Chew Valley Lake

Chew Valley Lake is the largest artificial freshwater lake in South West England. An internationally renowned spot for birds, there is boating, a lake side area with visitor centre, tearoom, and nature trail. Bird watchers should visit In addition, it is the location of a submerged Roman Villa – the old Roman road just continues into the lake, mysteriously!
The sailing club can be found at and fishing information is at At the other side of the lake on the A368 Bath road is the award-winning ‘Manor Farm Shop’, great for real farm shopping and tea and cake in the café! The Chew Valley web site is at

Burrington Ham / Black Down / Roberrow Forest

This is the largest area of open land in the AONB. Black Down trig point is the highest point on Mendip offering terrific views across to Wales. There is significant wildlife and archaeology in the immediate area including a substantial iron-age hill fort (Dolebury, pictured).

The Mendip Hills

The Mendip Hills is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest landscapes, and specially protected and managed. From 'top of the world', huge panoramic views across the Bristol Channel and Somerset levels, to stunning vistas through deep, forested combes. Home to numerous Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s), and bordering some of Britain’s most important wetlands, The Mendip Hills has something for everyone, and awaits your discovery…

This unique landscape contains some of the oldest hills in Britain, formed at the same time as the Alps in Europe. It is one of Britain's richest and most fascinating sites of pre-history and archaeology. The Mendip Hills contain signs of some of the earliest human occupation in Britain, and are home to Neolithic henge monuments, Bronze-age barrows, Iron Age hill forts & evidence of extensive Roman occupation. There are many sites of special scientific interest (SSSI's), designated for their rare and important flora as well as the unique geology of the area, Cheddar Gorge and Caves being of particular note.
The highest point on the Mendips, Beacon Batch on the top of Blackdown, can give a feeling of true wilderness and isolation without ever being too far from civilisation. Wildlife abounds, watch as Kestrels dive into the heather to catch their prey and Buzzards circle high overhead on thermal air currents. From Ashcroft House, Blackdown provides an ever-present back-drop, swathed in purple heather in the spring, and sometimes snow-capped in winter. Deer and wild ponies are silhouetted against wonderful summer sunsets. Blackdown affords remarkable 360 degree views across the Severn Estuary, and both Severn Bridges to Wales, across the Somerset Levels and Moors to the Quantock Hills, Blackdown Hills, Chew Valley & Blagdon lakes and Cheddar Gorge.

Cheddar Gorge & Caves

This dramatic limestone gorge ends in the village of Cheddar with shops, pubs, tearooms, restaurants situated at the bottom. A major tourist attraction, Britain’s biggest Gorge offers plenty to do above and below ground with the Cathedral-like Caves, million-year-old Ice Age river bed & of course, ‘Cheddar Man’, Britain's oldest complete skeleton!

Wookey Caves & Papermill

Britain's most spectacular showcaves, home of the Witch of Wookey; Victorian Papermill - Traditional papermaking - Old Penny Pier, Magical Mirror Maze, Neptunes Kingdom, Caves Museum. Attractive picnic areas Safe environment for children

The Cathedral City of Wells

The City of Wells is is not to be missed! It is Britain’s smallest city and is home to one of the loveliest English Cathedrals, featuring the finest medieval statuary in the country (603 figures of kings, princes and nobles). We love the mechanical clock inside the cathedral. There are numerous other historical buildings, including the Bishop's Palace, which is still home to the Bishop of Bath & Wells. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Hot Fuzz’, you’ll recognize much of Wells, as it was filmed here!

Wells also has a bustling market, normally held every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and numerous lovely shops. The Cathedral hosts many concerts and events, and it’s well worth checking out the web site to see what’s going on. A visit to Wells isn’t complete without lunch at ‘The Good Earth’. Formerly an Egon Ronay ‘just a bite’ recommendation, this wholefood café serves excellent food at a very sensible price. It has been a firm favourite for many, many years and always gets rave reviews from visitors and guests.

On the way to, or from, Wells you might like to call in to Milton Lodge Gardens. This Grade II listed garden is delightful, with outstanding views of Wells Cathedral and the Vale of Avalon. It has mixed borders, roses, fine trees, and a separate 7 acre arboretum. Opening is limited - Easter - Oct. Tues, Wed, Sunday & Bank Hols. Tea & cake served (on Sundays in the old stables) by the owner’s mother, a delightful lady who, if it’s quiet, is usually happy to tell you all about the history of this quirky place.


Glastonbury Tor rises dramatically from the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, close to the town of Glastonbury, to a height of 158 metres (525 feet). The Tor is topped by the tower of a ruined 15th-century church (St Michael's). The hill and its approaches are owned by the National Trust, and offer free public access, but visitors are advised to walk there from the town centre, or to take the 'Tor Bus', due to parking restrictions around the site. Views from the summit are stunning in all directions. History, myth and legend surround the Tor. Dark Age and Saxon remains excavated here suggested that it was once a Saxon fortress, or perhaps an early Christian hermitage.

Close to the foot of the Tor are the Chalice Well Gardens, a lovely place to stop and relax, have a wander around, contemplate life the universe, etc! There is also a font with water from the ‘Holy Well’, the spring, where you can collect water to drink. We also like the Rainbow’s End café, it serves good value and very tasty vegetarian food.

The Somerset Rural Life Museum is also not far from the Tor. It is a magnificent Medieval Abbey barn and Victorian farmhouse with displays, exhibitions, craft and farming demonstrations and special events. Shop & tea room.
Traditionally the oldest Christian sanctury in the UK, Glastonbury Abbey is the legendary burial place of King Arthur. 36 Beautiful acres, Holy Thorn. Award winning museum.

The Somerset Levels & Moors

This remarkable area has international status as one of the most important wetlands of its type in the world. Almost half of the Levels & Moors is designated an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and parts of the wetland are designated a 'Ramsar' site of international importance, and a Special Protection Area, to ensure 'wise' or 'sustainable' use. Several DEFRA initiatives specifically encourage farmers to 'wise use', such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme (ESA). Wise use of a wetland results in richness of flowers and wildlife.

You can visit the Peat Moors Centre, for craft and living history demonstrations, and insight into the history of the area.

The Victorian Resort of Clevedon

Clevedon is a Victorian seaside town of unspoiled charm. Enjoying glorious views across the Bristol Channel, the local coastal walks have inspired many great writers including Tennyson, Thackeray and Coleridge.
Clevedon Pier is the jewel in the crown, one of the finest and most important Victorian Piers in the country. The town also boasts the Curzon Community Cinema which is said to be the "oldest purpose-built continuously operated cinema in the world."
An ideal resort for all the family with plenty of activities, whether you like to take things at a leisurely pace or prefer a more energetic approach. There are summer concerts in the seafront bandstand, and other events, plus activities such as golf, fishing and riding nearby. Salthouse Fields adjoining the seafront has children's attractions, donkey rides, a play area and nearby a miniature railway.

There is individual charm in the specialist shops plus the familiar high street names and an excellent choice of restaurants and cafes. Close to the town there is a craft centre where you can buy quality gifts from the artists themselves. There are National Trust properties nearby and fantastic garden centres.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm at Wraxall.
Big zoo animals close up, huge indoor adventure playgrounds, friendly farm animals to handle.

The Maritime City of Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Brunel’s world-famous bridge is the symbol of Bristol. Visitor information point, great walk across from Clifton to Ashton Court estate.

SS Great Britain
The world’s most exciting and accessible historic ship. Dockyard Museum, various attractions, family fun.

The Matthew
Bristol’s one and only tall ship. Public harbour cruises, part of the SS Great Britain visitor attraction.

Bristol city sightseeing
Live guides, hop on and hop off buses. Discount vouchers, free kids packs. Tel 0870 444 0654.

Bristol Ferry Boat Co
Take a ride on one of Bristol’s ferries! Tel 0117 927 3416.

@t Bristol
The interactive adventure of a lifetime. Explore is the UK’s most exciting hands-on science centre. Wildwalk has botanical houses, live animals and interactive exhibits. Finally, take a voyage with the IMAX theatre.

Bristol Zoo Gardens
New monkey jungle with monkeys, lemurs and gorillas. The award-winning seal and penguin coast, bug world, twilight world, reptile house and much more.

Ashton Court Estate
Stunning 850 acre historic public park and major event venue. Café, visitor centre and rose garden. 0117 963 9174.

Rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of horses, ponies and donkeys. Family-friendly visitor centre. Groom the animals, indoor and outdoor play areas, gift shop, tea room.

Avon Valley Railway
Located between Bristol & Bath, this heritage railway offers a nostalgic journey. Riverside walks, picnic areas, etc.

The Georgian City of Bath

Bath Spa

Located in the heart of Bath and fed by the natural hot springs. Spa sessions and treatments.

Roman Baths

The finest religious spa in Northern Europe, built 2000 years ago around the country’s only hot springs. Roman museum, special audiotour for children, etc.

The Seaside Resort of Weston super Mare

Weston-super-Mare is a bustling seaside resort. The broad sweep of Weston Bay has an award winning Grade II listed Grand Pier, a level promenade, and of course the famous Weston donkeys!

Helicopter museum World’s largest helicopter museum. 70+ helicopters, undercover, including the world speed record holder. Take a helicopter flight! Under 12’s can stage a rescue in the Lynx helicopter play area.

Puxton Park
Family farm attraction, farm shop, animals, play areas, suitable for all weathers!

The Cotswolds & Gloucestershire

Slimbridge Wetlands Centre

One of nine Wildfowl and Wetland Centres run by the WWT. The world’s largest collection of exotic, rare and endangered ducks, geese and swans in a reserve of international importance.

Westonbirt Arboretum

A must-see when visiting the South West, Westonbirt has one of the finest collections of trees and shrubs in the world, set in 600 acres. Beautiful and family-friendly at any time of the year.

Content Copyright Adrian Boots 2002-2009


Belgrave Crescent B&B - Bed & Breakfast in Bath with our friends Sue & Alan

Marland Lodge B&B - Bed & Breakfast near Torrington, North Devon

Somerset Holiday Cottage - Self-catering holidays for up to 15 on the Mendips

Walk The Mendips - Wild Food, Bushcraft & Natural History Walks, Forays & Camp-fire Cook-ups on the Mendips in Somerset

All web site content and photos copyright Adrian Boots 2008-2011.

Cottage B&B - Bed & Breakfast on the Mendips

Ashcroft House, Ellick Road, Blagdon, Bristol BS40 7TU. Tel: 01761 463356 Email: Adrian Boots