Having just come off the Cheddar Gorge walk, I wanted to come and try out Ebbor Gorge (also known as mini Cheddar). It’s super short (1.9 miles) and unlike the Cheddar Gorge walk, this one involves getting a lot more up close and personal with the gorge itself.
What is Ebbor Gorge?
Basically a very very old Limestone Gorge, which used the be inhabited by the Neolithic people. Lots of their tools have been found here. It is now marked as a National Nature Reserve and biological site of special interest.
What is the Ebbor Gorge walk like?
It was a mix really.
First off, there were tonnes of bluebells. Another unexpected bluebell walk (obviously, seeing the bluebells depends on what time of year you come and do this). Scrambling up the rocks and through the small gaps in the gorge was really fun and adventure like. There are a few viewpoints giving far reaching views across Somerset.
The rest of the Ebbor Gorge walk was ok. It’s mostly under tree cover, which is nice enough. It is made up of super easy trails (except the scramble part) with tourists type signposts….
Thats the thing. I got a vibe that this place could be quite busy during high season on a non rainy day. Everything was sort of laid out for you.
I feel this walk is more suited to you if you don’t like big walks or looking at maps. Or if you are tired and need something laid out and short.
If I was to do the Ebbor Gorge walk again, I would actually make it a longer walk and start in a nearby town.
Pick the direction you walk in wisely (AKA. Follow me)
I had read recommendations to walk in the direction that takes you up the gorge, not down. I wasn’t sure what was meant by this, as surely you will have to walk up if you take either direction.
After doing the walk through and up Ebbor Gorge, I knew exactly what they meant. There is a section which involves scrambling steeply on potentially slippy rocks. It would be pretty hairy going down them.
For this walk, I will take you on the direction of up these rocks (actually, the signposts direct you this way).
Don’t do the walk in the rain….or do?
Another reason I wanted to do this walk is the weather. It was very very rainy and wet. Now, this is a bit of a contradiction, because the walk through Ebbor Gorge can be quite slippy and muddy when wet, so not exactly the best conditions to walk it in.
We were faced with a weekend of serious rain. However, there were few gaps in the clouds here and there.
As the walk is really short, we figured we would go and quickly tackle it in one of the rain breaks. Plus, as the walk is mostly under tree cover, we would have some protection if the rain showed up again….it did.
Logistics for the circular Ebbor Gorge walk
- Start/Finish: Ebbor Gorge car park (in the Mendips AONB, Somerset).
- How to get there: There is no public transport so you will need a car. The car park is on Deerleap road. If you are in Wookey Hole, take the road leading north out of town and Deerleap will be on the right. I have read recommendations of walking here from Wooky Hole, so you could look into that if you are there.
- Distance: 1.9 miles
- Time: Under an hour
- Elevation: The highest point is 639ft, but you also start highish, so total elevation gain with the ups and downs will only be about 433 feet
- Difficulty: Easy/Medium. Most of the walk is easy. The scrambling section, whilst more on the challenging side, is super short.
- Terrain: Dirt path, some steps, rocks.
- Tips: Hiking boots/shoes due to the scrambling.
Map for the circular Ebbor Gorge walk
Click on the top box (I think it’t the left one) to open in your Google Maps.
A guide for the circular Ebbor Gorge walk
So, from the car park, you need to walk to the big information board/map thing to get to the start of the Ebbor Gorge trail. To the right of this map you will see a small wall (see photo). You need to step over it, and the trail will then take you downhill along a mix of steps and dirt trail under tree cover.
Catch it at the right time of year, and this is where you will see the bluebells.
Ebbor Gorge walk signage
At the bottom, you will reach the Ebbor Gorge walk signpost. There will be many more of these along the trail, so you shouldn’t get too lost. This first signpost points up to the car park and down to the Gorge. When you loop back around at the end, at this point you should take the up to get back to the car park on the other side.
(I mean, you don’t have to, but it mixes things up a little).
Walk to the bear
Past the signpost, a little further along, you will reach an opening with a stick bear. I’m not sure what it is.
Walk to and up Ebbor Gorge
After the bear continue along the trail, following the Gorge signpost whenever you reach a junction. This bit of the walk is pretty simple along wide and narrow dirt trails. Then things start to get a little interesting as you navigate along some rocks and then, as you reach the gorge opening, you scramble up the rocks.
Walk to the viewpoint
After the scramble, things are level for a brief moment before you gradually walk uphill.
You will reach another signpost which tries to confuse you. It points right for the car park, and down for the viewpoint.
There is no down.
You need to turn right.
At the second viewpoint signpost, follow it and you will reach an opening with a far reaching view of Somerset. If you look at the Google map I provided, this location is the little offshoot.
Walk back to close the loop
After you have finished with the view, take the trail back, and then take the first right. This will lead you along a narrow dirt trail. Now you will be gradually making your way down. There are a few steps for this section, but its mostly dirt trail.
When you reach the junction in the photo above, turn right and the trail will take you back around and past the stick bear from earlier. Then once you reach the junction I showed you at the beginning, take the left to walk back up to the car park the other way.
Walk up the the Ebbor Gorge Viewpoint
So there is another viewpoint coming (actually there are two). This one looks into Ebbor Gorge. Although, you mostly just see trees. But it’s actually a pretty cool view.
Anyway, follow this trail up, and up and up. A bit past the steps, look out for an opening to the right where you will get that view.
Fun fact: Ebbor Gorge was given to the National Trust by Mrs G.W. Hodgkinson in Memory of Sir Winston Churchill…..There is a plaque here which tells you this.
From here, continue up, then just as you approach the car park, you will get another far reaching view of the countryside.
More walks in Somerset
Fun fact, I used to live in Somerset. I was a child/teenager and wasn’t very interested in countryside stuff. As soon as I could, I moved back to London. It’s taken me 20 years to get back here. So I only have 1 other walk for you. The Cheddar Gorge walk.
I will be back soon though.
Check back later 😉
In the meantime, you can check out the Visit Somerset website for more walking ideas.