Hi , it’s me again.
After last week’s trip into the big city – well….Bristol – I decided this week to get back to nature on a Friday trek. A reader suggested Cheddar Gorge. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and I was guessing that it would be less full of tourists, so easier to wander about in peace. Loadsa steps, I thought! After all, it was an aim of mine to keep myself fit by walking as part of my Friday KimTime. My Fitbit was a bit low on battery so, on my way to the kettle first thing in the morning, I plugged it in to charge. It only takes 30 minutes, which is very handy.
A couple of hours later, leaving the dogs snoring on the rug, I jumped in the car; Cheddar is 5 or 6 miles from home. I was a bit pleased with myself for remembering the way without the help of Mrs Sat Nav. I was expecting traffic through Banwell, as I left during the mornng rush, but, surprisingly, it was quiet. Has everyone given up early for Christmas?
I wished I’d had one of those car cameras fitted because, as I got to the top of the hill in Banwell, heading towards Winscombe and the A38, there was a fantastic view of the sun coming up behind Banwell castle – and nowhere to stop for pictures!
Well, I arrived in Cheddar, passing another stunning view of the sun shimmering over what looked like a lake near Axbridge, and again, no place to stop. Didn’t know that was there…..
As I reached the bottom of the Gorge, it all came flooding back. Parking in the car park with the kiddies as toddlers, walking up through the tourist shops, with candy store, rock-making, the Cheese Shoppe and the streams running beside the paths.
Driving past the entrance to the caves, I remembered the time we brought the kiddies aged 18 months and 3 to explore them. Our daughter, the 3-year-old, started crying as soon as we got there, and she got louder the further into the entrance we walked. By the time we arrived at the ticket booth, she was screaming so loudly it was echoing off the cave walls. We were forced to retreat and have never been back there since – she’s just turned 30! The entrance is now a lot bigger and it has a separate ticket office. Maybe it should be my next adventure?
Anyway, I drove past, and up the hill. I’m sure I’d never been this far up the gorge before.
Here’s my little car, in a car park near where I initially thought was the top……..wrong! As I found out afterwards, this was only the beginning. I got back in the car, drove on and on until eventually, the gorge flattened out to a bleak rocky landscape. A sign said Priddy 6 miles. Strange – I thought I would end up in Burrington Coombe! I turned round in the narrow road (easy in my little car) and headed back to stop in the gorge for a walk and some pictures.
The whole gorge was completely deserted.
I’m sure there will be plenty of trails to walk on around here, I thought………wrong! There was absolutely nowhere to walk, unless you had climbing boots and a rope.
My only company was a small herd of goats. It was obvious that the lead goat was doing the same as me – maneuvering into a space and looking out for the car park attendant. The remaining goats obviously owned the road, as they wandered along, gossiping and paying no attention to the traffic . Reminded me of a night out with the girls…..
Wow – fab scenery!
Time to attempt a little walk, I thought. It was quite easy to walk along the road, as there was no traffic at all. The views were spectacular – so much more than I expected. Reminded me a bit of some of the scenery in New Zealand.
Back to civilization
I drove back down into the village. There was still not a soul in sight.
Some things have changed since my last visit. Bearing in mind that everything was closed for the winter, I was sad to see that Cox’s Mill was permanently shut down, with the building looking abandoned. We’d had some lovely Sunday carveries there. I might have known there was a chain coffee shop instead – I bet there’s a Costa Coffee at the top of Ben Nevis too!
Not hard to find a space in the nearby car park – not a single car to be seen. I was beginning to think the whole place had been abandoned.
Views of the village
I had a wander around, and found everything else to be trapped in time, the same as it was 10 years ago. There is some lovely scenery here, even in the winter.
I followed a short trail through the wooded area away from the road, and down to the shops – which were all closed!
The picture below is what I remember most, which had not changed at all. Fish and chips and ice cream. It put me in mind of this year’s visit to Niagara Falls, where the main town was fairly tacky. However, on the other side of the falls, the National Trust there had taken the site back to nature, with good quality wooden structures, no commercialization and plenty of interesting educational stuff.
It was lovely, and is full of visitors all year round. Maybe something to learn from?
On the way home….
So that was my visit to Cheddar Gorge. Worth going I think, but not much good for my steps as there was not much walking to be had. I needed to reach today’s step goal (it’s not an obsession – honestly!).
Axbridge is on the way home from Cheddar. Next to the sign for Axbridge I spotted one for Axbridge Reservoir.
Ah – that must have been the lake I saw earlier. I took a swift left turn , then left again and found myself in a tree-lined avenue.At the end of the avenue was a large round reservoir.
Perfect place for a walk, I thought.
There were shallow concrete steps down to the water, demonstrating the fact that the reservoir was less than half full of water; not so with the avian wildlife, which was prolific.
It was a lovely walk round in the sunshine. Got to be at least 5,000 steps!
On my way back to back to the car, I took a glance at my Fitbit.
Oh no! I’d left it charging at home…….
Hope you enjoyed this week’s little tale. Next week, I have not-so-young relatives visiting for Christmas, so I expect steps will go out of the window and there may not be time for KimTime.
Thanks for reading – all comments are welcome.
See you soon