Born out of doorstep exploring during the UK’s lockdown, the Bristol Green Belt 360 gravel route is a complete circumnavigation of the UK’s fifth largest city, taking in bridleways, byways, tracks, cycleways and roads.
Three different loops
Don’t be fooled by the distance; this certainly is a challenging ride. For this reason, the full 360 has also been split in two, so you can try the North 180 or South 180 loops before tackling the whole thing in one go. The South loop is definitely more hilly and technical, which includes Dundry Hill, whereas the North loop is more beginner-friendly and much flatter too.
Where’s best to start?
The beauty of a circular route like this is that you can join at any point, and you’re never too far from the city either if you feel like you’ve had enough. A suggested central starting point is Business As Usual, the home of local cycling club Das Rad Klub and bike workshop Forever Pedalling, which means your ride out to the circuit is on the traffic-free Bristol to Bath railway path.
Urban gravel at its finest
Bristol is a fantastic city for urban off-road cycling, as ‘considerate cycling’ is permitted in all the city’s parks. You’ll need to make sure you give way to other trail users and look out for dogs too
Which bike is best?
In reality, there is no perfect bike for this route. A mountain bike (short travel hardtail/XC/rigid) will certainly help you on the more technical sections like the Dundry singletrack descent or the rocky Queen Charlton byway, but won’t be quite as efficient on the linking road parts.
A gravel bike is probably the best compromise, and you should be prepared that you might need to walk some parts, so MTB shoes and pedals come highly recommended! In the winter or after heavy rain some of these trails will be muddy and wet, but isn’t that half the fun?
What you said about the Bristol Green Belt 360
After two very rainy days we were very happy to ride it on hardtails, because some of the roots and rocky sections were lethal. Also some of the great singletrack trails were very overgrown with stinging nettles (still itchy this morning!) so thoroughly recommend covering up arms and legs… The Keynsham off-road climb should be called ‘Rocky Horror Show’, but all good fun! Very good farm shop that makes delicious sarnies just off the route before you climb up to Failand. The second half of the ride is easier, and we were grateful for it. Recommended day out! – Harry Dowdney
Leave a comment with any questions about the route, and let us know how you get on! For more gravel routes around the city of Bristol, have a look here.
Last modified: 4th September 2020