Archive for September, 2016

Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Mendip Hills

01 September 2016

18496-mendip-hillsThe Mendip Hills, located just 35 mins away from Lakeside Holiday Park, are made from limestone and as a result, are quite lovely.

So lovely indeed, that they have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Mendip Hills AONB run from Bleadon in the west to Chewton Mendip in the east, and take up a total area of over 198sq km.

Mendip is a stunningly beautiful place perfect for scenic walks and discovering wildlife, and the Hills overlook the lakes of the Chew Valley below. The landscape is a tableau of steep slopes and plateaus with gorges and rocky outcrops, and hundreds of ancient monuments cover the hilltops adding a touch of history to the area. Rich grasslands and a multitude of wildlife cover the slopes, as well as wooded combes – valleys that do not have water running through them.

The dramatic geological character of the Mendip Hills is perhaps shown best in the way that the Hills rise up out of Somerset Levels. The slopes, grassland, and open plateau are defined by dry stonewall enclosures and offset below by the Chew Valley with its hedgerows, spring line settlements, and lakes.
The geodiversity of nearby Cheddar Gorge includes exposed rocks, dry gorges, sink holes, areas of sunken ground and cave systems, and sandstone peaks, while the biodiversity of the area includes the ash woodland and calcareous grasslands which are internationally designated as sites for greater horseshoe bats.

Here you can find ‘The Cheddar Pink’, otherwise known as ‘The Flower of Somerset’, and this is the only area in which is grows.

18496-cheddar-pink

The Mendip Hills are made up of large formations of limestone with whaleback ridges. Water is able to percolate through the limestone dissolving it, creating a cave network and feeding the carboniferous limestone aquifer that flows into the public water supply for Bristol and surrounding areas from the Cheddar, Blagdon and Chew Valley reservoirs. It also supplies the hot springs in Bath.

There are 18 different recommended walks throughout the Hills, ranging from shorter, more leisurely strolls to all day adventures. There are also plenty of farm shops, pubs, cafés, and restaurants serving fresh, local produce for when you want to take a break. There are also plenty of chances to go caving, climbing and cycling – perfect for everyone from couples wanting to spend some quality time together in the great outdoors, to families looking to explore. They are easy to get to as well, with Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare all nearby. Take the M5 Junction 21 if travelling from the north or J22 if travelling from the south.