Walking in Somerset

You're spoilt for choice!

As well as being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the countryside of the Mendip Hills and Valleys has a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest playing host to rare plants, butterflies and birds. There are wildflower meadows, orchid filled fields and woods once tended by mediaeval monks. Where people have exploited the hills for mining or the valleys for reservoirs, the wildlife has also benefitted. Somerset Wildlife Trust has a dozen reserves and can point to species that are only found here while Chew Valley Lake is considered the third most important site in Britain for wintering wildfowl. 
The Mendip Way is a 50 mile trek that takes you all the way from the fascinating hamlet of Uphill on the coast with its views across the Bristol Channel to the town of Frome dubbed by The Times as ‘one of the best places to live in Britain.’ Tracking along the ridge, which overlooks the Somerset Levels to the south and the Chew Valley to the north, the route dips down at times to include such gems as Cheddar and Axbridge; Wells and Wookey Hole. From the summit are tantilizing glimpses of secret woodlands and sunken valleys.

As a County of remarkable contrasts, it is no wonder Somerset can offer some of the most varied and exciting terrain for walking anywhere in the UK. We have a National Park, Exmoor and no fewer than three designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Blackdown, Mendip and Quantock Hills.
There are coastal, cliff and canal paths; wooded, wilderness and wild flower walks and circular, long distance, and themed trails. There is even an island walk if you visit Flatholm in the Bristol Channel.
Among the best known longer routes are the South West Coast Path, which begins in Minehead, the Coleridge Way which starts from Nether Stowey, the Two Moors Way and the Parrett Trail. A feature of the lower lying areas is the tendency for sudden lumps and bumps to appear in their midst and we have incorporated six of these into a fun itinerary known as the Visit Somerset 360s, offering as they do fantastic all-round views from the summits.
A number of our towns and villages have Walkers are Welcome accreditation which means that they go out of their way to make sure walkers have what they need to enjoy their visits and explore the area. Some of the County’s best beaches for walking allow dogs all year.
There can’t be a better county for walking than Somerset.  Different types of terrain, a wide variety of walks, exciting places to end up in.  The choice is always yours!
The flatlands of the Levels, where you can potter all day along lanes shaded by willow trees.  The dramatic seascapes revealed by the coastal path.  The excitement of exploring our hills, where open vistas give way to hidden valleys at each turn of the track.  We can offer you more than 6,000 km of public rights of way and many quiet lanes where traffic is a rarity.  Public transport, waymarked routes and walking guides are all there to help get you started and get you back again.  And our air is guaranteed fresh every day.  We have it flown in specially, just for you.
Is it better to travel hopefully, or to arrive?  If the countryside’s new to you then every step is an adventure.  The particular intimacy of Somerset’s scenery means that there’s always something new hiding round every corner.  Wildlife, historic buildings, parish churches ...   And if you just happen to be passing a lovely old village pub dead on opening time – well, don’t pass it!     
If you are looking for an adventure, why not explore the trails, guided walks and tales of legend on Flatholm Island in the Bristol Channel?  You can take a trip there from Knightstone Harbour in Weston Super Mare with MW Marine.
The Levels, with their wide open vistas, willows and waterways make for relaxed strolls while the Blackdown, Mendip and Quantock Hills have steep coombes, gorges and cliffs that provide more adventurous walking and far-reaching views.  There are dramatic seascapes revealed by the coastal paths and hidden gems of villages to be found by opting for leafy lanes. 
We can boast more than 6,000 km of public rights of way and many quiet roads where traffic is a rarity.  Public transport, waymarked routes, guides and downloadable walks are all there to help get you started. 


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