Trip from Manchester to Gloucester/Bath

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Hi everyone,

First post on your excellent website.

As the title suggests, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I'm planning a rail trip in June and would welcome some of your expert advice about visiting a couple of friends in Bath and Gloucester.

I'm thinking the most economical way is purchasing a Railrover ticket. From my own research, the best appears to be the explore Wales (4 days in 8) one. From Manchester I can pay for a cheap ticket to join the valid zone at Crewe (for Gloucester) and pay for any additional trains in out of the zone to Bath. Please let me know if there's a better way of doing it.

I was thinking of basing myself in Newport as there's a cheap Travelodge near the station and is probably the best base for both places. Thanks to "Jordy" for the heads up on the accommodation thread btw.

I may break the Crewe - Gloucester trip (or reverse journey) by visiting Ludlow/Shrewsbury/Hereford, so any suggestions for accommodation/things to do in those areas would be welcome. I've visited Ludlow (races) before and loved the place.

Many thanks.
 
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Techniquest

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Shrewsbury is a really nice market town, quite a bit to do there depending on interests but worthy of a day trip on its own I'd say.

Ludlow, despite it being pretty local, I have not done properly yet. I've been there a couple of times on cycle rides this spring, but not yet had a proper good walkabout. I did the brewery a couple of years ago, more specifically the bar to try all the different beers, but I do want to have a proper look some time.

Hereford, now you're talking about my home city. What is there to do and see in Hereford? Well as per anywhere, it depends on what you like. Like Worcester and Gloucester, we have a magnificent cathedral, worth seeing for sure. Mappa Mundi I have to be honest I can't even remember ever seeing it, let alone know anything about it, so I have no knowledge there. It has a pretty small actual centre to the city, and we have plenty of eateries, cafes and shops in Hereford.

There's the Black & White House, which may be of interest if that's your thing. There's also the Butter Market, an indoor area full of independent traders ranging from decadent doughnuts to butchers to phone repair to sports nutrition.

If you're into former railway lines, we have Great Western Way which, as the name suggests, was once operated by the original GWR. There's also the Rotherwas Greenway, which is another traffic-free shared-use path that covers part of an old railway line towards Ross-on-Wye.

There's the cider museum, a short distance from the city centre, although whether it'll be open again by the time of your visit is another thing altogether.

We do have some nice paths alongside the River Wye as well, which is nicely relaxing on a warm summer's day. Like Ludlow, we also have a race course although I doubt much will be happening there for a while.

To be honest, I think that sums up most of the interesting bits of Hereford really. There is a small amount of the old city wall still present, next to the main road side of the city centre Tesco, and I am sure I'm missing something really obvious but I just can't think what it is! Coming from the north, you'd see a building with gold TGS letters on it. That is a legacy from the days it was TGS Bowling, now MFA Bowling and I don't know for sure but I am certain it was an old railway goods building. Don't quote me on that! I know Sainsburys and its car park is on the site of the Barton Yard goods depot though.

It might not as much of interest to you, but I could recommend perhaps suggesting your journey south by rail ends at Hereford, continuing forward the day after (or the same day) by Stagecoach West's route 33 to Gloucester via Ross-on-Wye. It takes around 1 hour and 35 minutes from Hereford, but it does take on some scenery you wouldn't see by rail. I forget how much a single ticket costs, but a day explorer ticket is £7.50 (£7 on their app) which covers a huge area.

Also worth noting there that accommodation in Hereford, even with Travelodge, is notoriously expensive. I haven't had the need to stay in a hotel or anywhere else since before it opened, but we do at least have a Premier Inn these days too in the city centre.

I hope this helps somewhat in your planning! I would like to help with Shrewsbury some more, but I had a proper introduction only to Shrewsbury the other week, and I'm going back some time with some mates when there's more time. Transport for Wales charge a fortune for fares, and we have very early (3am) start times at work so we have to either pay a fortune for 'peak' travelling or travel at really useless times!
 
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Many, many thanks for such a detailed response, Techniquest.

Great information about Hereford itself and the bus connection to Gloucester.

I noticed that accommodation in Hereford is expensive, as is Shrewsbury. There's a Travelodge in Ludlow which is around £30 for most of June, so may base myself there for a night or two.

If there's anything else you think of, please add it to your excellent first response, which was most appreciated.
 

ChrisC

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Lovely area of the country. Just be aware that the Ludlow Travelodge is at least a mile away from the station.

Getting a railrover ticket is the best way to explore the lovely historic places along the Marches line as fares are normally very high. I did it a few years ago and used a 7 Day Heart of England Rover. I stayed for 6 nights at the Best Western Crewe Arms Hotel which is almost situated on Crewe station. The reason I chose the Heart of England Rover was that it also enabled me to travel to and from Nottingham at the beginning and end of my stay. It also gave me the opportunity to travel back from days out via Birmingham.

I agree about Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Hereford being good places to visit. I would also recommend getting off for an hour or so at Leominster, another historic market town with lots of black and white timbered buildings. During my stay I also visited Church Stretton and walked the short distance from Craven Arms Station to visit the very historic Stokesay Castle. Also during my trip I visited Malvern, Worcester, Evesham and a few places on the Cotswold Line. Another worthwhile trip was a day on the Central Wales Line as far as Llandeilo with a couple of hours exploring the town. That was very reasonably priced from Craven Arms.
 
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Many thanks for your response, Chris C. Seems like you had a great time.

Thanks for confirming that the Ludlow Travelodge is a mile or so from the station. From what I can gather there's a shuttle bus than runs there until about 5:30 everyday. If the weather's dry (which is crucial to the trip), I travel reasonably light so won't mind the walk. I've plotted it on Google Maps and it looks pleasant enough.

Some great suggestions about Leominster, Church Stretton and Stokesay Castle.

I considered staying in Crewe, especially as there's a Premier Inn near the station car park that has reasonably priced rooms.

As with Techniquest, some invaluable information and suggestions. It's most appreciated.
 
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I think it's an ideal time NorthWestRover.

Usually places of historical interest such as York, Chester, Bath, & Gloucester would have a large overseas tourist contingent. With foreign travel restrictions, even places like the lake district should be a bit less crowded this summer. I've looked at your Cumbria thread with interest. I can be in Carlisle in 2 hours so may do the 4 day trips in 7 (or 8) day period as referenced in your own thread.
 

ChrisC

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I think it's an ideal time NorthWestRover.

Usually places of historical interest such as York, Chester, Bath, & Gloucester would have a large overseas tourist contingent. With foreign travel restrictions, even places like the lake district should be a bit less crowded this summer. I've looked at your Cumbria thread with interest. I can be in Carlisle in 2 hours so may do the 4 day trips in 7 (or 8) day period as referenced in your own thread.
Completely agree.

Hotels in many coastal destinations, especially Cornwall and the South Coast are extremely expensive and in many cases fully booked for this summer. In contrast, accommodation in historical cities and other inland destinations that usually attract foreign tourists is unusually cheap.

I’ve booked 7 nights in a London Travelodge in August. Not right in the centre but a fairly central location only 20 minutes walk from Westminster Bridge and I’m paying £450 for one of their slightly more expensive super rooms. Normally this would be priced at around £850 which I wouldn’t pay for a Travelodge. I’m looking forward to visiting some museums and galleries without the crowds of foreign tourists. The last time I tried to visit the British Museum to view the Ancient Egypt section it was not a pleasant experience. I saw very little because I was almost knocked over by crowds of noisy tourists with selfie sticks who just pushed in front of everyone.
 
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I think it's an ideal time NorthWestRover.

Usually places of historical interest such as York, Chester, Bath, & Gloucester would have a large overseas tourist contingent. With foreign travel restrictions, even places like the lake district should be a bit less crowded this summer. I've looked at your Cumbria thread with interest. I can be in Carlisle in 2 hours so may do the 4 day trips in 7 (or 8) day period as referenced in your own thread.

I live in Wigan and have just turned 55, so can take advantage of the ridiculously good value Northern Explorer 55 for day trips to Cumbria. St Bees and Maryport is a bit of a trek via the coastal route, but the rest are doable especially if I leave on the train just after 8 on a Saturday.

I will probably do a 7 day North West Rover in the summer as I can return home each evening. Just travelling over Shap, the Settle & Carlisle line, the Cumbrian Coast and the two Transpennine routes (Calder Valley and Standedge) would be a great week without even visiting anywhere!!
 
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ChrisC - Totally agree about the crowds. Completely ruins the experience when there's too many people there. Pre-Covid, London on a Sunday was far more pleasant than the other 6 days. Both Travelodge and Premier Inn currently have decent room rates in a lot of towns & cities.

NorthWestRover - I'm on the line between Salford Crescent & Wigan Wallgate, so similar to yourself. Apart from my journey needs to start after 9:30, which luckily dovetails well with timings at my local station. Just waiting for an extended spell of decent weather and I'm away. Still not decided if a journey home or overnight stays are the best option.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Shrewsbury is one area we liked to visit and even the railway station has an imposing frontage. The area near to the river that is used for the Shrewsbury Show has a little gem of a sunken garden called the Dingle that the local authority gardeners always produce a stunning display of summer bedding with plenty of benches there to sit and enjoy the view. Across the road that fronts that area is the circular church of St Chad which also has a military chapel attached. Plenty of retail therapy available that the ladies seem to like. There is a military museum not far from the station set in its own grounds. There were river cruises available when we last visited a couple of years ago, but I suppose current events will have changed much of the availability for many places.
 
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Traintripper

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Just had a look on Google, the Premier Inn in Shrewsbury (short walk from railway station), is extremely well priced it seems on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout June, sub £35. If you've not visited before, I reckon it would be well worth looking into it.
 
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- I'm on the line between Salford Crescent & Wigan Wallgate, so similar to yourself. Apart from my journey needs to start after 9:30, which luckily dovetails well with timings at my local station.
I live five minutes away from North Western (and Wallgate obviously), so if I'm weekday travel, I've got the two Lake District trains in either direction in the half hour after 9 if I'm going North or to Manchester. I like the CAF trains in terms of comfort and power/WiFi. If I'm not on the Northern only ticket, I can of course do the Avanti train North just before 9.30 too.
 
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Thanks for all the replies.

Xenophon - Thanks for the hints on Shrewsbury station and it's surrounds. I was a gardener for a local authority 25 years ago, so I would appreciate the Dingle. Unfortunately it appears Shrewsbury doesn't have lockers or left luggage, I'd happily dump my bag for a few hours to walk round the town.

Traintripper - Thanks for the heads up on the Premier Inn, Shrewsbury. I'm pretty flexible on dates, so will see if I can factor that in. I'm thinking day 1 could be Crewe- Shrewsbury - Ludlow- Hereford. I'd rather end up as far south as possible, to make the onward journey to Gloucester shorter the following day. Shame that Hereford as the furthest south is the most expensive. Good to have options though.

NorthWestRover - What are the CAF trains? Are they the Avanti (formerly Virgin trains)? I've travelled to Glasgow/Edinburgh before and preferred Virgin to Scotrail and TPE.
 
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The CAF trains are the new Northern units. There are some diesel ones (class 195) which do all the Manchester to Windermere or Barrow trains (as well as quite a few other routes across Manchester, bit nothing that goes into Wallgate, I don't think). The electric ones (class 331) do a lot of the trains out of Blackpool now and some journeys around Leeds. They have been introduced over the past couple of years and are a significant improvement on most of Northern's fleet around these parts. Both the electric and diesel ones come in 2 and 3 car sets, sometimes doubled up to 6 in total (luxury for the North West).

TPE have got some new stock now doing the Manchester/Liverpool to Scotland services via the West Coast Main Line. They are also CAF - class 397 electric units, branded as Nova 2. I've not yet been on one but they look very sleek.

CAF is a Spanish train manufacturer -Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.
 

Techniquest

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I'm pleased to hear I have provided some useful information, not too often I get to share local knowledge! I have no idea why Hereford is so expensive to stay in, we're not a posh city after all.

Based solely on my beautiful stay (not fully appreciated as I was staying for a drunken night out some years ago), I would recommend No. 21 on Aylestone Hill in Hereford. Not that long a walk from the railway station, a matter of 10 or less minutes, and it is such a nice B&B. I had to rush my breakfast, as I was off to work hungover (yeah, it was fun...) but that was still great food. Not cheap, but for a high quality stay it would be worth it.

You also won't be short of places to get meals, we have plenty of takeaways, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants catering for many different tastes.

Oh, and if you go for the Travelodge DON'T book the Grafton one. It is a few miles out of the city, and while it is easy enough to get a route 33 bus (that's the bus route to Ross on Wye and Gloucester) to it, a taxi will soon get expensive.

Final thought for now, depending on your plan there is a possible alternative bus move that will take you through the Forest of Dean. It would mean changing in Mitcheldean off route 33 onto route 24 (both Stagecoach operated, so both included on the Explorer) to Chepstow. To get to Gloucester then means a train, which costs a pretty penny (around £15 one way from Chepstow I believe) and I can't remember what it is from Lydney. So probably not super ideal on this trip, potential for another some time if you like scenic bus rides.
 
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Techniquest - Booked in at No. 21. £55 for a King Room with breakfast. Looks a fabulous place. Unanimous positive reviews on Tripadvisor, Booking.com etc. I'll be doing a fair bit of travelling and walking that day so will appreciate a bit of luxury. Many thanks for the recommendation.
 

Techniquest

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Techniquest - Booked in at No. 21. £55 for a King Room with breakfast. Looks a fabulous place. Unanimous positive reviews on Tripadvisor, Booking.com etc. I'll be doing a fair bit of travelling and walking that day so will appreciate a bit of luxury. Many thanks for the recommendation.

Bargain price for Hereford! I do hope they've kept their standards up high following the pandemic, but I can't imagine it won't be amazing.

Lots of walking opportunities in Herefordshire, that's for sure, and if you're into cycling you'll love it in Herefordshire! A lot of poor quality roads, granted, as I find out regularly to my displeasure, but much of it is pretty decent. Depending on what you like of course, I've grown weirdly fond of maximum power main road riding.

Anyway, enough of me going on about my home county and city. Well, almost. You may have noticed during your trip planning your nearest supermarket is Morrisons, almost directly opposite the railway station. Their bakery stuff is good, so good I actually made a beeline for a Morrisons on my recent holiday, just because their bakery's vegan rolls (like sausage rolls but vegan) are amazing.

In terms of takeaways, and given you're on a trip to celebrate special digits it's not entirely likely you'll care too much about the healthy status of food, then we have plenty of those! Plenty of pubs too, and if you're into craft beer then both Hereford Beer House and Beer In Hand will be well received. Both easy to get to as well. Takeaways, I don't go to them very often these days but Mr Chips is one of my favourite places. Batterlicious is my favourite in Hereford, and close to Beer In Hand if you go there. If it's pizza you like, Doughboys do the best (in my opinion) pizza in Hereford, and they should deliver to No 21. You can collect as well, but they're a good walk from your accommodation so probably not recommended for collection. Can't help you with Chinese (I'm told Planet Buffet does amazing food), and in terms of Indian my top (and only) choice of recommendation is The Glass Tandoori. We do have Asian food places too, Fujisan I've heard good things of, but the one a close friend recommends I can't remember the name of right now.

All in, no way will you go hungry or thirsty in Hereford!
 
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Great stuff, Techiquest. Given it's reviews, I was surprised to get it for such a good price. I'm hoping the cycling tours/hire shops will be open whilst I'm there. A quick way to see the City, whilst doing a bit of gentle exercise. I did look at the canoe tours on the Wye, but it takes too big a chunk out of the day.

Great recommendations about the pubs, restaurants and takeaways. Always handy to know, as was the tip about Morrisons facing the station. I always like to stock up on provisions from the deli counter before a long(ish) train journey, which is what I'll have before arriving in Gloucester.

Really looking forward to it now. As someone who's travelled extensively around the UK and Europe, apart from Ludlow and Cheltenham racecourses, it's not an area I've ever visited.

Once again thanks for all the practical tips everyone. It's most appreciated.
 

Techniquest

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I think the issue there is that many of us aren't too keen on booking many trips at the moment involving overnight stays, just in case. I sure haven't got anything booked, I had two nights away this week in an Airbnb (as part of a cycle tour that got abandoned due to the extreme wind) but this is a rare event, no Advance tickets booked and no hotels booked. I'm sure that will change soon, I have at least 3 weeks of holiday to book off work but with the unpredictable weather I haven't had the guts to book anything yet!

Anyway, cycle hire, yes I too hope it'll be an option again soon. Not that I need one, I'm very happy with my beast, a Ridgeback Speed hybrid. When she's in for works (got to book her in for a full service soon, now I come to think of it, she's on 2,040 miles in a shade over 4 months) though, I don't have miss the freedom of a bike and the room feels empty without the beast! So cycle hire would be great for those days, where I can drop her off for works and continue my quest to turn the legs into a pair suitable for conquering hills!

In the meantime though, you will be glad to know we have the next best thing in Hereford. You may have seen those little bikes for hire in places like Liverpool and London, indeed I still need to try out the Boris Bikes. One day...

Hereford however has Beryl, who also have bikes in Bournemouth, Watford, somewhere in northeast London and Norwich. It was Beryl bikes that got me into the cycling scene, and there's now loads of Beryl Bayes around the city. I think we're over 40 bays now, maybe nearer 50 (researching it, there's 65)! Which sounds like a lot, until you see the map of bays in Bournemouth...

https://beryl.cc/bikeshare/hereford should provide you all the information you need, if you use Beryl bikes when you visit you will need the free app. You'll find a bay at the railway station, which would also be your nearest to No 21.

So cycle hire is technically available already!
 
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Thanks again, Techniquest. Interesting about Beryl bikes. We had something similar in Manchester (Mobike). Unfortunately we became the first worldwide city to have them withdrawn due to theft & vandalism.

The Beryl's actually look better, having gears, e-bikes and the option to dock or park anywhere.
 

ChrisC

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Final thought for now, depending on your plan there is a possible alternative bus move that will take you through the Forest of Dean. It would mean changing in Mitcheldean off route 33 onto route 24 (both Stagecoach operated, so both included on the Explorer) to Chepstow. To get to Gloucester then means a train, which costs a pretty penny (around £15 one way from Chepstow I believe) and I can't remember what it is from Lydney. So probably not super ideal on this trip, potential for another some time if you like scenic bus rides.
Thanks for that. It has given me some ideas.
I’ve got 6 nights booked at the Gloucester South Holiday Inn Express in 2 weeks time. I booked it a while ago when it first became a possibility that hotels may open from 17th May. My main reason for the location was it’s an area I’ve never visited and being right on the southern edge of Gloucester, it has easy parking and I can be out in very rural areas especially by the River Severn for walking. I usually travel by train and stay close to a station but due to Covid I am taking my car as I did on a couple of quiet rural breaks last summer.

Since I booked infection levels have fallen far more and faster than I ever expected and so bus travel whilst there is now a big possibility. The Stagecoach 7 day West Megarider Gold is fantastic value at only £21 and so some trips over to the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas are very tempting. Also my hotel is located next to the Gloucester Park and Ride so the ticket will also enable me to go into Gloucester to eat in the evenings.
 

Techniquest

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Thanks for that. It has given me some ideas.
I’ve got 6 nights booked at the Gloucester South Holiday Inn Express in 2 weeks time. I booked it a while ago when it first became a possibility that hotels may open from 17th May. My main reason for the location was it’s an area I’ve never visited and being right on the southern edge of Gloucester, it has easy parking and I can be out in very rural areas especially by the River Severn for walking. I usually travel by train and stay close to a station but due to Covid I am taking my car as I did on a couple of quiet rural breaks last summer.

Since I booked infection levels have fallen far more and faster than I ever expected and so bus travel whilst there is now a big possibility. The Stagecoach 7 day West Megarider Gold is fantastic value at only £21 and so some trips over to the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas are very tempting. Also my hotel is located next to the Gloucester Park and Ride so the ticket will also enable me to go into Gloucester to eat in the evenings.

I'm glad to hear I've been of assistance without even realising it :D

The Stagecoach West Megarider will cover a HUGE area, if you haven't already seen the validity area I would have a look. For example, it will cover you to Cirencester with a simple change in Cheltenham, which is a nice looking town that I need to actually stop off and explore one day. Cricklade is also a valid option, and I was surprised yesterday to see, when looking at my cycling maps, that Kemble is within 5 miles of Cirencester.

The main reason why I mention that area though is the Cotswolds Water Park. Also accessible on the same bus route from Cheltenham, and a place I really need to explore properly. I've been past many times on the bus but never actually into it. Despite it kind of sounding like a theme park, it's an outdoor leisure area full of options for walkers, cyclists, boating and more. Strongly worth researching, I've had a quick look at the area yesterday and I was determined to make a visit there one day. I'd have gone years ago, but I was not even slightly interested in physical health back then, whereas these days I can't spend enough time outside exercising and exploring!

I realise some of my suggestions here do involve a lot of time on buses, but in my mind it's worth it. Here's some more ideas, and I was going to do this via PM but as it could be useful to others I'll leave it publicly viewable:

- If you do the trip to Chepstow, you would be well placed to do the Wye Valley Greenway. Opened this spring, it follows the old railway route to Tintern. I would *strongly* recommend checking bus times if you go both ways by bus however, as the 24 is not very frequent. Still worth doing in one direction or the other mind, and the Stagecoach Buses app will be incredibly handy. I'm going to do a trip report on the Wye Valley Greenway later today, as the weather is not great enough to go out for a bike ride today :( For now though, the big draw for me was Tidenham Tunnel. I've uploaded a walkthrough video of it to YouTube, no fancy editing or anything, as I have no idea what I'm doing or anything with that kind of thing. Still, for the easiest way to experience the tunnel at home, this video will do just that:


- A trip that involves buses Gloucester-Cheltenham-Swindon-Avebury, so a long day, but Avebury has its own version of Stonehenge which might be of interest. Staying on the same bus to Devizes (the route ends in Trowbridge) will give you a rather nice little town which would be worth a couple of hours exploring.

- A more local to Gloucester day now, take the 64 to Stonehouse. It takes an indirect route, but I like Stonehouse. A nice little place, and Standish is not far away. I haven't looked into it myself, but Standish is almost right next to the mainline between Birmingham and Bristol, so you'd get GWR IETs as well as 158s, 165s, 166s, Voyagers and XC HSTs. A linesiding photography idea I need to research myself. Anyway, not the point of this day trip! National Cycle Network's Route 45 between Stonehouse and Nailsworth is all on a traffic-free section, around 5 miles at the most. I did this one the other week, after the honourable @Kite159 told me of it. Very easy going, virtually no gradients to speak of, and Nailsworth looked like a nice place to stop off for a coffee. I had had a long journey of around 3 hours to get there, and I was determined to get on with the walk so didn't stop to investigate. It can also be accessed from Stroud, and not too far from the town centre. That is also accessed off the 64, but more directly off the 63.

- You might have noticed I've got plenty of ideas here! Another day out would involve the buses to Ross on Wye (a town local to me but never properly explored, embarrassingly as there's so many walks to do from there) and over to Monmouth. Another area with boatloads of walking opportunities, a town worth exploring properly and that is on my list to do myself. I visited a few weeks ago on a cycle tour, if I hadn't had the long and challenging mission back to Hereford ahead of me (the A466 is seriously evil...) and a social bike ride to lead that afternoon I'd have stopped for longer. The 34 from Ross is much quicker, the 35 is far slower but would take on more scenery.

- More walking options in Gloucestershire, and one on my list to do still, is the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. It's quite long, I think 16 miles each way, so not one to try and do in one day. There is somewhere the bus from Stonehouse serves near Slimbridge that is alongside the canal, but without looking it up I can't remember where that is. I need to do this one myself, as I want to see Sharpness. Nothing hugely exciting there, but it is at the end of a former railway and I am pretty sure it used to host a ferry crossing many years ago. I just fancy seeing what's actually there! Slimbridge has a RSPB site, by the way, if that is of interest. The canal is easily accessed from Gloucester Quays, a short walk from the city centre.

I think that's all the ideas I have to share for now!
 
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ChrisC

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I'm glad to hear I've been of assistance without even realising it :D

The Stagecoach West Megarider will cover a HUGE area, if you haven't already seen the validity area I would have a look. For example, it will cover you to Cirencester with a simple change in Cheltenham, which is a nice looking town that I need to actually stop off and explore one day. Cricklade is also a valid option, and I was surprised yesterday to see, when looking at my cycling maps, that Kemble is within 5 miles of Cirencester.

The main reason why I mention that area though is the Cotswolds Water Park. Also accessible on the same bus route from Cheltenham, and a place I really need to explore properly. I've been past many times on the bus but never actually into it. Despite it kind of sounding like a theme park, it's an outdoor leisure area full of options for walkers, cyclists, boating and more. Strongly worth researching, I've had a quick look at the area yesterday and I was determined to make a visit there one day. I'd have gone years ago, but I was not even slightly interested in physical health back then, whereas these days I can't spend enough time outside exercising and exploring!

I realise some of my suggestions here do involve a lot of time on buses, but in my mind it's worth it. Here's some more ideas, and I was going to do this via PM but as it could be useful to others I'll leave it publicly viewable:

- If you do the trip to Chepstow, you would be well placed to do the Wye Valley Greenway. Opened this spring, it follows the old railway route to Tintern. I would *strongly* recommend checking bus times if you go both ways by bus however, as the 24 is not very frequent. Still worth doing in one direction or the other mind, and the Stagecoach Buses app will be incredibly handy. I'm going to do a trip report on the Wye Valley Greenway later today, as the weather is not great enough to go out for a bike ride today :( For now though, the big draw for me was Tidenham Tunnel. I've uploaded a walkthrough video of it to YouTube, no fancy editing or anything, as I have no idea what I'm doing or anything with that kind of thing. Still, for the easiest way to experience the tunnel at home, this video will do just that:


- A trip that involves buses Gloucester-Cheltenham-Swindon-Avebury, so a long day, but Avebury has its own version of Stonehouse which might be of interest. Staying on the same bus to Devizes (the route ends in Trowbridge) will give you a rather nice little town which would be worth a couple of hours exploring.

- A more local to Gloucester day now, take the 64 to Stonehouse. It takes an indirect route, but I like Stonehouse. A nice little place, and Standish is not far away. I haven't looked into it myself, but Standish is almost right next to the mainline between Birmingham and Bristol, so you'd get GWR IETs as well as 158s, 165s, 166s, Voyagers and XC HSTs. A linesiding photography idea I need to research myself. Anyway, not the point of this day trip! National Cycle Network's Route 45 between Stonehouse and Nailsworth is all on a traffic-free section, around 5 miles at the most. I did this one the other week, after the honourable @Kite159 told me of it. Very easy going, virtually no gradients to speak of, and Nailsworth looked like a nice place to stop off for a coffee. I had had a long journey of around 3 hours to get there, and I was determined to get on with the walk so didn't stop to investigate. It can also be accessed from Stroud, and not too far from the town centre. That is also accessed off the 64, but more directly off the 63.

- You might have noticed I've got plenty of ideas here! Another day out would involve the buses to Ross on Wye (a town local to me but never properly explored, embarrassingly as there's so many walks to do from there) and over to Monmouth. Another area with boatloads of walking opportunities, a town worth exploring properly and that is on my list to do myself. I visited a few weeks ago on a cycle tour, if I hadn't had the long and challenging mission back to Hereford ahead of me (the A466 is seriously evil...) and a social bike ride to lead that afternoon I'd have stopped for longer. The 34 from Ross is much quicker, the 35 is far slower but would take on more scenery.

- More walking options in Gloucestershire, and one on my list to do still, is the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. It's quite long, I think 16 miles each way, so not one to try and do in one day. There is somewhere the bus from Stonehouse serves near Slimbridge that is alongside the canal, but without looking it up I can't remember where that is. I need to do this one myself, as I want to see Sharpness. Nothing hugely exciting there, but it is at the end of a former railway and I am pretty sure it used to host a ferry crossing many years ago. I just fancy seeing what's actually there! Slimbridge has a RSPB site, by the way, if that is of interest. The canal is easily accessed from Gloucester Quays, a short walk from the city centre.

I think that's all the ideas I have to share for now!
Thanks Techniquest for all that useful and interesting information.
As I said in my previous post I booked these 6 nights intending them to be a few days using my car and walking in quiet country areas, where if necessary, I wouldn’t need to go into any crowded places. I will have to see how I find long journeys by bus with mask wearing. The covid situation has changed a lot since I booked especially as I have my 2nd jab this weekend.

The 64 bus to Stonehouse runs very close to my hotel so that will be useful. I will certainly try to get down to Chepstow and some parts of the Forest of Dean by bus. Cricklade and the Cotswold Water Park caught my attention because I was looking at a staying in a hotel near Cricklade as alternative to Gloucester. The whole area down by the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal was an area I was intending to explore as the canal also is not too far from the hotel. I was intending on doing a walk along the Severn Way near Frampton on Severn around a very large bend in the river near Arlingham. I’d looked at Slimbridge but it does look a bit commercialised. I like that sort of place but prefer those which are a bit more wild and isolated.

After plenty of research I’m beginning to think this may be first of many visits to the area. I don’t know what the Gloucester Holiday Inn Express is like but it is very reasonably priced and does have good reviews on Tripadvisor.
 

Techniquest

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I can't help on the Holiday Inn, as I've not stayed in one. Hopefully it'll be decent for you. Fingers crossed your second jab goes well, I'm still waiting for my invite to book my first one. I'm getting pretty impatient waiting!
 

30907

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I can't help on the Holiday Inn, as I've not stayed in one. Hopefully it'll be decent for you. Fingers crossed your second jab goes well, I'm still waiting for my invite to book my first one. I'm getting pretty impatient waiting!
Upthread you said
Avebury has its own version of Stonehouse
Think you meant Stonehenge? :)
 

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