The largest Gorge in England is never short of excitement and adventure. Not only is it home to its explorable caves, but there is also a hiking route that will elevate you above the Gorge, revealing some stunning scenery of Somerset and beyond.
Starting at the Tourist Information Centre, you will notice a stony road diagonally opposite. This road marks the start of the Gorge Walk and will guide you to a pathway behind a small cluster of houses. From here, you will be standing at the first viewpoint on the hike, where you can look over the main village of Cheddar. Then, after a brief pause, a sharp right turn will show you another path where you will be taken to the first of a small handful of woodland areas.
My first view of Cheddar before being submerged by trees
As you begin your ascent, the squelching sound of mud might become adamant, thanks to the falling showers it may have experienced recently. Each footstep will make you feel like you are stepping onto a massive chocolate pudding, but this sensation won't last forever. Finally, after mooching over the mud, you will approach a gate that, upon passing through, will take you to the second viewpoint on this walk.
This viewpoint will display a slightly more transparent view of Cheddar - and even most of Somerset - out to Bridgewater Bay (if you have good eyesight). This is another good resting point to catch your breath before the third leg of your hike.
A more picturesque view of Somerset
With the view to your right, you can proceed diagonally across a grassy field and slant off to the left, ensuring that you keep the stony wall to your right-hand side. You will notice cows dotted around this acre (one of which followed me for a few seconds), but it's best to leave them to go about their business.
The rocky path will continue along this half of the Gorge until it declines. A declining pattern of steps will then emerge, and, depending on the weather, these will require due care and attention to go down. These stairs are pretty steep, and there isn't a handrail to escort you down, so there's no throwing caution to the wind here.
The greenery that was viewed before my eyes
After the de-escalation, you will be rewarded with further mud squelching after you pass through another kissing gate. Of course, at the end of this stretch, your boots will be muddy, but this is a sign that you got stuck in and didn't worry about getting mud on your boots. The woodland path then joins a 'Black Rock' stony path, where after taking a sharp right turn, you will be approaching the main Gorge road, the halfway point of the hike.
The National Trust signpost indicating Cheddar's Black Rock
Once you cross the road, you will notice another inclining path. This path will lead you up to the top of the Gorge on the other side, where some enchanting views of Somerset can be located. It is an unevenly rocky path where careful steps are required, but there are places to stop and consider your next steps.
Once you reach the top, you must take the path on the right to ensure you stay on track. A set of high gates will then make themselves known, and after passing it, you will encounter the views of Somerset you have been eager to see for yourself. This viewpoint is the perfect spot to sit on the ground and have lunch as you admire Somerset from where you are.
The third (and best) view of Somerset, including Cheddar Reservoir
After looking over Somerset, it is time for you to descend the other side of the Gorge. Several information posts cover topics such as Cheddar's Conservation Management and Hazel Wood. You can continue your hike knowing you have been educated and given some fantastic views.
After your rocky descension, you will slowly approach Pavey's Lookout Tower and Jacob's Ladder steps. This attraction is ticketed only (this isn't guarded, however, so enter at your own risk!), and upon climbing the steps, you can get one last good view of Cheddar and the majority of Somerset.
Pavey's Lookout Tower found towards the end of the hike
The final leg of this hike will see you walking through a small woodland area sparsely populated by goats. You will find yourself hiking down an alley before emerging onto Lynch Lane. This lane will bring you onto The Lippiatt, where you must turn right and head back into the main village between the Gorges.
A goat almost perfectly camouflaged with the ground
And with that, you have reached the climax of the hike, and your reward here is entirely up to you. It could be a coffee or a pint of beer in a local pub, where you can relax and realise that you conquered the Cheddar Gorge Walk.
The hike is suitable for experienced hikers due to its steep and uneven paths, which crop up occasionally. It should take around 3 hours to complete, not including rest breaks.
If you are a dog owner, this will be the perfect opportunity to bring your pooch companion on the hike for them to stretch their legs.
Click Here for more details on the hike and what to look for.