SOMERSET

INDEPENDENT WALKING HOLIDAY

 

West Mendip Explorer: Somerset Heights to Somerset Levels

level 2 walking holiday Dorset UK

7 nights - £535 - 6 days walking between guest houses (additional nights available)

This self guided walking holiday begins in the seaside town of Weston Super Mare following the West Mendip Way, but detours from this path so that you can explore the best of this beautiful and varied landscape in north Somerset. This includes the gorges of Cheddar and Burrington, the beautiful medieval city of Wells with its magnificent cathedral and moated Bishop's Palace as well as the iconic Glastonbury Tor which rises above the Somerset Levels.

Wells Cathedral

Somerset

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Somerset is a rural county of contrasting landscapes. As well as having a coastline it also has rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park as well as large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels.

The Somerset Levels are a coastal plain and wetland area running south from the Mendips to the Blackdown Hills. The Somerset Levels consist of marine clay "levels" along the coast and inland peat-based "moors"; agriculturally, about 70% is used as grassland and the rest is arable. Willow and teazel are grown commercially and peat is extracted. People have been draining the area since before the Domesday Book. In the Middle Ages, the monasteries of Glastonbury, Athelney and Muchelney were responsible for much of the drainage. It is a mainly agricultural region, typically with open fields of permanent grass surrounded by ditches with willow trees. Access to individual areas, especially for cattle, was provided by means of droves, leading off the public highways. Some of the old roads are causeways raised above the level of the surrounding land, with a drainage ditch running along each side.

The Mendip Hills (commonly called the Mendips) are a range of limestone hills running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Chew Valley to the north.

Our 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.

 

 

 

vicars close wells

bishops palace moat wells

west mendip way

rickford chap and weir somerset

wavering down somerset

orchids on dolebury warren

See our other walking holiday destinations in England