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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Hike: Exploring Englands largest gorge in Cheddar

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

I last came to Cheddar when I was around my eldest sons age and it left its magic. I couldn't really describe to him what it looked like but I could how it felt; so I was excited to be heading back. Unfortunately the tickets I bought for the caves were refunded due to Coronavirus, so we decided to hike the 4 mile gorge walk instead and take a picnic.

The walk, as you can imagine, is strenuous in places due to the two steep climbs up either side of the gorge, but there are lots of resting points and believe me it is worth doing as the views are spectacular.

You start your ascent opposite the National Trust centre in Cheddar and climb up a steep rocky woodland trail. There is also a cave on this site that you can look at. My eldest felt like he was Indiana Jones already and loved the idea that he was actually 'rock climbing'. My three year old also tackled this rather steep hill also but we did rest a couple of times for him.

Up on the east side you can see all the Somerset levels with Glastonbury Tor and Bridgewater Bay. We stopped here for our picnic and soaked up the view. As you continue along the cliff there is a stile that takes you to a splendid viewing platform, however I only took my eldest down there as I didn't trust my three year old to keep still.

Eventually you start the descent before climbing up the west side of the gorge. You also need to cross a road. The West side of the gorge feels more exposed and shows more of the rocky pinnacles of the gorge. The view on this side also shows you Cheddar Reservoir that was hidden on the other side.

We didn't stay on this side as long as we heard thunder and it started to rain on our more gentler walk down. This is also a nature reserve so there are lots of interesting things to look out for. When you reach near the bottom there is a lookout tower, however this was shut due to Coronavirus, but Jacobs Ladder was open, so we walked down the 274 steps back into Cheddar.

As the weather was looking pretty terrible that night we decided to book a table at La Rocca in Cheddar for a bit later on but we were in need of refreshment after this hilly walk so I popped in (again!) to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company and bought some of their delicious cheese straws so we could have that with a Pint of Potholer in the pub (kids had apple juice!). After a stroll around the shops we go to the Italian La Rocca for tea, which bowled my husband over, saying its the nicest Italian food he's had outside of Italy, the kids loved their spaghetti as well.

I loved Cheddar so much we came here after we packed up from the campsite in the Mendips and stopped for a cream tea lunch before heading Cornwall. We went to the very quaint Lionrock Tea Rooms and their scones I think were the best I ever had, light and fluffy with a tinge of vanilla. We all had a cream tea and my youngest was in cake heaven.

For the best scones I have ever eaten visit:

The start of our walk in Cheddar
Limstone walls in Cheddar
The river running through Cheddar Gorge
Walking through the woods to the top of Cheddar Gorge
Limestone cave in the woods in Cheddar
Reaching the top of Cheddar Gorge
Father and sons looking at the view from Cheddar Gorge
Boy looking down into Cheddar Gorge
Boy at the top of Cheddar Gorge standing next to a tree
Cheddar Gorge view
Cheddar Gorge view
Cheddar Gorge view
Cheddar Gorge view
Walking up to the second part of Cheddar Gorge
The view of Cheddar Reservoir from the top of Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge View
The river in Cheddar Gorge
Cream tea in Cheddar

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