by Justine King
The Mendips are one of the most special places in England. What better way to explore Somerset than via these walks in the Mendips!
Offering a stunning landscape of steep slopes and undulating plateaus, punctuated by jaw-dropping gorges, rocky outcrops, and glistening lakes.
Recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of Mendip walks worth exploring.
From exploring the famous Cheddar Gorge to hiking around Blagdon Lake, here are our favourite walks in the Mendips…
Looking for something specific? Use our quick links below or read on for our comprehensive guide.
Easy Walks in the Mendips
Moderate Mendip Walks
Hard Walks in the Mendips
Mendip Hills Circular Walks
Holiday Homes Near the Mendips
These three easy walks in the Mendips are perfect for even the littlest of feet. Whether you have small children or dogs in tow, these walks offer amazing views.
Ranging between one and four kilometres you can choose the length of walk that will suit your group.
Elevation Gain: 147m
Generally considered an easy walk, this out-and-back route from Wookey Hole to Ebbor Gorge is popular with birdwatchers, hikers, and mountain bikers. Gaze out over the Somerset Levels to Glastonbury Tor and watch out for birds, wildflowers, and other wildlife on your way.
It’s advised to only use the waymarked paths as deviating from them can be dangerous. Along this walk you’ll come across several stiles, kissing gates, and at times steep climbs. On clear days venturing to Wookey Hole Viewpoint is a must, however it should be avoided in wet or foggy weather.
Elevation Gain: 153m
This pleasant walk takes you along Blagdon Lake. Taking its name from the nearby Black Down, this reservoir took 8 years to build back in the 1890s and has since blended into the landscape of the northern flanks of the Mendips.
Along your walk be sure to watch out for Bristol Water’s Pumping Station which is open to the public on certain days throughout the year. Here you’ll be able to see two of the original steam-powered engines that were used to pump the water. You’ll also see Blagdon village church and Eldred’s Orchard.
Be sure to follow and look out for the waymarkers wherever there are stiles, gates, or changes of direction. Your kids will love watching out for all the wildlife around Blagdon including insects, butterflies, birds, and more.
Elevation Gain: 23m
This pleasant and flat walk takes you along the edge of Upper Litton Reservoir. Perfect for all fitness levels, this short walk offers glorious views of Chew Valley. Appropriate footwear is needed as some ground can be a little uneven.
If walking this out-and-back trail with your little ones, be sure to look out for the local wildlife including birds, insects, and fish. This route can also be extended by walking from Litton Reservoir to Hinton Blewett and back.
If you’re a confident walker or hiker, you might want to push yourself. These three moderate walks in the Mendips offer breathtaking views, steep slopes and hills, rocky outcrops, and uneven paths.
Be sure to pack appropriately for these trails which vary in length from five to eight kilometres.
Elevation Gain: 303m
The Cheddar Trail is considered a moderately difficult Mendip hills circular walk. Take in striking cliff views as you climb steep hills and be prepared to visit Castle Rock, the Cheddar viewing tower, and Bake Hole on the way round.
Due to the rough, uneven, and steep terrain, sturdy footwear is required. Don’t forget to read the informational signage along the way which provides you with interesting facts about the local history and environment of Cheddar Gorge.
Bird watchers and animal lovers will want to bring a pair of binoculars along with them for a spot of wildlife watching.
Elevation Gain: 246m
One of the most important and distinctive features of the Somerset landscape, Crook Peak is believed to have been a beacon site to signal the threatened arrival of the Spanish Armada to the West Country Coast.
This outcrop of limestone epitomises the rugged beauty of the Mendip hills and the views from the top make this moderately challenging walk worth it. Come prepared with sturdy shoes, jumpers on cool days, and a camera as the picturesque views all the way to the top are worth capturing.
This walk is also dog-friendly making it the perfect day out for you and your pooch. If you’re lucky you may even spot a few horses along the way.
Elevation Gain: 204m
Enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the Somerset Levels from the highest point of the western end of the Mendip Hills. The Bleadon Hill and Loxton circular walk takes you along bluebell woodlands, tree-lined bridleways, and rocky paths.
Considered moderately challenging due to the terrain, short steep climbs, and steep descents, you’ll also want to wear appropriate footwear. Wellie boots with good grip are recommended after rainy periods. Although there are no stiles or kissing gates on the route you will have to negotiate a staggered barrier and one bridle gate.
This Mendips walk is another great route for dogs, as you will encounter no livestock as the paths are fenced off to the side of farm pastures.
Some Mendip Hills walks should be left to the experienced hikers, however, if you’re up for a challenge you might want to consider these two popular walks.
Although these walks are short, they offer uneven surfaces, steep inclines, wet rocky scrambles, and challenging terrain.
Elevation Gain: 318m
One of Somerset’s most well-known sites, Cheddar Gorge has been attracting walkers, hikers, and explorers for decades. This limestone gorge offers a challenging but rewarding hike. Discover subterranean caves that were carved out by the Cheddar Yeo River and the jaw-dropping cliffs that make up the gorge.
Steeped in history, Cheddar Gorge is home to one of the most fascinating facts about Somerset! Britain’s oldest complete skeleton was found at Cheddar Gorge, estimated to be 9,000 years old.
Although popular with hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers, you may also find cavers and rock climbers here to scale the limestone outcrops.
Elevation Gain: 135m
While the length and elevation gain of the Ebbor Gorge Scramble might not seem like much, it’s not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced walker. This route takes the more challenging approach up through the gorge to the viewpoint.
What makes this route so challenging is that it involves a rocky scramble on sometimes wet rock as well as an uneven path. To make the most of this route, it’s best attempted in good weather and dry conditions. Once you get to the viewpoint you see stunning panoramic views of the gorge and the Mendip hills beyond.
Circular walks in the Mendips are popular options whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice.
Here are three popular circular walks in the Mendips that range in both difficulty and length:
Elevation Gain: 308m
If you’re looking for a stunning walk through the Mendips then the Beacon Batch Circular walk may just be one of the nicest. The first half of this walk is across pastures with lots of trees and brooks and eventually brings you to a pine forest.
The second half of this walk starts with gravel roads and gorgeous views. It eventually comes out onto open space fields and pastures once more where there’s plenty of space for your dogs (if you have any) to run off lead and do their own thing. The terrain on this walk is great to get your heart rate up as it’s a steady incline and there are a few hills to traverse.
If letting your dog off lead, be wary of any livestock. Views from this walk include the Severn, Wales, and the rest of Bristol.
Length: 4.7 km
Elevation Gain: 240m
Known as ‘mini cheddar’ Ebbor Gorge is a short circular walk that allows you to get up close and personal with the gorge itself. Although short this walk is considered moderate due to the terrain as you’ll walk through woods, scramble up rocks, and squeeze through small gaps in the gorge.
The whole walk is signposted and is fairly well laid out and marked so you can’t go wrong. There are also plenty of viewpoints along the way so you can enjoy far-reaching views across Somerset. It is recommended that if you walk this route, you’ll want to make sure you’re walking up the gorge and not down.
The reason for this is that a section of this walk involves you scrambling up rocks, which can be slippery and treacherous when going down. This walk is best done on a dry day as rain can make the paths and sections of this walk dangerous.
Length: 5.5 km
Elevation Gain: 139m
The Dolebury Warren Hill Fort Circular walk is a relatively gentle walk suitable for all ages and abilities. This trail begins at Rowberrow and explores the Iron Age hillfort of Dolebury Warren. The walk offers stunning views across North Somerset and the Mendip Hills.
The terrain is a mix of grassland and woodland and the incline to the top is fairly steep but once there it’s a fairly flat and easy walk. Dogs will love this walk just as much as you, but be aware that livestock are kept on Dolebury Warren.
Somerset is a beautiful region to visit at any time of year, whether you enjoy Somerset in October, or the height of summer.
No matter when you’re looking to explore the Mendip hills, we have plenty of holiday homes within the surrounding area that will be the perfect base.
Whether you’re looking for dog-friendly cottages, luxury holiday cottages, child-friendly cottages, or even eco-friendly cottages, we’ll have the ideal cottage for you.
Struggling to choose? Check out these four properties below:
Quarry Cottage is the perfect base for exploring Cheddar Gorge. This beautiful stone cottage has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 6 people. The outside patio area is great for warm summer evenings and the open-plan living area gives the whole property a spacious feel.
Book Quarry Cottage today!
Glebe House is a characterful property that would be great for families or a group of friends looking to discover the Somerset countryside. This home from home lies in the tranquil village of Wookey, making it the perfect base for starting the Wookey Hole to Ebbor Gorge walk.
Book Glebe House today!
The Cider Shed is a stunning first-floor apartment in Shipham, Somerset. It has two bedrooms; one double and one twin so can sleep up to four people. The beautiful views over the Somerset countryside and its peaceful location make this a quirky little home for your walking holiday.
Book The Cider Shed today!
This lovely stone-built, semi-detached cottage is located within the Somerset village of Timsbury, with easy access to Bath, Bristol, and the coast. Crooked Well is a historic holiday cottage that offers friends and families a beautiful base for an idyllic Somerset break all year round.
Book Crooked Well today!
Once you’ve explored some of these beautiful walks in the Mendips, why not head to another stunning area of the South West? Take a look at our favourite walks in Dartmoor National Park for more walking holiday inspiration.
Hi, I'm Justine.
Holidays and travelling have always been a favourite of mine from a young age. Having recently decided to travel...
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