The first walk in the Berkeley Byways series is here and its the Railway Walk!
Originally I planned a long circular route for this one, taking in both Berkeley and Sharpness railway lines but this proved a bit too hard going due to the waterlogged state of some of the footpaths because of recent heavy rain!
Instead there are now two shorter walks, the Berkeley Railway Walk and the Sharpness Railway Walk.
Below are the maps and route descriptions. The walks can be connected together by walking down Rookery Lane from Wanswell and continuing straight along on the footpath which takes you out to Newtown/Sharpness just by the railway bridge. Please do be aware that this connecting path will be very very muddy/waterlogged so if you do attempt the longer connected walk do so in wellies!
The unlikelihood of a new rail link – which would go north only, not to Bristol – is discussed in our feature here: Will there really be a new rail link here?
This walk starts at the Station Road/bypass roundabout north of Berkeley.
At the roundabout cross straight over and walk towards Wanswell down Station Road until you see a turning on the right (ignore the road that takes you up to an industrial estate!), cross over and walk down the right turn where you will see the sign for the Vale of Berkeley Heritage Railway.
Walk down the road, passing Station House on your left and you’ll see the continuing works on the old Berkeley Road Station to restore it.
Head over to the old white railway signal where you’ll see the crossing point over the tracks. I know there’s only one radioactive train a week but still make sure you Stop, Look and Listen before hoofing across now y’all…
Once over the tracks head into the trees and through the kissing gate…
The footpath arrows show that technically you can cut through the field up diagonally right towards Wanswell Court Farm but given the newly ploughed nature of said field, we skirted around the side following the boundary fences of woods of Tintock Wood and Penny Grove.
Doing this also means you can stand and admire the arch of the railway bridge while on standing on another little bridge that crosses the stream in the lower left corner of the field…
Follow the boundary fences up and around both woods along the edge of the field…
Once at the corner of Penny Grove wood you’ll see the yellow footpath arrows directing you to enter a small field through the chain stiles…
At the time of my walk there were cows, one with a calf and suspected bull in this field. I was with my 2 small children who convinced themselves that they would be eaten by the cows if we crossed! I wasn’t confident crossing with them, even though it is only about 100 yards across to the next stile. Please be careful and decide if you want to cross the field, if you have dogs it is not at all recommended.
To avoid crossing this field instead walk right, following the fence along the cow/bull field boundary and keep walking to the corner of the field, bear up the left when you can, there is a footpath and another stile which you can cross, this field usually only has one horse in it.
From here walk up towards Wanswell Court Farm, walk up through/around the farm where you will meet the main (paved) track.
Head straight across to the next stile where you meet the farm track (paved). Turn left away from the farm and walk until you pop out by the college in Wanswell.
Either return to Berkeley
From here you can turn left and walk back to Berkeley up the road on the pavement – taking in more of the railway bridge and you cross underneath on the way back to Berkeley.
Or walk down to the Sharpness railway loop
To brave the waterlogged footpaths and connect the Berkeley Railway Walk and Sharpness Railway Walk, turn right once you pop out by the college in Wanswell and walk up towards The Salmon pub. Turn left down Rookery Lane…
You can go straight to the Sharpness Railway Walk by using the link below.