Natural Beauty


Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, BS40 7XR, Bristol


The Mendip Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), are one of England’s most attractive landscapes. The distinctive limestone ridge rises from the flat Somerset Levels and Chew Valley just south of Bristol. The windswept plateau is punctuated by spectacular dry valleys and gorges, and impressive rocky outcrops.

Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Mendip Hills have been providing food and shelter for people since the earliest days of settlement in this country and are still, slowly, giving up their secrets. Scientists recently reconstructed the head of a man who lived here some 10,000 years ago and whose remains were found in a cave at Cheddar. Cheddar Man is the oldest almost complete skeleton of our species, Homo sapiens, ever found in Britain.  

You can let your imagination run free in these hills with their stories graphically written in stone. There is the stone witch of Wookey Hole, the hymn-inspiring ‘Rock of Ages’ at Burrington Combe, the tower atop Glastonbury Tor and the wonderful dry stone walls that decorate the wind swept hills.
From Britain’s highest inland limestone cliffs that form the world famous Cheddar Gorge, you can look down on the Vale of Avalon with its tales of Arthur and to the coast visited, so legend has it, by Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was a metal merchant and the hills were mined for lead until the last century. They are still a quarried for stone and have more than 200 scheduled ancient monuments including prehistoric barrows and remnants of WW2.

On the hilltops there are hundreds of ancient monuments, while on the steeper slopes flower rich grasslands and wooded combes offer a variety of habitats for wildlife. The hill tops also provide spectacular views across to Wales, the Quantocks and Glastonbury Tor. Hidden beneath the hills are the famous Mendip caves - Cheddar and Wookey cave attractions, but the many less accessible caves make this a popular area for caving.
The area also offers sailing and fishing on the reservoirs, cycling, horse riding, walking and host of other activities. Plenty of outdoor activity businesses are here for you to try out something new.
Our Greentraveller On-line Guide to the Mendip Hills AONB will allow you to discover the best of the region whilst minimising your impact on the landscape. From eco-minded B&Bs to farm shops offering fresh, local produce, to activity centres, we have uncovered the greenest businesses in the AONB.


Public Transport Directions

Somerset Levels & Moors


Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
BS40 7XR
United Kingdom

T: 01761 462338


Facebook: @MendipHillsAONB/

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