The highest point on Exmoor is Dunkery Beacon; at 519 metres (1,703 ft) it is also the highest point in Somerset. 2017 marks the eighteen-year anniversary of Brunel Walking Group. It has a 700m nature trail suitable for wheelchairs that goes through some reed beds and by a lake. Again permits might be needed contact visitor centre at Chew Valley Lakes. To the Reservoir. It’s a 2.3 mile round trip and lots of birds on route including swans and ducks. It’s free parking with easy access to all those wanting to walk or cycle around the perimeter. Running east to west between Weston-Super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Chew Valley and other tributaries of the Avon to the north. It’s a route I know well and I’m also quite familiar with many paths around Cheddar. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). It has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1989, and is also as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. There is a car park at the entrance but watch yourself when you leave the site as the road is fast and cars are on you very quick. and level and ideal for everyone, during certain times of year the water sports facilities are open. From the top of the hills on a clear day, it is possible to see Glastonbury Tor and the Mendips to the east, Wales as far as the Gower Peninsula to the north, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor to the west, and the Blackdown Hills to the south. The eastern end is the shallowest where the River Yeo enters the lake. Having visited all of these areas all I can say is that they are all very special places and all worth a visit. The passage of strawberries was a main plight of its trade, in those days. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. You also need a decent telescope to watch the many birds that are in the distant if you can see them. There is a boardwalk which borders the reservoir, but it is not possible to walk the whole way around the water without using the road as it seems some of the reservoir bank is privately owned. Please choose a different date. Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. It is 486 hectares (1200 acres) in extent and has a perimeter of some 8 miles and because of its size it is difficult without a decent telescope to see birds in the middle. Large blocks of conifers have been removed and one of the main aims of the project is to create wildlife links between the various grassland and heathland habitats. The Quantock Hills is a range of hills west of Bridgwater in Somerset, England. Hedgerows lining the northern and western boundaries have sections dominated by English elm. ( Log Out /  This is a hot spot for brown hairstreak butterflies and is why I have visited, but also look out for other butterflies and insects that can be seen along these hedges. Much of the coastline within the western part of the reserve is accessible via a waymarked public footpath. Ignoring the lure of Jacob’s Ladder and Pavey’s Lookout Tower, we began climb less-frequented footpaths in the direction of Mascall’s Wood, which is where we would join the West Mendip Way. Between Cheddar and Axbridge lies the two-mile-circumference Cheddar Reservoir which is a popular destination for water sports fans, birdwatchers, walkers and cyclists. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the coast of the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the River Severn. Very important - stay off the mud flats, there are signs everywhere so there is no excuses. Learn how your comment data is processed. It now provides a great area for overwintering wildfowl and migrant birds. It can be approached by road from various directions and is little more than 30 minutes drive from Bath, Bristol, Wells or Weston-super-Mare. Later, the county played a significant part in the consolidation of power and rise of King Alfred the Great, the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The Brendon Hills are a range of hills in west Somerset, England. Very nice flat path all the way round Free parking on site will be going back again, Ideal 2.3 mile walk or cycle round the reservoir, On a recent stay in nearby Glastonbury with our furry four legged friend we went to Cheddar for the morning and stumbled across the reservoir and nature reserve. You may know that I’ve personally walked the West Mendip Way a number of times (four, to be precise), as part of the annual Mendip Challenge event. The highest point on the Quantocks is Wills Neck, at 1,261 feet (384 m). Crossing the A38 to tuck in to King’s Wood, we made our way downhill to join the Strawberry Line cycle path – a portion of which, just north of here in Winscombe, remains closed at the time of writing. Chew has been designated as a Special Conservation Area (SCA) and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). At the heart of Somerset lie the Avalon Marshes and its nationally important nature reserves. The riverbank itself is mainly open but a number of mature standard trees occur, including several black poplars towards the western end. The National Nature Reserve itself is a large reserve run by Natural England. Every managed to stay on their feet throughout the constant mudbath of Winscombe Drove. The reserve forms part of the Quants SSSI. Fantastic views of the water with loads of birds on the water. See the following websites for more information: Exmoor is loosely defined as an area of hilly open moorland in West Somerset and North Devon. I have not included water areas in the Avalon Marshes which I will talk about in a different section. It consists predominantly of ancient woodland with oak and ash standards, but also has hazel and field maple coppice. This area of improved pasture land on the bank of the River Tone, north of Bishop's Hull, has been planted with native broadleaved trees to create new woodland. No permits are required here to my knowledge. Large numbers of wintering waders and waterfowl visit the site and some species use the area as a stop-off on migration routes. Again this is an area for fishing but plenty of birds drop in here and is worth keeping an eye on. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. OS Explorer 141 Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West, Grid ref: 593546; postcode of the Litton, BA3 4PW. I have two blogs: Straddling the borders of Somerset and Devon, the Blackdown Hills AONB covers an area of 370 square kilometres (143 sq mi). Go to the Blagdon Lake Birds website for more information. Sticking to the West Mendip Way, we passed Charterhouse Farm, Tyning’s Farm, continued through, up and out of Rowberrow to reach Shipham – these are all places I have photographed too often to warrant taking fresh ones. The terrain is broken by a series of deeply incised streams and rivers running roughly southwards to meet the River Haddeo, a tributary of the River Exe. Over 40 species from the Ancient Woodland Vascular Plant List for the South-West have been recorded. ( Log Out /  Check the website before you go. I walked it’s circumference on a bright sunny winter morning taking a few photographs as I went. It's a stunning place and another example of community getting together to protect their local environment! The northern hedge also features hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, elder, common dogwood, oak and ash. © Simon Thurgood 2020Images on this website may not be put as any part of any collection without any prior written permission. The hills are quite heavily cultivated unlike their neighbouring upland areas of Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. A path runs all the way round the reservoir and at only two miles in circumference, you could walk there, and lap back, if you feel really energetic. You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The Blackdown Hills are a sparsely populated area; much of the land is used for dairy farming. The reservoir offers an opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife. it. It is named after the River Exe, the source of which is situated in the centre of the area, two miles north-west of Simonsbath. They form the western border of Sedgemoor and the Somerset Levels. Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) Parking on the lane is limited but should be plenty of room. Its a lovely flat 3.5km circular walk around the reservoir, not too strenuous and suitable for all. Excavation work has been taking place to the north of the reservoir. I would also go in mid-week if you are going to watch or take photos of the birds as summer evenings and weekends can easily be disrupted by other users, particularly yachtsmen and windsurfers.

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