Cheddar Gorge circular walk is one of the best family walks in Somerset
What is Cheddar Gorge and is it worth visiting?
Cheddar Gorge is one of the UK’s most spectacular landmarks. As the highest inland limestone gorge in Britain (about 400 ft deep and 3-miles long), it was formed by floods caused at the end of the Ice Ages, about a million years a go.
Cheddar Gorge is definitely worth visiting. It is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with plenty of wildlife, including Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels and Buzzards. If you visit in June or July you may be lucky to spot Cheddar Pink – a pretty pink flower that is only found growing on the limestone rocks of the Mendip Hills. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a herd of feral goats grazing on the side of the cliff. They were introduced to keep down the scrub. The North side of the gorge is owned and managed byThe National Trust.
Where is Cheddar Gorge?
Cheddar Gorge is located in The Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. The gorge lies just outside the village of Cheddar. The B3135 road runs northeast from Cheddar, through the gorge and is a spectacular drive.
How to get to Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge is situated at the edge of Cheddar Village, postcode BS27 3QE
From the M5 (Jct 21 or 22) follow signs – it takes about 25 minutes; 8 miles north-west from Wells follow A371; 18 south-west from Bristol follow A38.
Take bus 126 from Weston super Mare to Cheddar village.
The closest railway station is Weston-super-Mare. Take bus 126 from Weston to Cheddar village.
How to see Cheddar Gorge
There are two main ways to see Cheddar Gorge:
- Drive through the Gorge (B3135). The road is narrow in parts but the steep limestone cliffs on either side are impressive.
- Walk through the gorge or follow our cliff top walking route. Walking through the gorge may be difficult when it is busy, as there isn’t a footpath all the way up and it is narrow in places.
Cheddar Gorge Walk Directions:
🥾 Continueon, the path drops into a valley down a long flight of steps. You’ll see a kissing gate ahead, go through it and into the wood. This part was muddy and slippery, and we were glad we had worn our boots.
Walk down until the footpath joins a gravel path at Black Rock. Turn right and through a gate, to the road that runs through Cheddar Gorge.
Note: if you have parked the car here at the top of the gorge, at Black Rock, you can start/finish the walk here as it is a circular route.
Things to note
Please keep to the path especially walking with children because the cliff edges are dangerous.
Facilities around Cheddar Gorge:
As Cheddar Gorge is a tourist hotspot, there are several options for buying food and drink, either before you start or at the end of the walk. There are tea rooms, gift shops, a couple of pubs and obviously cheese shops to buy the famous Cheddar cheese.
Public toilets can also be found near the start of the walk by the water.
Best time to hike Cheddar Gorge:
You can hike Cheddar Gorge at any time of the year. But the best time is a clear, sunny day to be able to appreciate the fantastic 360 degree views over Somerset. We walked in early December on a fine sunny day which was perfect for missing the summer crowds. Parking is more difficult in the summer holidays but if you want to be able to spot the Cheddar pink flowering then June/July is the time to visit.
Level of difficulty:
What to wear and bring with you:
Is Cheddar Gorge free to visit?
Yes! The walk follows public footpaths around the cliff top and the road is free to walk along or drive through.
There is some free parking but it is limited. The attractions which includes the caves, Jacob’s Ladder and the Museum of Prehistory is not free. Tickets can be bought here.
How much time do you need to see Cheddar Gorge?
Is Cheddar cheese made in Cheddar?
Yes! Cheddar cheese originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, which is how it got its name. There is now only one cheesemaker left in Cheddar, The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company.
They have a visitor centre next to the shop where you can watch the cheesemakers make the cheese live every day between 11.30am – 3.00pm. You’ll even be able to taste it. Click here for more information.
Some of the cheese is still matured in the caves nearby. The constant temperature and high humidity is the perfect conditions for maturing cheese. There is a great selection of cheeses in the shop to buy and take home. If you love cheese, then this is the perfect place for you!
Things to do around Cheddar Gorge
- Walk around Cheddar Reservoir. The walk around the perimeter is 2 miles/3.5 km. Parking is free in 2 car parks next to the reservoir. The path around the reservoir is wide and flat, suitable for pushchairs, bikes and wheelchairs. It’s been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
- Visit Cheddar Show Caves – Home of the “Cheddar Man”, Britain’s oldest, complete skeleton (c. 7100 BC) found in 1903.
- Explore Cheddar Village and shops at the bottom of the gorge
- Walk or cycle The Strawberry line from Cheddar to Yatton. The 9-mile route is a disused railway line that used to transport the strawberries from Cheddar. Now, a traffic-free path used for walkers and cyclists. Read our guide here.
- Visit Wells, Englands smallest city. Read our Guide to Visiting Wells with Kids.
Somerset Family Adventures is a free online resource. If you enjoyed this walk, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much! You may also want to share your own photos from our walks/bike rides to your social media and don’t forget to tag me in.