Limestone and Gorge

 We set off east, passing houses with excellent views south over the Somerset Levels. The recent, well-needed rain had not been enough to make the paths slippery, and we crossed over fields to the top near the mast, crossing Callow Drove and descending to join the West Mendip Way east. Approaching Shipham, we took a path north west to Winterhead and east into Shipham to the main road at the ‘turnpike house’.

We crossed the road northwards to join the Limestone Link and to climb over Dolebury Warren, an Iron Age hill fort, east along grassy paths. Near the end, we turned to take a good path through Mendip Lodge Wood. We reached the Goatchurch Cavern car park at Burrington Combe.

Here, in view of the time, we decided to cut the walk short by straight-lining the route south to Cheddar Gorge. This meant avoiding the climb to Beacon Batch and instead we skirted Black Down along an ascending path, glad that April and May had been dry. We descended to the West Mendip Way, where we crossed it to take a steep climb through trees to the top – the last tough climb on the walk. From here we walked west through Piney Sleight and Bone Hole to a viewpoint over the Gorge. We descended steeply along a stony path, with steps at times, to emerge at Cheddar near Cox’s Cave. We enjoyed an afternoon break at a picnic bench. We took a road through the northern part of Cheddar and crossed the busy A371 to take a path to Cheddar Reservoir. We walked anti-clockwise around the reservoir and followed the Old River Axe into Axbridge from the south. We walked west through this pretty village and climbed a short path through woods to emerge at the lay-by car park at 5.15 pm, after a challenging, but rewarding walk of 16 miles.