range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England

The Mendips are a range of hills in northern Somerset in the south-west of the United Kingdom. The area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Understand Edit

Compton Bishop: church and village in the Mendip Hills

The Mendips are carboniferous limestone hills, situated a few miles south of Bristol, just north of the Somerset Levels. There have been quarries and mining here from early times, all mining has now ceased. Caving, climbing and hiking are popular outdoor activities.

The caves at Cheddar contain traces of Palaeolithic man. Lead, copper, silver were mined from the Bronze Age, through Roman times up until the nineteenth century.

The tops of the Mendips consist mostly of grassland, grazed by sheep and there is a wide variety of plant and animal life for those interested in natural history.

Destinations Edit

  • Priddy
  • Charterhouse
  • Cheddar and its gorge.
  • Wookey Hole
  • East Harptree
  • Wells the small city with a big cathedral as the southern-most point of the Mendips

Get in Edit

By plane Edit

Bristol International airport is well served from most of Europe and is a few miles north.

By train Edit

The nearest railway stations are at Bath, Bristol, Weston super Mare and Frome.

By bus Edit

  • First Bus[dead link] operate services in the area.

Road Edit

Fairly easily accessible from the M5 motorway, Bristol, Bath, Wells, Weston super Mare.

Walking Edit

Many of the more interesting destinations are only accessible on foot. Walking guides are available from the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty service.

Get around Edit

Map of Mendips

The Chew Valley Explorer bus serves many of the local villages. Some other bus services are provided by First Bus as above. Otherwise you need to walk or use a car.

See Edit

Stalagmites and Stalactites - Gough's cave, Cheddar. Extensive limestone cave systems formed by the action of water. Gwen and James Anderson, 2006
  • Blackmoor Reserve
  • Black Rock Reserve
  • Bleadon Hill

1 Burrington Combe. limestone gorge.    

  • Charterhouse

2 Cheddar Gorge. The largest Gorge in Britain.    

  • Cheddar Caves
  • Chew Valley Lake

3 Crook Peak (186 m (610 ft)).    

4 Dolebury Hill Fort.    

5 Ebbor Gorge.    

  • Priddy Green
  • Stockhill and Priddy Mineries Reserve

6 Wookey Hole.    

Do Edit

Outdoor pursuits Edit

1 Charterhouse Centre, Charterhouse-on-Mendip, Blagdon, Bristol, +44 1761 462267, . Offers climbing, abseiling, caving, mountain biking, accommodation and campsite.

Caving Edit

2 Wessex Cave Club, Upper Pitts, Eastwater Lane, Priddy, BA5 3AX, +44 1749 672310. Local caving club, with a club cottage that can accommodate groups up to 15.

Events Edit

  • Priddy Folk Festival, The Green, Priddy, +44 1749 674080. 3-day folk music festival in July annually, with craft fair, club tent, camp site, dance events. £47 with camping, children under 10 free.

Eat Edit

Many of the pubs serve good food, there are cafes and restaurants in Cheddar and Wells.

Drink Edit

Most villages have pubs amongst which are:

1 Hunters Lodge Inn, , Wells Road,Priddy, BA5 3AR,, +44 1749 672275. Real ale, pub grub, traditional style, open fires. Popular with cavers.

2 The Queen Victoria Inn, Pelting Drove, Priddy, BA5 3BB. Real ales, cider, pub grub, folk evenings.  

  • New Inn, The Green, Priddy. Real ales, pub grub, bed and breakfast accommodation.

3 Druids Arms, Bromley Road, Stanton Drew, BS39 4EJ, +44 1275 332230. 11:30AM-11PM. Real ale, beer garden, food, handy for Stanton Drew stone circle and Chew Valley Lake.

4 The Crown Inn, 1 The Street, West Harptree, BS40 6HA, +44 1761 221432. Good beer and cider and homecooked food. In the heart of Chew Valley at the foot of the Mendips.

Sleep Edit

There are a number of guest houses, also some self-catering accommodation, camping and caravan sites and a few independent hotels. Full lists available from Somerset County Tourist Information [1][dead link]

1 Burcott Mill, Wells Road, Wookey, Wells BA5 1NJ, +44 1749 673118. Bed and Breakfast adjacent to a working water-powered flour mill. from £30 adult sharing double.

2 The Penscot Inn, The Square, Shipham, BS25 1BW, +44 1934 842659. Twelve en suite rooms, 3-star rated. Restaurant and bar. £76 double.

3 Home Farm Cottages, Home Farm, Barton Rd, Winscombe BS25 1DX, +44 1934 842078, . Self-catering accommodation Set in 2 acres of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Barton, near Cheddar. £240-775 seasonal rates per week.

4 Carpenters Arms, Wick Lane, Stanton Wick, Pensford BS39 4BX, +44 1761 490202. Charming village pub with rooms, a knock-through of miners' cottages. Handy for Bristol Airport. B&B double from £110.

5 Self Catering Somerset (Spindle Cottage), Tuners Court Ln, Binegar Green, Radstock, BA3 4UE (15 miles south of Bath and 5 miles north of Wells. 1/2 mile from the B3139 Wells/Bath road and 1 mile from the A37 at Gurney Slade on the Bristol/Shepton Mallet road), +44 1749 840497. Self-catering Somerset holiday accommodation. Spindle cottage is a 17th-century cottage high on the Mendip hills. Set in a garden complete with summerhouse, gazebo and a conservatory. Step inside the cottage and you find a world of make believe with carvings of mushrooms, spiders web, birds and mice in oak beams and stone work.

  • Broadway House Holiday Park, Cheddar (18 miles south of Bristol on the A371, midway between Cheddar and Axbridge), +44 1934 742610, fax: +44 1934 744950, . Touring caravans, camping, some lodges, swimming pool in summer, children's play area, convenience shop, restaurant and bar.
  • Anela B&B, Lower North Street, Cheddar, +44 1934 743806. A friendly B&B located in the very centre of Cheddar village - convenient for all facilities and just a short, level walk from the Gorge.

Stay safe Edit

Outdoor activities such as climbing, caving and abseiling should only be undertaken with suitably qualified groups. The hills contain many old mine workings and even undiscovered pot-holes, so walkers should be well equipped and use good maps.

Go next Edit

Other local attractions near the Mendips are:

Routes through Mendips
Bridgwater  SW   NE  Bristol
GlastonburyWells  SW   NE  Bath

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