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Greentraveller's Guide to the Mendip Hills AONB

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Posted by Florence Fortnam at 12:51 on Wednesday 20 February 2013

As part of our continuing celebration of the most beautiful, natural areas in the UK, we've published a Greentraveller Guide to the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Covering an area of just 198 square kilometres, the Mendip Hills is a relatively small AONB but has lots to offer the adventure seeker, nature lover, culture vulture and foodie fanatic. From eco-minded B&Bs to farm shops offering fresh, local produce, to activity centres throughout the AONB, we have uncovered the greenest businesses in the region. Our Greentraveller Guide to the Mendip Hills AONB will allow you to discover the best of the region whilst minimising your impact on the landscape.

>> See all our Greentraveller Guides

View from Crook Peak to Cheddar Reservoir. Photo: Mendip Hills AONBView from Crook Peak to Cheddar Reservoir. Photo: Mendip Hills AONB

We've hunted down the greenest places to stay in the area. From mellow-stoned B&Bs in chocolate box villages and converted cottages on working cattle farms, to wild meadow glampsites and family-friendly camping, there's something to suit everyone and every budget in our collection.

Our team of travel writers has scoured the region for great places to eat and drink too - you'll be able to tuck into local, seasonal food at all the tearooms, cafés, pubs and restaurants that we've listed. We've also included lots of places to visit in the AONB, from gorges and lakes, to family-friendly days out at museums, watermills and gardens, plus we've listed lots of walking and cycling routes throughout the AONB. The Mendip Hills is easy to get to without a car and you'll find all the information you need for travelling to and around the region by public transport.

Sarah Jackson, Mendip Hills AONB Manager, says:

“The Greentraveller Guide to the Mendip Hills has put us firmly on the map as a great place of natural beauty to visit on the doorstep of Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.

“This exciting online guide enables visitors and local people to plan a great day or a longer stay in the Mendip Hills AONB experiencing fantastic scenery, quality local food and accommodation and by doing so supports our rural businesses.”

Here's a taster of what you'll find in this latest Greentraveller destination guide to the Mendip Hills:

Places to stay

Gorge View CottageGorge View CottageGorgeous views There's a panoramic view of Cheddar Gorge from the bedroom of this dinky little gardener’s cottage, which has been restored with sustainability in mind: reclaimed wood, solar electricity, a woodburning stove, rainwater harvesting, the list is endless. And there’s a 10% discount for those arriving without a car!
>> See more self-catering places in the Mendip Hills AONB

Sleeping under canvas at Featherdown Farm Set high up on a cliffside and surrounded by wildflower meadows and bleeting sheep, Warren Farm provides camping of a different sort: there’s just the one (huge) tent – so no noisy neighbours – with wooden floors, a big family dining table, a cosy log burner and lanterns. There are chickens to adopt (yes, really!), and luxury foodie hampers and veg boxes for your arrival. >> See more camping and glamping in the Mendip Hills AONB

Places to eat

The Ring O Bells, ComptonThe Ring O Bells, ComptonA perfect country retreat At the foot of the Mendips, The Ring O Bells in Compton Martin is Butcombe Brewery’s oldest owned pub and is perfect for walkers, fisherman, and families. The menu features lots of delicious dishes, such as a trio of pork and Butcombe sausages with creamy mash, and local smoked trout salad with apple, capers and new potatoes. They have recently opened two rooms upstairs as B&B, too.
>> See more pubs in the Mendip Hills AONB

A refreshing stop off Their apple orchards may have expanded to some 380 acres, but the Thatcher family have been using the same oak vats, recipes and ingredients for 100 years. Deeply committed to protecting the business and farmland for future generations, the family has planted 200 acres of orchards in recent years, as well as 2,000 native British trees (ash, beech, oak). The Strawberry Line footpath cuts straight through the orchards so you can stop off for a glass amongst the apple trees.
>> See more local food producers in the Mendip Hills AONB

Places to visit

Chew Valley Lake. Photo: Mendip Hills AONBChew Valley Lake. Photo: Mendip Hills AONBWhiling away the afternoon at Chew Valley Lake Fringed by reedbeds, woodland and grassland, Chew Valley Lake is a pleasant place to spend a lazy afternoon. To protect the wildlife, access to the lake is restricted in certain areas, but there are plenty of trails which loop around the lake, as well as sailing and fishing available. There are landscaped picnic areas, a teashop and art gallery, too. >> See more natural spaces in the Mendip Hills AONB

Burcott Mill This flourmill is one of the few remaining working watermills in the UK. The River Axe still powers the old Victorian cogs which drive the millstones, producing flour sold throughout Somerset, and supplying various restaurants and bakeries in the region.
>> See more visitor attractions in the Mendip Hills AONB

Things to do

Walkers at Crook Peak. Photo: Mendip Hills AONBWalkers at Crook Peak. Photo: Mendip Hills AONBWalking the Mendips The landscape is varied yet none of it is too challenging, making it perfect terrain for families and ramblers alike. The area is crisscrossed with bridle paths and footpaths allowing you to explore the area at your own pace, and if your orienteering skills aren't up to much, there are several well-maintained routes so you can discover the area without the need of a map.
>> See more walking ideas and routes in the Mendip Hills AONB

Go wild If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Ray Mears, you'll enjoy these entertaining, inspiring, low impact activities, set in a beautiful rural setting in the Mendips. Snack on bugs and nettles in the undergrowth, take up the fire-lighting challenge, go foraging in the hedgerows, or learn how to shoot!
>> More outdoor pursuits in the Mendip Hills AONB

>> See all our Greentraveller Guides

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