- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Locality & Walks
This self guided walking holiday in north Somerset, England, explores the western edge of the Mendip plateau. Just south of Bristol, the Mendip Hills is a beautiful and varied landscape. A dramatic scene of wild, open plateau is interrupted by deep gorges such as Burrington Coombe and Cheddar Gorge. Cheddar is England’s largest gorge, and with its weathered crags and pinnacles, one of the country’s most spectacular natural sites. The area is littered with the remnants of man’s industrial and social past, such as the Priddy Nine Barrows, a Bronze Age cemetery, and the Roman lead mines at Charterhouse.
The weathering of the limestone hills has created a network of caves as well as gorges, with Cheddar Caves and Wookey Hole Caves open to the public. The area has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and on its steeper slopes flower rich grasslands and wooded coombes offer varied habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. The Mendips overlook the Somerset Levels to the South, where there are wetland nature reserves and where, of course, the iconic sight of Glastonbury Tor rises above the Levels. Nestled below the Mendips is the beautiful medieval city of Wells, with its magnificent Cathedral and moated Bishop’s Palace.
A moderate walking holiday with each day's walk averaging 16km or 10 miles. The walking varies with some fairly level sections, whilst others include sizeable ascents and descents from the Mendip Hills. Your walking holiday follows several sections of the West Mendip Way, whilst also exploring other sections of the area using bridleways and local footpaths. Walking will include walking on all sorts of terrain and conditions; muddy or boggy areas as well as tarmac.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome and night at Weston Super Mare.
Day 2: Weston-Super-Mare - Axbridge
The first day’s walking takes you along the seafront before climbing from the marina at Uphill to the highest point of the western edge of the Mendips at Bleadon Hill with views of Crook Peak, the Bristol Channel and the Somerset Levels. You will pass through the small village of Loxton before climbing to the distinctive craggy limestone outcrop of Crook Peak where you will have great views of the Somerset Levels spread out to the south. You will then proceed onto the heathland of Wavering Down and Cross Plain before descending via the Strawberry Line to Axbridge, your overnight location. Up to 22km (13 miles)
Day 3: Axbridge - Rickford
Today, you leave the West Mendip Way to explore the woodland and heathland above Burrington Combe that form the northern edge of the Mendips. The trail takes you up onto Dolebury Warren, an Iron Age hill-fort and a wonderful viewpoint that’s hidden from the busy main roads by its surrounding wooded slopes. The trail follows the Limestone Link passed various limestone caves such as Rod’s Pot and Bos Swallet. The route then detours up to the highest point on the Mendips, Beacon Batch at 325m high on Black Down which with its peat, gorse and heather resembles Exmoor or the Pennines. The route then takes you onto Burrington Ham with an opportunity to reach a point where you can overlook the head of Burrington Combe before descending to your overnight stop in the picturesque village of Rickford. 18km (11 miles)
Day 4: Rickford - Cheddar
An ascent back onto the Mendips from Rickford and then a south easterly route provides views to the north of Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes. Turning south west the path takes in the area of Ubley Warren, a landscape of rakes (worked mineral veins) and bumpy ground, visible under a carpet of grass and scrub made by the Roman excavation of lead, and then walking through Velvet Bottom where the vegetation is so distinctive because of the high levels of lead. Then the path reaches the Black Rock Nature Reserve at the head of Cheddar Gorge. You will cross the road (which descends through the gorge) and walk up onto the cliff walk to give spectacular views over the Gorge. Check out the views from the Lookout Tower before descending to Cheddar via the 274 steps of Jacobs Ladder. Time to explore the village also famous for its show caves and of course it’s home to the cheese known throughout the world. 16km (10 miles)
Optional additional night in Cheddar with a further walk around the perimeter of the Gorge
Day 5: Cheddar - Priddy
From Cheddar the route follows the Mendip escarpment south west giving you superb views over the Somerset Levels before moving up to the village of Priddy, which lies in a small hollow at an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea-level, and has evidence of occupation since neolithic times; it is home to the Priddy Circles, a henge monument contemporary with Stonehenge, Priddy Nine Barrows and Ashen Hill, Bronze Age cemeteries, as well as the Priddy Mineries nature reserve. 16km (10 miles)
Day 6: Priddy - Wells
From Priddy the day’s walk goes through Ebbor Gorge, a small and hidden limestone gorge and down into Wookey Hole, with its caves, which are open to the public and known for its legend surrounding a witch. The route then descends to the lovely medieval city of Wells. Time to explore the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace and the rest of the City. 11km (7 miles)
Day 7: Wells - Glastonbury
Take a direct walking route to Glastonbury to Glastonbury Tor and explore the town. 18km (10 miles)
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast or additional day in Glastonbury.
For useful advice about independent walking and preparing for your self guided holiday please take a look at the articles in our top-tips section.
Once you have booked on this independent walking holiday in southern England, further information about the walking, the region and what to bring, will be sent to you. We do have a web page dedicated to what clothes and equipment you should bring. In addition, our travel shop has direct access to all the top walking and travel retailers. Please contact us if you need any further information.
Accommodation & Meals
7 nights B&B in a variety of small quality guest houses with ensuite accommodation. Mixture of bed & breakfasts and small hotels. They are located in delightful historic properties, mainly in towns, but some in rural locations. Lunches are picnic meals, which can be provided by your guest house. Evening meals are taken in your guest house or in local pubs and restaurants. There will be plenty of local specialities to try and of course the local real ales. An example of the type of guest house we use is shown below.
|The Mill House||B&B||Located in the hamlet of Rickford with its Mill Pond and brook that runs the length of the main street, The Mill House is a B&B in a 17th century Grade II listed property.|
To Get to Weston Super Mare
To Weston: Weston Super Mare lies on the mainline from Bristol to the South West. Direct trains are available from London, Birmingham, Gloucester, Cardiff, Taunton and Exeter.
It is possible to utilise long stay car parks in Weston subject to availability (cost approx £11 to £23 for a week)
The nearest airport is Bristol. It is possible to get an airport bus to Weston (A2). Service runs hourly from 7.13am until 19.47pm and journey takes about an hour. More expensive would be a taxi from the airport, about 15 miles (24km) from Weston.
National Express operate services to Weston Super Mare.
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets
Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights or trains. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.