Ebbor Gorge National Nature Reserve
Nr Wookey Hole, Wells
Nr Wookey Hole
Tel: 01749 672552
Fax: 01749 670869
Craggy limestone outcrops, Limestone scree slopes and lush wooded valleys are on offer in this Mendip reserve. Some 200,000 years ago the huge cavern that formed Ebbor Gorge collapsed and left behind a number of small caves where reindeer, cave bear and wolf remains have been discovered. Artefacts and bones from Neolithic people who sheltered in these caves 5000 years ago are on show at Wells museum.
Three trails are available. The 2km red route takes about 1 hour and includes a strenuous scramble up the gorge. Robust footwear is recommended. The 1km black route takes you along a woodland ramble lush with ferns, mosses and fungi. It takes about half an hour. The easy access blue route takes about 15 minutes and is ideal for wheel chairs and pushchairs.
The nature reserve is an ash woodland, with many other species present, including oak, wych elm, field maple, whitebeam, beech, hornbeam and hazel. Nettle Leaved Bellflower is present in the gorge. While the bulk of the NNR consists of ash/maple woodland, there are a number of woodland glades and areas of limestone grassland. Parts of the NNR are ancient woodland while other areas are secondary woodlands that have grown on previously grazed land.
The humidity within Hope Wood valley makes it ideal for ferns and fungi, and over 250 species of mosses, liverworts and lichens have been recorded at the site, some of them rare.
Areas of coppice have been cut in order to improve the NNR for woodland butterflies, notably the rare white letter hairstreak.
Greater and lesser horseshoe bats regularly roost in the gorge.
The best times to visit the reserve are spring, for wildflowers, and autumn, for colouring.