• exception: The remote server returned an error: (503) Server Unavailable.

Weather and what to wear

Whatever the weather

Given that this website is about getting out into the Outdoors, you might want to know what the weather has in store.

We want you to use the paths in our area more, and not just on those balmy summer evenings: paths are open come rain or shine. If you only go out when it is warm and sunny, you’ll miss out on some of the views you get in ‘bad’ weather. For instance, on the days of sunshine and heavy showers you often get spectacular views with dark clouds and bright sunshine – which are just the conditions for seeing rainbows.

What to wear

Whatever the weather, think about what you need. A short stroll, or trip to the shops may need no preparation at all – you don’t always need special ‘hiking’ kit! In the cold you could wear lots of layers of clothing or winter thermals, and gloves and take food to keep warm. When it's warm, summer clothes, a drink and suncream, perhaps take a warm top in case it gets cooler. And at any time of year, if there's a chance of rain, a waterproof jacket can also keep you warmer in the wind, an umbrella on a still day, but not when it's very windy. Take what you need – but you'll rarely need to pack for an expedition.

Think about the season and the recent weather too. Many of our paths aren’t surfaced, are bare earth or they cross fields. If you’re going out after a long period of dry weather, lightweight shoes or trainers might be fine. After rain or on colder months when the sun won’t have dried paths out you may need wellies or strong boots with good grip. After rain or a heavy dew, grass can stay wet. If you want to take paths to take a more scenic route to or from work or school, or to the bus stop or train station, you could change keep a smart pair of shoes there and wear something more suitable or comfortable on the way.

Weather forecasts

Forecasts are a matter of chance. As weather forecasting gets more sophisticated, the chance that they are correct gets better, but weather is a natural phenomenon and isn't always predictable. To find out what the weather is likely to be, use a good forecast - one of the most popular forecasts is on the BBC website, which you can set to a local area - for instance, this page shows the weather forecast for Bath. On OutdoorsWest, we show a brief BBC forecast on the right side of many pages.

If you want more detail, try the Met Office's weather maps. You can get a good idea of what's coming your way, for instance by choosing to show 'rainfall' on the maps. A large area of rain on these maps means its likely to be long periods of rain - a few small spots might mean the rain showers miss you completely as the weather passes over.

Recent weather records can be found here on's weather almanac and the data from Bristol’s weather stations is published here.

Bear in mind though, that if the weather forecast says 'Light rain showers' then you might be lucky and spend most of the day in the dry. Or, on a day forecast as 'sunny intervals' in the summer, you could still get sunburnt!