Discover the Wild Beauty of the Mendip Hills

Gosswood Park - Places to go - Mendip Hills

Nestled in the heart of Somerset and within easy reach of Gosswood Park Campsite, the Mendip Hills hold the allure of adventure. This magnificent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) stretches in an elegant east-west curve, rising as an island of ancient landscapes above the lush Somerset Levels. Ruggedly captivating and overflowing with diverse scenery, the hills are a true playground for hikers, nature lovers, and those seeking escape.

Uncover Landscapes Steeped in Time

As you gaze out across the Mendip Hills, know that their story began as far back as prehistoric times. Explore mysterious Neolithic burial mounds or traverse the grassy banks of Iron Age hill forts, standing testament to the land’s rich history. Imagine a vibrant Roman civilization that flourished here, evidenced by villa remains and abandoned mining settlements. More recent chapters involve tales of highwaymen, whose hideaways were rumored to be tucked among the hills’ hidden caves and rocky ravines.

Lace Up and Journey to Scenic Heights

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a happy wanderer in search of fresh air and views, the Mendip Hills offer trails for every ambition. Hike along the Mendip Way, a national long-distance path slicing through iconic sites. Scramble to the peak of Crook Peak, reveling in the exhilaration and rewarding yourself with expansive vistas stretching to the Welsh coast on a clear day. Challenge yourself with the dramatic steepness of Cheddar Gorge or descend into Ebbor Gorge’s serene wooded valley with its tumbling waterfalls.

Seek Adventure in a Subterranean Wonderland

Beneath the surface lies a different kind of magic. Venture into the world-renowned Wookey Hole Caves, their chambers filled with myths and impressive stalactite formations. Or explore the atmospheric depths of Gough’s or Cox’s caves near Cheddar, with their underground riverways and otherworldly rock formations – it’s a reminder of the powerful forces that shaped these landscapes.

Unwind Amidst a Vibrant Natural Tapestry

The Mendip Hills are a true treasure trove for nature lovers. In spring, ancient woodlands erupt in vibrant bluebell carpets, and wildflower meadows buzz with insects. Spot birds of prey circling high above exposed hilltops, while deer and a wealth of smaller mammals inhabit the forests. Rare wild orchids add a touch of the delicate to rocky paths. Be sure to explore the area’s stunning nature reserves, such as Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Stockhill Woods, home to a rich variety of fauna and flora.

From Peaceful Hamlets to Bustling Markets

While the hills offer the allure of wilderness, you’ll never be far from civilization. Picturesque villages nestled in valleys provide a touch of rural charm, offering welcoming cafés and inviting country inns. Venture out to discover vibrant local markets bustling with fresh produce in bustling towns like Wells and Shepton Mallet, a perfect way to taste the flavors of Somerset.

More Than Just Walking

While hiking is a primary draw to the Mendip Hills, adventure comes in many forms. Discover excellent rock-climbing sites and exhilarating mountain biking trails for adrenaline-seekers. Horse riders will find picturesque routes weaving through meadows and woodland paths. Stargazers will be wowed by low levels of light pollution, resulting in spectacular views of the night sky. There are hidden reservoirs nestled amidst the hills, where a spot of kayaking or wild swimming becomes an energizing summer excursion.