you can follow the green ‘Poets’ Walk’ signposts up to Wain’s Hill.
Catching your breath at the top, admire the views across the Bristol Channel to the islands of Flat Holm and
Steep Holm and the distant Mendip Hills. The mudflats here are swept by the second highest tidal range in the world, and while stood enjoying the view, you may hear the melancholy calls of curlew.
As the walk’s name suggests, wordsmiths Coleridge and Tennyson were inspired by this vista, and you can see why.
If you take the firm path that skirts the headland or climb over the top of the hill, you’ll come to the site of an Iron Age hill fort and a Second World War pillbox. A local conservation group is creatively planning to promote this as a roosting site for bats.
The course then curves behind the 12th-century church of St Andrew’s, undulating beneath a canopy of trees
and offering opportunities to pick frost-softened sloes for next year’s Christmas tipple and a first glimpse of the town’s famous Victorian pier.
A short wooden walkway (known locally as Badger Bridge) leads you on to The Lookout. Erected in 1835
and recently restored, this
was said to have been used
by the Finzel family firm of importers to watch for their sugar ships arriving from the Caribbean. Today, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a panorama of the Welsh coast.
You can now head downhill to Marine Lake, a popular sea-filled pool used by local sailing and kayaking clubs. Here, you can join the promenade and stroll along the seafront. On your way, look out for the many interesting landmarks, including the Victorian shelter, bandstand and much-photographed windswept yew tree.
What better way to finish your day than by promenading
on the pier itself? This is the jewel in Clevedon’s crown, described as “the most beautiful pier in England” by
Sir John Betjeman. Reward
your efforts at the pagoda tearoom or, if you time it well, with a mince pie and mulled wine at the traditional carol concert on 21 December.
Beneath, Clevedon Beach is an ideal spot for a family stone-skimming contest or simply to watch a wonderful wintery sunset over the milky waters of the Severn Estuary. And, if you’ve still got Christmas calories to burn off, why not return for the traditional New Year’s Day fancy dress swim?
HOW TO GET THERE
Clevedon is situated directly off J20 of the M5, making it easily accessible by road. The town doesn’t have a train station (the nearest is Yatton, 3½ miles away), but it is well served by buses from Bristol, which is 10 miles east.
FIND OUT MORE
11 The Beach, Clevedon
Enjoy teas from all over the world.
Wellington Terrace, Clevedon BS21 7PU
Victorian hotel within walking distance of the pier.