A Trip to Cheddar Gorge
A week ago, with a group of hiking friends, we went for a short getaway to Cheddar Gorge. This photo story is a record from a delightful weekend we spent there, visiting the gorge and some areas around.
When preparing for the trip, the weather forecast wasn’t looking very promising, predicting rain and clouds. Luckily for us, it didn’t turn out as expected. On the way, we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset as the sun hovered just above the horizon.
Friday evening, we arrived at our Airbnb accommodation, just outside Glastonbury.
The stay was welcoming and cosy. But what was even more great, was the view of the sky that I had a chance to experience that night.
The sky was perfectly clear, and even though this wasn’t a particularly dark area, I managed to capture some fascinating views of the dark sky.
The next day, we left to explore Cheddar Gorge. The gorge is located near the Cheddar Village, in Somerset, England. Yes, it’s also a place where the well-known Cheddar Cheese originated from.
The most popular walk there is a 6,5km hike around the gorge. The access through the Jacobs Ladder steps from the parking is paid for and costs 25£ and also includes the entrance fee to the caves and a local archaeology museum. The ticket may seems expensive, but its definitely worth it. If you’re on the budget however, there is a way to access the path from the other sides or other entrances free of charge.
Our walk started with a 275-step climb through the Jacobs Ladder up through the sides of the gorge. After climbing to the clifftops, the nearby located tower offered great views of the Cheddar Village and the water reservoir.
The path, leading along the edges of the gorge, presented us with truly amazing perspectives.
With a maximum depth of over 130m and nearly vertical cliff faces, some of the locations are breathtaking. The bright, limestone walls and the green colours of the grass and trees created beautiful composition.
I particularly enjoyed peaking through the edge over the road down below.
Halfway through the walk, the path descended, leading to the opposite side of the ravine. On the way down passed a small patch of wood, that shared the atmosphere of the Wistman’s Wood.
After crossing the road, we climbed back to the cliff edges and took a break to grab a snack, drink and get a bit of rest. This spot also offered some amazing views of the stone walls of the gorge.
After the break, we continued, slowly descending back to Cheddar village, towards the next highlight of our visit, the caves.
The Gough’s Cave
I was pleasantly surprised with the visit to the caves. The tour path is well-maintained and nicely lit, highlighting interesting places and rock formations.
During the visit, I learned that it is all thanks to the effort of the owner, Richard Cox Gough, who discovered and excavated the caves.
The cave system is quite deep (115m) and long (more than 3km). There are many interesting points along the route, some really evoking your imagination.
Due to the unique microclimate, the Cheddar Gorge caves are utilized for - of course! - the maturing the Cheddar Cheese.
The audio-guided tour around the cave offers many insights into the region’s geology, the history of the excavations and some unique findings from early inhabitants of this place.
The remains of a “Cheddar Man” found inside have been dated to almost more than 7000 BC!
There is much more to see. I definitely recommend a visit there to learn about this place.
BTW, If you’ve been wondering what about the coins embedded in the ceiling of Gough’s Cave, here is an answer I found looking for it - during the cave excavations, the workers placed some coins in the cracks, to monitor and detect the movements of the rocks.
After the hike and the caves, we spent a bit of time exploring Cheddar Village. We had enough time to stop for a tea break in one of the cafes and do some shopping (Cheddar Cheese and cider). It started to rain, so we headed back to our car.
The Bishop’s Palace at Wells
On the way back, we stopped for a short visit to the city of Wells, where despite the rain, we went for a walk around the Bishop’s Palace and Wells Cathedral.
The Palace entry was closed, but we enjoyed the walk in the surrounding park.
The front of the cathedral was also quite impressive. Especially given the fact that it was built in the 12th century!
On the last day of the trip, we’ve set to explore the nearby town of Glastonbury. The hill of Glastonbury Tor is a prominent landmark overlooking the town.
Topped by the St Michael’s Tower, this 158m hill offers fantastic 360° views of the area.
There is a paved pathway and steps leading to the hill making it quite accessible from the town. Just take notice that the car park is located a bit further away in Glastonbury, and there is no place to park directly near the gate leading to the path.
We ended the walk circling back to the town and taking a stroll through the streets of Glastonbury. I was surprised to see the unique vibe of the town.
History mixes with legends, myths and lore attracting intriguing individuals and curious visitors. The high street was filled with witchcraft, and other type of stores that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
We spent the afternoon hanging around at the Glastonbury Abbey Medieval Fayre, visiting the ruins of the Abbey with King Arthur’s Tomb.
After Glastonbury, we departed for a ride back to London, stopping for a short break and coffee at Lacock Village.
We enjoyed the walk through the village, which preserved its historical looks. Probably that is why it was used for filming locations of some of the scenes from Harry Potter movies.
I admit, it would look much better without the cars.
And that was the last stop on our journey. Two hours later, we arrived in London. In a pouring rain, we rushed to exchange goodbyes, and catch a tube home.