Mendip Hills Walks
Explore these magnificent limestone hills in Somerset and enjoy fabulous views, fascinating geological features and interesting historical sights.
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Mendip Hills Walk Map
|Blagdon Lake||1 miles (1.5 km)||Along the northern end of this large lake you'll find a lovely footpath running along the lake shore and through the lakeside woodland. On open days you can also visit the Discovery Wood where you can see roe deer, badgers, foxes and otters. There are nesting boxes for owls, tits and kestrels too. On the nature trail there are wildflower meadows with Green winged orchid, knapweeds, white ox-eye daisies and pink devils bit. |
There's also the Blagdon Pumping Station and Visitor Centre with science and environment exhibits, a picnic area and views of the impressive dam.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head to the nearby Chew Valley Lake for more waterside trails. The Two Rivers Way walking route runs just past the lake so you could also pick this up.
|Bleadon Hill||2 miles (3.5 km)||Enjoy great views to the Somerset Levels and coast on this climb to Bleadon Hill. As well as the views there's lots of flora and fauna to enjoy. Look out for plants including wild thyme, common spotted orchid, pyramidal orchid and bee orchid. You may also see Buzzards flying overhead.|
The hill is located just to the south east of Weston-Super-Mare. There is roadside parking on the Roman Road running across the hill. From here you can follow country lanes to Upper Canada before picking up footpaths to take you across the woodland on Hutton Hill. You then follow the West Mendip Way along the Roman Road to take you back to the car park. The walk can be extended by heading south towards the village of Loxton. You can follow the West Mendip Way past Loxton Hill and Loxton Wood to the village. Here you will find the Parish Church of St Andrew which dates from the 11th century.
You could also head to the larger village of Bleadon just to the south west of the hill. Here you will find the Grade I listed Church of St Peter and St Paul which dates from the 14th century. There are also good options for taking on refreshments after your walk.
If you'd like to further extend your walk then head west to the coast and explore the wonderful Brean Down where there are splendid views of the Bristol Channel, south Wales and Weston Super Mare.
If you head south east along the trail you can visit the nearby Crook Peak and Wavering Down for more great hill top walking.
|Brean Down||2 miles (4 km)||Explore this beautiful natural pier and enjoy wonderful coastal views on this walk on the Somerset coast. The promontory stands at 318 feet (97 m) high and is a continuation of the Mendip Hills. As such there is some climbing involved but you are rewarded with wonderful views of the Bristol Channel, south Wales and Weston Super Mare. At the seaward end you will find Brean Down Fort which was built in 1865 and then re-armed in the Second World War. |
The area is a nature reserve and has an abundance of interesting flora and fauna. Look out for birds including peregrine falcon, dunnock and kestrel. Butterfly species include chalkhill blue, dark green fritillary, meadow brown and marbled white. In the summer months there are lots of pretty wildflowers and plants including Somerset hair grass, wild thyme, horseshoe vetch and birds-foot-trefoil.
This circular walk starts at the car park and takes you to the fort, Howe Rock and Sprat Beach at the end of the promontory. You return on an alternative path. There is a cafe at car park where you can enjoy refreshments after your walk.
If you'd like to cycle to the reserve then you could follow National Cycle Network route 33 from Burnham-on-Sea or Weston-super-Mare.
The West Mendip Way starts from Uphill next to the down. You could pick this up and head to the nearby Bleadon Hill to extend your walk.
|Burrington Combe||2 miles (3 km)||Explore this fascinating carboniferous limestone gorge on this walk in the Mendip Hills AONB. The site is geologically significant with numerous caves, cliffs and interesting rock formations. There is also an Iron Age univallate hill fort known as Burrington Camp and a variety of plants to look out for including Rock-rose, Wild Thyme and Wood Sage. |
You can start your walk at the car park next to the Rock of Ages on the eastern side of the Coombe. You then climb east across the site reaching a height of nearly 700ft. From the high points there are magnificent views over the Mendips.
The area is also popular with mountain bikers with some good trails up to Beacon Batch.
To extend your walk you can head west to Mendip Lodge Wood and Dolebury Warren on the Limestone Link. It's a lovely area with an Iron Age hill fort, wildflowers, butterflies and splendid views across North Somerset and the Mendips.
Just to the south west you will find miles of woodland trails in Rowberrow Warren Wood. This is another good place for mountain bikers. The West Mendip Way also runs through the southern section of the wood so you can pick this up and head to Shipham.
You could also visit the nearby Blagdon Lake where there is a nice waterside footpath at the northern end of the water.
|Cheddar Gorge||4 miles (6 km)||This is a circular walk around the magnificent Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. It is England's largest gorge at 400 feet deep and three miles long and one of the most magnificent natural visitor attractions in the country. It was formed during the last Ice Age when water from melting glaciers formed a river, which gradually carved into the limestone rock creating the spectacular steep cliffs you can see today.|
This walk is the popular 4 mile circular route around the gorge. It begins at the National Trust shop and information centre where you can pick up more details on this walk which includes some steep climbs, rugged paths and easier woodland sections. Please keep to the signed footpaths as it is dangerous to depart from these.
Widlife on the route includes Peregrine falcons and Buzzards which nest in the gorge. Also look out for the rare feral Soay sheep, feral goats and ponies.
If you would like to continue your walk you could pick up the West Mendip Way walking route which runs past the gorge. Cyclists can reach the gorge on the Strawberry Line cycle route. Cheddar Reservoir is also nearby with an easy footpath running around the water.
Just beyond the reservoir is the town of Axbridge where you can enjoy a climb across Wavering Down on the West Mendip Way and visit the beautiful Crook Peak. From here you can enjoy wonderful views towards the coast and into Wales.
|Chew Valley Lake||1 miles (1.2 km)||This walk follows the delightful nature trail which runs along the eastern side of this large lake in Chew Stoke. The trail is well surfaced and offers great views across the lake towards Denny Island, a nesting site for Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck and Canada Geese. You will also pass the reed beds where you can look out for Reed Bunting and in the summer, enjoy the purple flowers of March Woundwort. |
The trail includes an area of woodland with Sweet Chestnut, Beech and Sycamore trees. Look out for Coal Tits, Chaffinches and the brown Tree Creeper in this area. There's also a pond, a wildflower meadow and wonderful views across the lake towards the Mendip Hills. After your walk you can enjoy refreshments in the lakeside cafe.
The lake is located just south of Chew Magna and has a car park at the start of this route. The Two Rivers Way walking route runs past the lake so you could pick this up to extend your walk. You can also pick up the Three Peaks Walk on the eastern side of the water at Hollow Brook. This lovely long distance trail will take you further into the Chew Valley where you could visit High Littleton and Greyfield Woods.
|Cranmore Tower||1 miles (1.5 km)||Visit the highest point on the Mendip Hills and enjoy a stroll through Cranmore Wood on this circular walk in Somerset. The tower is 45 metres (148 ft) tall and dates from the 19th century. You can climb to a viewing platform where you can enjoy views over the Mendip Hills. The surrounding woods have some nice footpaths with beech trees and bluebells in the spring. Look out for badgers, rabbits and deer in this area. The tower has a tea room attached to it for refreshments after your walk.|
You can park at the tower and explore the hill top from there. Alternatively you could follow the East Mendip Way from nearby Shepton Mallet to reach the tower. It's about a three mile walk through Chelynch and Waterlip.
To extend your walk from the tower you can pick up the East Mendip Way long distance path which crosses the hill. You could head west towards Shepton Mallet and visit the Charlton Viaduct and enjoy a walk along the River Sheppey to Kilver Court Gardens. Head east and you can visit Asham Wood.
|Crook Peak||6 miles (9 km)||Climb to Crook Peak from the village of Compton Bishop on this fine walk in the Mendip Hills. The hill and the adjacent Wavering Down are a splendid place for a walk with wonderful views over the countryside to the coast. The route uses part of the West Mendip Way to take you across the downs where you will reach a height of nearly 700ft. On a clear day you can see all the way to Brean Down and Porthkerry on the Welsh coast.|
The area is a designated geological and biological Site of Special Scientific Interest run by the National Trust. It consists of a variety of interesting flora including ancient woodland, calcareous grassland and the pretty Cheddar Pink flower.
You can start the walk from the village of Compton Bishop which is only about a mile from Crook Peak. After visiting the peak you head east across Wavering Down passing Compton Hill on the way. At King's Wood you turn south and descend to the village of Cross on some nice woodland trails. At Cross, you turn west and follow footpaths back to Compton Bishop.
You can also start the walk from the car park at King's Wood. It's located off Winscombe Hill Road at the eastern side of Wavering Down.
The eastern end of the walk also comes close to Axbridge where you can visit Cheddar Reservoir and the spectacular Cheddar Gorge. These are both good options if you wish to extend your walk.
|Dolebury Warren||2 miles (4 km)||This National Trust owned limestone ridge has some nice footpaths to try. There's an Iron Age hill fort, wildflowers, butterflies and splendid views across North Somerset, the Bristol Channel and the Mendips.|
The site includes an extensive hill fort covering 22 acres and commanding fantastic views of the area. It's surrounded by lots of interesting plants of flowers including bell heather, small scabious, early purple orchid and eyebright flower. These attract a wide variety of butterflies in the summer months. Look out for small blues and marbled whites.
The route makes use of the Limestone Link which runs through the site. You can follow it east to Burrington Combe to extend your walk. The limestone gorge consists of numerous caves, cliffs and interesting rock formations.
Just to the south you will find Rowberrow Warren with miles of mountain bike trails and woodland walks.
|Draycott Sleights||5 miles (7.5 km)||Enjoy a large variety of flora and fauna in this delightful nature reserve in Somerset. The reserve has some nice footpaths with great views over the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels. |
The expansive area of limestone downloand is great for wildlife spotting. Look out for chalkhill blue butterflies, brown hares and birds including skylark and meadow pipit. It's very beautiful in the summer months with wildflowers including bee orchids and horseshoe vetch to enjoy.
You can start your walk from the village of Draycott just south of Cheddar. Follow the waymarked West Mendip way up into the reserve which reaches a height of 270 m (890 ft). From these high points there are wide ranging views over the surrounding countryside.
The West Mendip Way crosses the reserve so you can pick this up to extend your walking in the area. The Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserve is just to the south while heading north will take you to the wonderful Cheddar Gorge.
Also nearby is the lovely limestone nature reserve at Ebbor Gorge.
|East Mendip Way||19 miles (30 km)||This walk takes you through the beautiful Somerset countryside from Wells to Frome along the eastern section of the Mendip Way.|
You start in the city of Wells near the magnificent cathedral and pass around the moat of the splendid Bishop's Palace. The path then heads towards Shepton Mallet passing through several wooded sections including the National Trust owned woods at Tor Hill, King's Castle Woods and finally Ham Woods.
From Shepton Mallet you continue to the hamlet of Chelynch. On this section you'll pass the Charlton Viaduct and Kilver Court where there are some splendid gardens with hostas, day lilies and candelabra primula next to the River Sheppey.
The route continues to with a climb of 280 metres (919 ft) taking you to the grade II listed Cranmore Tower which is the highest point on the trail.
The final stretch takes you through the delightful Asham Wood and onto the village of Great Elm before leading into Frome where the path terminates.
|Ebbor Gorge||2 miles (2.5 km)||This limestone gorge near Wookey Hole has some good walking trails to try. In the gorge you will find waymarked woodland trails and a variety of interesting plants and flowers. There's also pretty streams and lots of interesting rock formations. There is some climbing involved with some of the paths reaching a height of over 700ft. From these high points at the top of the gorge there are great views towards Glastonbury and the Somerset Levels.|
The area is also a designated nature reserve so look out for wildlife including red deer and birds of prey. The site also attracts a large variety of butterflies including white-letter hairstreak, high brown fritillary and chalkhill blue. Flora includes bluebells, wood anemone, ancient woodland and various fungi and ferns.
There is a good sized car park just off the Deerleap Road where you can start your walk. You could also follow the West Mendip Way from the nearby town of Wells to the site. It's about a two mile walk, passing Wookey Hole on the way.
The West Mendip Way passes through the area so you could pick this up to extend your walk. Heading north will take you to the village of Priddy through the countryside. A couple of miles beyond Priddy you will find Rodney Stoke and Draycott Sleights Nature Reserves where there are nice footpaths and lots of flora and fauna to look out for.
|Rowberrow Warren||3 miles (5.5 km)||Enjoy miles of mountain bike trails and walking trails in these woods near Cheddar. You can start from the village of Rowberrow, just north of Shipham. Just head east from the village and you can pick up the bridleways and tracks through the woods. It's an attractive area with shady clearings, streams and interesting flora and fauna to look out for.|
The woods are crossed by two long distance footpaths. In the northern end of the woods you can pick up the Limestone Link and follow it to Dolebury Warren and Burrington Combe, where there are more good mtb trails. The West Mendip Way passes along the southern end. You can pick this up to head to Shipham.
|Samaritans Way South West||103 miles (166 km)||Starting at Bristol follow the Samaritans Way to Lynton, in Devon, and visit the Avon Gorge, the Chew Valley, the Cheddar Gorge, the Mendips, the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor.|
|Shepton Mallet||5 miles (8 km)||Visit the Charlton viaduct and the village of Doulting on this circular walk in the Somerset town of Shepton Mallet.|
Just to the north of the town you can pick up the East Mendip Way on Barren Down. Then follow the path east to the Charlton Viaduct. This section passes close to Kilver Court where there are some splendid gardens with hostas, day lilies and candelabra primula next to the River Sheppey.
From the viaduct the route climbs towards Ingsdons Hill which reaches a height of over 700ft. You then descend to Chelynch passing Pitts Wood on the way. From here you turn south to the little village of Doulting. The spring in Doulton is the source of the River Sheppey and named after St Aldhelm who died in the village in 709. The village also includes a tithe barn which dates from the 15th century.
The final section of the walk follows a public footpath along the River Sheppey, returning you to the viaduct.
To extend your walk you could continue east along the East Mendip Way towards Downhead, Cranmore Tower and Asham Wood. Heading west will take you towards Croscombe.
|Three Peaks Walk||17 miles (27 km)||This is a fairly hilly circular route taking you through some of the most peaceful and attractive countryside in Somerset.
The walk starts and finishes in the pretty village of Chew Magna and follows the path to Pensford and then back via Clutton.
You will climb Knowle Hill, Maes Knoll, and Blackberry Hill (three peaks) while enjoying excellent views of the Mendip hills and surrounding countryside.
|Two Rivers Way||20 miles (32 km)||Starting on Congresbury Bridge over the River Yeo follow the Two Rivers Way through Somerset to Keynsham on the River Avon. The walk passes through Chew Stoke, Chew Magna, Compton Dando and Pensford with sections along the River Yeo and River Chew to enjoy. |
Other highlights on the route include the Stanton Drew Stones which include the Great Circle - the second largest stone circle in Britain (after Avebury). You'll also pass the lovely Chew Valley Lake which has delightful nature trails and a variety of wildlife.
|West Mendip Way||30 miles (48 km)||This splendid walk takes you through the beautiful Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Wells to Uphill.|
You start in Wells by the impressive cathedral and head west towards Cheddar passing the show caves and paper mill at Wookey Hole and the wonderful limestone nature reserve at Ebbor Gorge. The route continues through Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserve and Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve before coming to the spectacular Cheddar Gorge, voted the second greatest natural wonder in Britain.
The next stage takes you through the lovely countryside at Compton Bishop before climbing across Wavering Down to Crook Peak where there are splendid views towards the coast. The final section sees you cross Bleadon Hill and finish by the wharf at Uphill on Weston Bay.