Rolling hills, the drama of Cheddar gorge, and a relaxing weekend in cider country
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty Level2 Two
Carved into the Mendip Hills of Somerset lies one of the most famous natural landscape features in Britain, an ideal site for a sociable weekend away. Cheddar Gorge is spectacular, gouged into the hills and surrounded by rolling pasture and woodland. Views from the top reach out over the expanse of the Somerset Levels and away to the Severn Estuary.
Join us for a relaxing walking weekend based around this beautiful part of Somerset, where we’ll be staying in Cheddar itself in a cosy hostel before heading out to discover the area. The famous gorge itself is just the climax of the natural and ancient wonders of the area, all of which you get to experience with a friendly group and an experienced leader.
In a nutshell:
- Explore the Mendip Hills and Cheddar Gorge on two guided walks with an experienced leader.
- Relax in the hostel in the evening, enjoying this stunning part of the countryside, while we prepare the food.
- Meet a frienly group of fellow walkers who all want a relaxing weekend away from the rush of daily life.
- Look out for the rare wildlife of the Mendips, see the ancient sites here that date back thousands of years, and imagine the cataclysm that created Cheddar gorge.
You’re welcome to arrive at the hostel from 5pm, where your Large Outdoors host will be there to welcome you and get you settled in. We’ll be serving dinner at 8pm, so until then you can relax in the lounge with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The weekend has begun!
After dinner we’ll go over the plans for the next day and update you on the weather forecast. Perhaps this evening is a good chance to check out a local pub!
After breakfast its time to make packed lunches using our great selection of ingredients, we’ll head out on our day walks. Usually, we try to split the group in two and offer a longer and a shorter walk. If this isn’t possible, we’ll go for something in-between so everyone can enjoy themselves.
Possible routes we’ll consider are:
Cheddar Gorge via Black Down – A large circular route that takes in the best sites of the immediate area, including Black Down, Cheddar Wood and of course Cheddar Gorge, which we approach from the top and finish by walking down to Cheddar above it. There are a few ups and downs but mostly this is a steady walk, taking all day.
Cheddar Gorge Circuit – A short walk, including the necessary steep section to get up into the hills from Cheddar, but as the walk is a short one we can really take our time. The views will be breathtaking and we’ll finish by wandering down the top of Cheddar Gorge in enough time to visit a tea room at the end!
Once we’re all back at the hostel on Saturday, you’ll have plenty of time to freshen up, have a drink or two and relive the best stories from the day. Then perhaps it’s time for a local cider to truly get into the weekend feeling! The evening meal will be served at around 7.30pm.
After breakfast it’s time to pack up and leave the hostel. We’ll be heading out for a gentle Sunday walk during the morning, which we aim to last around 3 hours before taking you somewhere you can get some lunch before the weekend comes to an end. You’ll be heading home with a new appreciation for the fantastic walking that can be had in this corner of the country!
Something we might consider is:
Ebbor Gorge – Further east along the Mendips lies the wooded nature reserve of Ebbor Gorge, which we can walk up before exploring the hills, with their huge number of ancient tumuli and other sites, all dating back thousands of years. The walk through the gorge will be uphill, but then the tops of the hills are extremely level. The views are worth the climb!
Wookey Hole – If you don’t fancy a walk, or you’d prefer to see the famous local caves, you can always head to the nearby Wookey Hole. A brilliant selection of show-caves and other sites, you can spend as long as you want here, and either keep looking round the caves or join us for lunch.
About the Area
The Mendip Hills
A range of hills running east-west across north Somerset, the Mendips have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty due to their unique wildlife and geology. Made up of limestone, they contain impressive cave systems including at Wookey Hole and in Cheddar Gorge, and host special ecosystems. You’ll find peregrine falcons, rare butterflies, and a plethora of other wildlife in the woodlands and grassy hilltops. One of the caves was the site where the oldest complete human skeleton was found, dating back 9000 years, and since then there has been evidence of constant use, including in the Iron Age and by the Romans. The hills give excellent views north to Bristol and Bath, south to the Somerset Levels and west to the Severn Estuary. They are a popular location for walkers, hosting two long-distance trails as well as numerous other footpaths. Cheddar Gorge itself is a famous spot for rock climbing.
We have exclusively hired Cheddar YHA for this weekend.
Although this weekend is based at Cheddar YHA, we do have a limited number of guest house rooms available. The guest house we use is next door and offers a single room and two doubles. This is offered on a single sex shared room basis. All bedding is provided but you will need to bring your own towel.
What our members have to say...
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018