AboutNorth East Somerset stretches from the outskirts of Bristol, south into the Mendip Hills and east to the Wiltshire border. Two thirds of the area is green belt, combining great natural beauty with some of the most significant historical treasures found anywhere in Europe.
To the south of Bath explore the Somer Valleys with their tucked away villages and the striking industrial heritage relating to its past as an important coalfield.
Villages such as historic Camerton and Paulton were once home to mining collieries and the past is still present in the terraced miners cottages and batches, or spoil heaps, that dot the landscape.
Midsomer Norton and Radstock serve as a focal point for the area, both towns enjoy a history that stretches back to the Iron Age. It is their link with coal mining that is still a source of pride.
The River Somer runs through the centre of Midsome Norton, providing a waterside backdrop for leisurely shopping. The town also boasts a lively events calendar including an annual Carnival and monthly Farmer's Market.
Neighbouring Radstock is one of the best preserved former coal-mining towns in England and has been awarded conservation area status. The Radstock Museum is a good introduction to the area, displaying exhibits and reconstruction of life in the North Somerset coalfield.
On Waterloo Road, the Memorial Park provides a green space for informal relaxation by the brook. Running into the town are two routes for cyclists and walkers - the local Greenway and the Colliers Way. The latter is part of National Cycle Network 24, a route that is currently being developed from Bath's Limpley Stoke Valley to the South Coast. The path makes use of the area's former railway lines and quiet country lanes, allowing you to explore at your own leisure.
Saltford, a large village situated between Keynsham and Bath alongside the River Avon, the main-line railway and the Bath-Bristol cycle-path, is a perfect hub for activities in the Avon Valley. Saltford is known for it's history, with a gem of industrial heritage, the restored Ancient Brass Mill from 1720.
To the West of Bath discover the Chew Valley and its lakes which are a haven of tranquillity between the bustling cities of Bath and Bristol. The pretty setting, criss-crossed with country walks and cycle routes, make it an excellent area to visit and it's an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by unspoilt meadows and woods. Built as a reservoir in the 1950s, it is now a haven for wildlife and, along with its sister lakes, is popular with anglers and birdwatchers. The restaurant and picnic facilities at Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes provide a pleasant setting for refreshments. There’s many places to visit including the Stanton Drew Stone Circle and, in the north of the Chew Valley, Horseworld.
Eastwards from Bath the historic Kennet and Avon Canal travels through the charming Limpley Stoke Valley before ending its journey in Bath. Once a bustling canal connecting London with the port of Bristol, it is now a pleasant setting for waterside strolls and holidays onboard colourful narrowboats. The history of this water route can still be seen in the engineering landmarks along its course, such as the Pumping Station at Claverton and the aqueducts at Dundas and Avoncliff. The Waterfront Visitor Centre at Limpley Stoke is a good starting point to find out more about the waterway.
The wooded Limpley Stoke Valley is a tranquil setting, dotted with sleepy villages and interesting places to visit such as the American Museum.
With the beautiful countryside and wonderful waterways North East Somerset is a great place to explore on foot or bike and should be rewarded by a pint in one of the many local inns.