7 Things to do in the Mendip Hills
PUBLISHED: 14:49 10 April 2015 | UPDATED: 17:32 10 April 2015
Designated an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mendip Hills boasts wild plateaus, fascinating gorges, calming stretches of water and even relics of ancient history scattered around its rounded peaks and thick woods and attracts walkers, cyclists, hikers and wildlife lovers all year round. Here are our favourite 7 activities to try
Chance along Cheddar Gorge
Sitting 400ft high from ground level, walking is the only way to get to the top of this three mile long natural and spectacular beauty spot which appeared more than one million years ago thanks to the last Ice Age. The view from the top features weathered limestone crags, fascinating fissures and caves as well as ancient pinnacles reaching for the sky. No-one is ever disappointed after circumnavigating and looking down into the depths of Cheddar Gorge. Even if geology isn’t your thing, you’ll no doubt enjoy looking at the wildlife and wild flowers. And you’ll always be able to see you’ve been to England’s largest gorge.
Breeze along to Brean Down
Nearing the end of the Mendip Hills you’ll find the 97 metres high Brean Down. There you can enjoy a beach walk or saunter the 1.5 miles along the natural ‘pier’ which juts out into the Bristol Channel, facing south Wales and the Somerset Levels. There’s the old crumpled Palmerston Fort and Roman temple for history lovers to explore and plenty of wildlife for bird lovers. While you’re there grab yourself a coffee and piece of cake to give you sustenance for the walk back along the Mendips.
Take to the saddle
Let the horse take the strain and enjoy the hills, woods and stunning views of the Mendips by horseback with Tynings Trekking Centre. They offer day rides, pub rides and hourly rides and cater for all abilities, from the beginner to the more experienced, who can enjoy a faster ride over endless canter tracks and open moorland.
Feast on local food
There are lots of delicious cheeses, preserves and meats produced locally and which you can pick up easily from farm shops or farmer’s markets in local towns and villages. Some of the best include Mendip Moments – an award-winning, luxury ice cream produced on Lower Haydon Farm at Wells (or try their sorbets which are made from fresh Mendip water thanks to the dairy’s very own natural spring). Another favourite is Thatcher’s Cider Shop at Myrtle Farm in Sandford. This award-winning family business was started more than a century ago and allows visitors to walk the orchards to see the quality of the fruit for themselves.
Bag a bike and venture along the Strawberry Line
If you don’t have your own bike (and many tourists don’t) then you’ll soon be able to pick one up from new local company Strawberry Line Bike Hire. Based at Yatton Station they’ll be hiring our newly restored recycled bikes to let you take a spin down the old Strawberry Railway Line. This is the old line between Clevedon to Cranmore which has now been developed into an organised network of cycle and walking friendly paths.
It’s associated with Strawberry Line Café, a Community Interest Company, which creates employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities, tel: 01934 835758
Walk the Butcombe Brewery Trail, sampling ales as you go
Depending on your level of stamina, a 45 mile walk will take you round six lovely Mendips pubs and all with an impressive range of ales to sample. Known as the Butcombe Trail, you can even pick up a leaflet explaining it all at the Butcombe Brewery shop.The pubs include a 15th-century coaching inn in Axbridge, the dog-friendly Bleadon Village Pub and the Queen Victoria in Priddy with its low beams, flagstone floor and roaring fire. You know you want to.
Try an adventure sport
If you are more of an adrenaline junkie check out the Mendip Activity Centre. From climbing and abseiling to kayaking, and learning survival skills there is bound to be an activity you have always wanted to try. They cater for all abilitises so whether you are new to the activity otr want to brush up on your skills they will accommodate you. They also offer team deveopment days with a vaiety of challanges - perfect for improving teamwork among your colleagues and getting to know them outside the office.