While the rest of the family visits Longleat and Wookey Hole on half-day trip from our accommodation near Salisbury, I’m doing the short Cheddar Gorge Walk. With a depth of 122m (just under 400ft) and a length of 4.8km (3 miles), Cheddar Gorge is England’s largest gorge. From the Cheddar Gorge and Caves Explorer Ticket Office, a long and steep set of steps – Jacobs Ladder – leads to the top of the gorge. At the top is Pavey’s Lookout Tower, which provides expansive views of the Mendip Hills and the water meadows of the Somerset Levels. Although being a fairly overcast day, I couldn’t see much beyond the town of Cheddar and the Cheddar Reservoir.
Cheddar Gorge is surrounded by Cheddar Woods, which is home to Soay sheep, the endangered Horseshoe bat, many species of bords including peregrine falcons – and a herd of free-roaming feral goats.
The Cheddar Gorge Walk continues to ascend along the top of the gorge, with views across to the other side.
Further along the gorge, at the Castle Rock viewpoint, is another stunning view almost straight down of Cliff Road, which winds throug the bottom of the gorge.
The bushwalking path continues along the top of the gorge, continue to ascent with changing views over the sheer cliffs and back towards Cheddar to the west.
The southern side of Cheddar Gorge has the most impressive views; you can return the same way, or descend to Cliff Road at the eastern end of the gorge. Cross the road to return via the northern side of Cheddar Gorge.
Best time to visit Cheddar Gorge
Summer is the best time to visit Cheddar Gorge… but it’s also the busiest time, especially on weekends. If you’ve got some flexibility, pick a nice day in autumn or spring when there will be a lot less people!
Accommodation near Cheddar Gorge
I visited Cheddar Gorge from our accommodation near Salisbury, which is about 1:30min away by car. There is lots of cottage accommodation in and around Cheddar, which borders the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
More information on Cheddar Gorge Walk
- Natural Trust – Cheddar Gorge Walk