Looking for hikes near Bristol? Crook Peak is my new favourite place for a Sunday morning wander.
Crook Peak is probably the closest thing you can get to a mountain without driving further than an hour outside of Bristol. Just under 200 metres high, Crook Peak doesn’t quite reach mountain status – but it’s one of the six main peaks of the Mendip Hills. This means it offers gorgeous views across Somerset, Cheddar, the British Channel and beyond. Unfortunately, this also includes a large stretch of the M5, but on quiet mornings this hasn’t bothered me too much.
The other great thing about Crook Peak is that it’s not too challenging a walk, but it’s definitely strenuous enough to get your heart racing. For this reason, it’s popular amongst runners and dog walkers – especially early in the morning!
NB: If you are planning to walk your dog at Crook Peak, be aware that lots of sheep and wild ponies graze here.
There are two main places to start the walk to Crook Peak. You can either begin at King’s Wood Car Park and take the footpath from here, or you can park on a lay-by on Webbington Road and take this footpath instead.
Personally, I’d recommend the King’s Wood route. At 2.3 miles long, this is a mile longer than the Webbington Road footpath, meaning there’s even more opportunity to take in the gorgeous and pretty dramatic landscapes of the Mendip Hills. If you’re driving, there’s also more space to park at King’s Wood Car Park.
If you do choose to walk from Webbington Road, it should only take you between 30-40 minutes to reach Crook Peak. The King’s Wood route takes between 50-60 minutes.
For me, the walk from King’s Wood to Crook Peak is really enjoyable. It’s the perfect combination of flat areas and craggy rock; enough to feel like a mini mountain, but not so much that I find the walk too difficult.
The first part of the walk is through King’s Wood, a forested area with uneven ground. If you’re walking on a particularly hot or sunny day, be aware that this is the only shaded part of the walk. Following this patch of woodland, there are two moderate-sized slopes to walk up. You’ll be pleased to know that they’re not very steep – you could sit down for a breather if you needed to!
The peak itself is a combination of grassy patches, rock and gravel, and limestone boulders which create a small cliff. Be careful not to walk too close to the edge of the cliff, especially when it’s windy.
When to go
I always go early in the morning, aiming to reach the summit at 8:30 AM, as it’s really quiet and peaceful at this time. On the way up, I only ever spot a few other early rises – often dog walkers – but it does start getting busier on the way down.
As with everywhere, Crook Peak is probably much quieter during the week, but I’ve only ever gone on the weekends. Early Sunday morning hikes are my favourite!
In terms of weather, it’s always best to pick a dry, sunny day. However, I’ve walked Crook Peak in the wind and rain and it’s still been enjoyable! The pathway and peak are quite exposed so you can definitely feel the wind, but I always welcome a gentle breeze when I’m hiking!
Where to park
I always park in King’s Wood Car Park, which is a National Trust spot just off the A38. It’s free to park here and it’s only a 30-minute drive from Bristol City Centre, depending on the traffic.
This isn’t a huge car park so you’ll want to arrive early to get a spot – especially on the weekend. There are some little villages nearby that may offer parking spots if King’s Wood is busy, but you’d have to walk through country roads to get back to the walk’s starting point. Your best bet is to get to the car park early; on the weekend, it starts filling up from about 7:00 AM.
You should also note that there aren’t any toilet facilities at King’s Wood Car Park, but there are pubs nearby if you’re desperate!
What to take
This is a fairly short walk so you won’t need to take much! However, here are some of the things I always take on a walk, short or long, just in case.
- Sturdy walking shoes – you could walk this route quite comfortably in trainers, but I always prefer waterproof walking boots.
- A fleece and windproof jacket – although Crook Peak is only 200 metres high, it’s quite exposed. It can get pretty nippy if it’s wet or windy!
- Water – the whole route will probably take an hour and a half at least, so don’t forget a bottle of water.
- Coffee in a flask – if you’re like me, hot coffee goes down a treat on early morning hikes!
- An OS map – there are a few circular walks to enjoy at Crook Peak and further into the Mendip Hills. If this sounds up your street, take an OS map or download one on your phone so you don’t get lost.
I love long walks and hikes (and I’m always searching for new places!). If you have any recommendations for walks and hikes near Bristol, I’d love to hear them.