The Mendip Way

Mendip Way map

An amazing 50 mile (80 kilometre) long-distance recreational trail that takes in all the special qualities of the Mendip Hills.

Two walkers looking out over the Somerset Levels

The West and East Mendip Way connect Weston-super-Mare, Cheddar, Wells, Shepton Mallet and Frome. A perfect 3-5 day walk starting from either end. Or walk it in sections between town and villages along the Way.

The route is therefore suitable for both the long-distance walker and for shorter jaunts, and passes through places with refreshments, parking and overnight accommodation. Local Walkers are Welcome Groups are joining forces along the 50 mile trail – find out more about local places to stay and things to do through the links below.

 

West Mendip Way

The West Mendip Way is 30 miles (48km) in length and was opened in 1979 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee after the Rotary clubs of Weston-super-Mare, Wrington Vale and Mendip & Wells devised and waymarked the route, running between Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, to the City of Wells.

The route passes through some of the most scenic sections of the Mendip Hills AONB; climbing the Mendip escarpment over Crook Peak affording stunning views over the Bristol Channel and the Somerset Levels. It traverses the central Mendip Plateau through Shipham and the historic village of Priddy, leading to the impressive Cheddar Gorge and onto England’s smallest city, Wells, with magnificent views of its Cathedral.

Download the West Mendip Way Guide here (PDF Download 3MB) with maps and route descriptions.

East Mendip Way

The East Mendip Way is 19 miles (30km) in length and runs between Wells and Frome, travelling north of Shepton Mallet close to some of the limestone quarries and up to Cranmore Tower, the highest point on The Mendip Way at 280 metres above sea level.

Download the East Mendip Way Guide here (PDF Download 3MB) with maps and route descriptions.

 

Mendip Way WaymarkerPlease note the route in the guides differs in places to that shown on the Ordnance Survey maps.  This will be rectified on future editions of the OS maps, until then please be sure to follow the route shown on the guide.

Follow the blue waymarkers!

The AONB Unit is working in partnership with local Walkers are Welcome Groups, The Mendip Society, Rotary Club and Mendip Ramblers to enhance The Mendip Way through route improvements, improved information, signage and promotion.

Planning a walking holiday on The Mendip Way? The following companies offer self guided walking packages: Bath and West Country Walks and Encounter Walking Holidays.

 

Walkers are Welcome

Walkers are Welcome is a nationwide initiative launched in 2007 to encourage towns and villages to be ‘welcoming to walkers’. There are Walkers are Welcome Groups along The Mendip Way – ‘Cheddar Walking’ and ‘Frome Walks’ are established groups, with ‘Shepton Walks’ and a group for Wells also under development – please get in touch with the groups for more information on how to get involved.

Cheddar Walking promotes Cheddar as a walker-friendly destination offering a variety of walking routes of varying grades, starting from the village centre – these are available to download from their website here. Cheddar Walking works closely with the AONB Unit and is supported by a wide range of local businesses offering everything from accommodation, food and drink, to outdoor equipment and lots more.

 

Shepton Mallet Town Council is in the process of setting up a new Walkers are Welcome group called Shepton Walks. The aim is to bring walkers and visitors to the cafes, restaurants, shops, B&Bs and hotels, and other visitor attractions, and promoting the benefits of physical, health and mental wellbeing through walking. To support the group please sign the petition here.

 

 

Frome Walks is the Walkers are Welcome group for Frome. There are plenty of walks you can take to explore the town of Frome. Their walks will allow you to see Frome’s green spaces, stroll through its shopping streets and learn about its history. If you’re thinking about heading to Frome for a walk, visit Discover Frome for more information.

 

Discover

A summer afternoon above Cheddar Gorge; the autumn colours in King’s Wood; the winter mist in the Vale of Avalon seen from Ebbor Gorge; the first flush of spring in Priddy. Discover the quaint villages of Shipham, Priddy and Cheddar, Wells’ magnificent cathedral and the historic and charming centre of Frome. There’s 50 miles to discover and enjoy along The Mendip Way.

Look

Look closely at the nooks and crannies in the drystone walls to see what’s living there.
Look at how thin the soil is on the sunny southern slopes – special plants love this rare combination.
Look at the gorges scoured by ice-age melt water and take in the long view west to see the limestone ridge dip into the Bristol Channel.
Look from the highest point on The Mendip Way at Cranmore Tower between Shepton Mallet and Frome.

Explore

From gliding above, to caving below and everything in between, the Mendip Hills can be a place of adventure. The limestone geology has created the highest inland cliffs in the country to climb and some of the most beautiful caves to explore (be sure to do this safely with a trained professional). Or take a more leisurely approach on a ramble and check out some of the places to visit in the local towns and villages along The Mendip Way.

Eat

Strawberries from the southern slopes. Apples and cider from the sheltered combes. Cheese matured in the caves. Lamb from the fields and yoghurt from the pastures. Visit the market stalls and shops in Shepton Mallet. Eat local food on your journey, support local businesses, and you’ll be helping to look after the view for generations to come.

Stay

Choose a top hotel in the Cathedral City of Wells, an inexpensive night in a B&B, camp at a designated camping site along the route or even a caving hut on the Mendip plateau; your journey will be made more memorable through the places you stay. Weston-super-Mare, Shepton Mallet and Frome all have good road and rail links, making them great locations to start or end your trip.

Protect

The unique combination of limestone soils, rocky outcrops and wooded combes make the Mendip Hills a special place for people and wildlife. The rare Cheddar Pink clings to the slopes and nightjar nest in the heaths where adders collect. This fragile environment is easily disturbed. It’s a protected landscape with many protected sites and species – please keep to the footpaths, follow the Countryside Code and leave only your footprints.

Remember

We’ve lived here for over half a million years. Barrows, Iron Age Hill Forts and Roman remains dot the area, the industrial era has scarred and shaped the land with quarrying still taking place today, and old market towns burst with heritage along the route. World War II defences criss-cross Black Down and there are numerous sites protected for their nature and archaeological value. We’re custodians of the landscape – connect and protect on your journey across The Mendip Way.