The “Heart of Wessex” Line follows a beautiful 87 mile route through Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bath and Bristol, with about half of the trains also running through to Gloucester. Our line runs through the old kingdom of the West Saxons, the ancient name of Wessex not heard again for centuries until poet and author Thomas Hardy recreated it as his “dream country”. The line is still a perfect way to go Far from the Madding Crowd, running from Bristol to the World Heritage City of Bath through the southern part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It then enters the deep, green Avon valley, winding between the river and Kennet & Avon canal and emerging onto the broad Wiltshire plains before reaching the cider orchards and distant honey coloured spires of Somerset. Then it traverses the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before sweeping over the South Dorset Downs to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast at Weymouth.
Produced by the rail partnership three times a year, this includes the timetable for the line. Find the current edition here
Great Western Railway
The services are run by Great Western Railway (GWR). Visit their website to plan journeys, buy tickets and find details of the Heart of Wessex Day Ranger (a great option if you plan to explore more than one destination during the day), savings if you travel in a group of three or more people with Group Save, and more.
All services along this route can be found in First Great Western’s Central 3 timetable.
The National Rail Enquiries website will give you rail journey options from any station in the country to any other, in addition to the ticket prices.
An excellent way to plan end to end journeys is with Traveline. Enter your departure and destination points, and the site will plan your entire journey for you, with a detailed map showing times, routes and connection points.