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July 13, 2015 / Robert Crouch

Wednesday, 08 July 2015 – The Mendip Hills and Cheddar Gorge

We headed north across the Mendips to Blagdon Lake.

Blagdon Lake (22)

It’s a reservoir in the valley below Blagdon town, perfect for dog walking.

Blagdon Lake (4)

With the trees resonating with birdsong, and a path following the meandering contour of the lake, Harvey set off with his nose to the ground. The insect life was teeming with butterflies, lacewings, and all manner of grasshoppers and beetles, calling from the grass.

Blagdon Lake (30)

Tranquil and soothing, it was a great start to our first full day on the road.

We rolled into Cheddar Gorge from the north, weaving between the towering limestone cliffs into the bright and breezy town.

Cheddar Gorge (4)

Cheddar Gorge (15)

Car parking was at a premium until we discovered the council one, just beyond the main drag. At £1.50 cheaper for the day, and only 100m from the main car park in the commercial strip, it was great value. Off we set, looking for somewhere to eat.

Cheddar Gorge (3)

The Wishing Well tearooms looked attractive and offered a ploughman’s lunch that took my fancy – much healthier than the fry up of yesterday. They welcomed dogs so we went inside. I’m no fan of brie, but the Somerset variety we were served was delicious, as was the coleslaw, making this one of the best ploughman’s lunches I’ve eaten. Full marks for friendliness and food, and flapjacks to go for later.

 Cheddar Gorge (30)

We walked beyond the strip to sample the gorge from ground level. The cliffs tower overhead, once a giant cave, carved out by a river. It’s almost impossible to imagine how a river can carve such cliffs out of solid rock.

Cheddar Gorge (7)

Cheddar Gorge (32)

Cheddar Gorge (35)

Cheddar Gorge (51)

After a stop for coffee and flapjack, we made our way back, stopping to check prices for the caves. You have to buy the whole package, including open top bus tour, entry to both caves, the museum and up the steps of Jacob’s Ladder for a walk along the top. However, you can just do Jacob’s Ladder and the walk for about a quarter of the price. You can also borrow a map from the National Trust and walk up into the cliffs along public footpaths for free. I’ll leave you to work out what we intend doing when we return on Friday.

We stopped at Cheddar Reservoir, with views of the Gorge in the distance, for a final walk for Harvey.

Cheddar Reservoir (2)

It’s been a lovely day without the unpredictable rain threatening to spoil everything. Tomorrow and Friday should also be rain free if the forecasters are correct.

 

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