The Stawberry Line lowdown
- Credit: Strawberry Line Society)
This former railway line, once used by trains carrying juicy strawberries from the South West to the markets of London, has been restored to form a beautiful, tranquil walking and cycling path, that goes from Yatton to Cheddar.
It is hoped it can be soon be extended from Clevedon to Yatton and also from Cheddar to Wells. There are also plans to will link it up with other cycling routes (see map) to form a 85-mile circuit also including Bristol, Bath and Shepton Mallet, by 2020.
It’s an excellent route for a picnic with friends and family since there’s plenty to see from wildflowers and foliage, insect and bird life to wetland birds, old settlements and gorgeous views of the Mendip Hills and Glastonbury Tor.
Best places to park
Those planning on walking from Yatton to Cheddar (via Axbridge) can park at Yatton Rail Station - where there are ramps and places of spaces - or at Axbridge bypass (A371). Axbridge town car park is free for 48 hours.
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There’s also parking in Yatton itself, as well as Congresbury, Cheddar and Winscombe (beside the Woodborough pub).
Those wanting to cycle can hire bikes from Cheddar Cycle StoreSoon you will also be able to hire bikes from new local company Strawberry Line Bike Hire. Based at Yatton Station they’ll be hiring our newly restored recycled bikes to let you take a spin down the old Strawberry Railway Line. This is the old line between Clevedon to Cranmore which has now been developed into an organised network of cycle and walking friendly paths. It’s associated with Strawberry Line Café, a Community Interest Company, which creates employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities, tel: 01934 835758
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Best places to take a break
If you are heading out from Yatton can grab some welcome refreshments before you set off at the Strawberry Line Café in Yatton Station. If that’s too soon though there’s also pretty tea rooms in Congresbury.
Winscombe Millenium Green (at the old station beside the shopping centre) is home to glow worms, bats and orchids – and there are seats from which you can rest to appreciate them.
If it’s views you’re after then one of the best places to stop en-route Strawberry Line is just past the Shute Shelve Hill railway tunnel. Having gone through it you’ll emerge to stunning scenery across the Cheddar Valley. This includes views of the coast, Brent Knoll and the Quantock Hills.
History buffs will be begging to stop off at Axbridge where they’ll encounter a beautiful medieval square. Landmarks for which include a half-timbered Hunting Lodge. This formerly belonged to King John and is now the location for the town’s museum. Look out too for the 700-year-old Church of St John the Baptist.
Activities on the Strawberry Line
A great place for nature and wildlife lovers to bring out their binoculars is the North Somerset Levels at the Northmarsh. That’s because it’s a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) thanks to its numerous otters, newts, bats, birds and grass snakes.
If walking between the months of April and October, the restored Victorian Railway Station at Sandford is well worth a visit. And if you’re feeling a bit parched, there’s Thatchers Cider Shop for a drop or two of the fruity nectar.
If you haven’t before, go see the Cheddar Gorge Show Caves where you’ll find cheese being freshly produced and which you can later buy in the shops. Happily there’s opportunities for refreshments here too (well, you’ll deserve a refreshing cuppa or hot chocolate by then).