Hiking Cheddar Gorge was the main reason for the trip. I wanted to find somewhere to Walk or Hike that was away from home.

At almost 400ft (122m) deep and 3 miles (4.8km) long, Cheddar Gorge is England’s largest gorge and with it’s weathered crags and pinnacles, one of our most spectacular natural sights.

Cheddar Gorge Map
My Cheddar Gorge Wander

You can see from the graphic (Google tracking), that I don’t tend to follow the masses. I don’t plan that well either. That’s why it is the Wandering Warrior and not the Pilot, the Navigating, or the Travelling, etc. The map above show my wander round the Cheddar Gorge.

My Cheddar Gorge Route

I used the Cheddar Gorge and Caves Car park, which was quite quiet on the Thursday at 10am. Though I did have to download an app to pay (around £6 for the day). Lucky there was phone signal!

The Wandering began by waking up the Main Road that runs through the Gorge. It wasn’t too busy on the road. A few goats scattered around the cliffs or having a little rest on the grassy knolls.

Black Rock

There was a sign (51°17’22.2″N 2°44’39.5″W) pointing left up the face to “Black Rock”. Quite steep and a bit rocky.

Another signpost pointed left to Cheddar and Black Rock was right. You probably guessed, Right. Well, a hill was up to the right and being the curious soul, I wanted to see the view from the top. As far as I could tell, this was Black Rock.

Rocky terrain and steep inclines seem to be the norm – never the easy/simple way with me. This hill was no exception. Very relieved to get to the top, I took some photos and took in the view (had a rest).

The Demon Steps

Back down to the signpost, but this time it was back to Cheddar, 2 miles. More fun on, what I have nicknamed, the Demon Steps. Well, that’s what I call them. Take a look on Google Maps Satellite for an idea of the steps. But it doesn’t really show you the incline!

Demon Steps on the Cheddar Gorge walk

Chatting with some of the people coming up the path as I descended back into Cheddar, I’d say the way I went was easier. Ok you had the Demon steps but the path wasn’t slippy and rocky.

Time for refreshments at the Rockface and get moving again. It was either going to be the caves or the south side of the Gorge. Had I found and used the Cheddar Gorge & Caves site, I could have planned it all…. But that’s not my style!

Cheddar Gorge Attractions and Activities

Tickets and Information for Cheddar Gorge can be purchased online or at a couple of places (maybe more) on main road called The Cliffs. One building was not far from the car park and is actually the entrance to Jacob’s Ladder. There is a Mural on the wall of the old hotel, just across the road.

Further up the road is another building which is actually the entrance to Gough’s Cave. I bought a day pass ticket which included several interesting attractions:

  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • The Lookout Tower
  • Gough’s Cave
  • Museum of Prehistory
  • Cox’s Cave featuring Dreamhunters: The Early Adventures of Man
  • Beyond the View
  • Cheddar Man

Cheddar Gorge Jacob’s Ladder

There are 274 Steps up to the lookout tower but it is worth the climb – or crawl. There are about 4 passing places on the way up, and a handrail. It is quite an effort to get to the top, but well worth the effort. The magnificent views of the Mendips and beyond.

Lookout Tower

Once up the ladder, it is just another 48 steps to go up the Tower for an extra special view across the Mendip Reserve and out to the Reservoir.

Cheddar Gorge – Lookout Tower

Black Down Walk

From the Tower, there is a 5 mile walk across the Black Down on the South Side of the Gorge. Here is is the highest point in all of the Mendip Hills.

The National Trust website has a list of Trails around Cheddar Gorge.

Cheddar Gorge Caves

Gough’s Cave, discovered by Richard Gough in 1898

The cave was formed by the River Yeo over 120 000 years ago. Remains of artefacts and several human skeletons were found near the entrance of the cave. Included in the find was the 9000-year-old Cheddar Man.

The Cheddar Man

The Cheddar man was discovered in Gough’s Cave in 1903 during improvements were being made to the cave. He stood about 166 centimetres tall with dark skin and blue eyes and and died in his twenties.

Radiocarbon dating from the 1970s onwards suggests he lived around 10,000 years ago. The people of that time mainly hunted game and gathered seeds and nuts (Hunter Gatherers). Their diet would have consisted of red deer, aurochs (large wild cattle in abundance during warm periods until the 17th Century when they became extinct) and some freshwater fish.

Curiously, they found that the Cheddar Man was lactose intolerant and was unable to digest milk as an adult.

Who was Cheddar Man? | #NHM_Live

You can find out more about the Cheddar Man on the official Natural History Museum site.

Cheddar Gorge Accommodation

My accommodation for the Cheddar Gorge visit was actually at the Wookey Hole hotel in Wells. I had no idea until the next day, that Wookey Hole actually was. I thought it was just a little village, close to Cheddar Gorge, with a hotel.

It turns out I was completely wrong about that. Read all about Wookey Hole here.

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