5 of the best Mendip Hills walks

Mendip Hills. Picture: Simon Williams

Mendip Hills. Picture: Simon Williams - Credit: Archant

If you fancy a leisurely stroll or challenging terrain, Somerset has breath-taking scenery to accompany any ramble. Here are five of our favourite walking routes in the area.  

CHEDDAR GORGE 

Cheddar Gorge.

Cheddar Gorge. - Credit: Archant

DISTANCE: Five miles. 

HOW TO GET THERE: From Weston, follow the A371 and follow signs to Cheddar. 

PARKING: Pay and display car parks are on both sides of the gorge. 


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DIRECTIONS: An oak fingerpost, at the junction of the B3135 Gorge Road and Cufic Lane, will help people find the Cufic Lane track, which is opposite the National Trust Information Centre in Cheddar Gorge. A National Trust sign and a gate leading up a steep path is a short way up the path.  

Cheddar Gorge is England’s largest and is one of the region’s most spectacular natural sites. It is a moderate five-mile route along paths that has rough walking in sections and some steep climbs. 

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CHEW VALLEY LAKE & KNOWLE HILL 

The village of Moreton lies submerged under Chew Valley lake. Photo by Neil Owen

The village of Moreton lies submerged under Chew Valley lake. Photo by Neil Owen - Credit: see main story

DISTANCE: Two-and-a-quarter miles or one-and-a half-miles for the short option. 

HOW TO GET THERE: From Weston, travel towards Banwell onto the A368 and follow signs for Chew Stoke. 

PARKING: To find the Chew Valley Lake car parks, follow signs for Chew Stoke and park in Walley Lane.  

DIRECTIONS: From the car park in Walley Lane, head to the far corner and take the signed footpath. 

Chew Valley Lake is home to a large population of waterfowl and is also a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. People can enjoy far-reaching views across the Chew Valley to the Mendip Hills and Dundry Ridge after a short walk to the top of Knowle Hill. 

DRAYCOTT SLEIGHTS 

Draycott Sleights

Draycott Sleights. - Credit: Google Street View

DISTANCE: Three miles. 

HOW TO GET THERE: From Weston, follow the A371 through Cheddar towards the village of Draycott. 

DIRECTIONS: From Draycott village centre at the bus stop, opposite the former Red Lion pub, follow the footpath adjacent to the road towards Cheddar. Follow the path past a garage on the right-hand side, and shortly after this turn into New Road, then follow the lane towards the footpath leading to Draycott Sleights on the left-hand side.

Draycott Sleights is a moderate walk with sloping grassland and limestone cliffs, which is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Sleights are also home to many birds including buzzards, kestrels and peregrine falcons. 

BLACK DOWN 

Walkers enjoy a special World War II hike at Black Down, in the Mendip hills.

Walkers enjoy a special World War II hike at Black Down, in the Mendip hills. - Credit: Archant

DISTANCE: Five miles. 

HOW TO GET THERE: Charterhouse is signposted off the B3134, which spans Burrington to Wraxhall. Blackmoor Reserve is signposted from the Charterhouse crossroads. 
  
PARKING: Take the B3134 up through Burrington Combe and turn right at Paywell Farm. At the next crossroads, turn left and drive down to the Blackmoor Reserve car park. 

DIRECTIONS: From the car park, walk up to the crossroads by Charterhouse Outdoor Activity Centre. Turn right, walk north up the lane and take the next left turn up Rains Batch.  
Black Down is the highest hill in the Mendip Hills and Beacon Batch is the summit point. The route includes a moderate climb and there are striking views over the countryside below, including Blagdon and Chew Valley lakes.  

BLAGDON AND BURRINGTON HAM 

Wild horses on Burrington Ham.

Wild horses on Burrington Ham. - Credit: Martin Allen

DISTANCE: Three-and-a-half miles. 

HOW TO GET THERE: From Weston, travel towards Banwell onto the A368 and follow signs for Blagdon.  
 
PARKING: The free car park is signposted from the A368 in the centre of Blagdon. 

DIRECTIONS: Leave the car park through the small wooden gate and head towards Post Office Lane, which becomes a stone track. Turn left off the track, through a metal kissing gate and onto a public footpath. 

Burrington Ham is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with panoramic views of Blagdon Lake, Black Down and the Bristol Channel. There are some moderate climbs and uneven ground. 

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