In September 2018, I walked the Mendip Way with my parents. This walk in Somerset, England from Weston-super-Mare (near Bristol) to Frome promises green rolling hills, fresh air, a taste of the English countryside, and lots of cows!
Read an overview of the whole walk, or read notes from each day: Weston-super-Mare to Loxton (Day 1), Loxton to Cheddar (Day 2), Rest Day in Cheddar (Day 3), Cheddar to Priddy (Day 4), Priddy to Wells via Wookey Hole (Day 5), Afternoon & Morning in Wells (Day 5 & 6), Wells to Shepton Mallet (Day 6), and Shepton Mallet to Frome (Day 7).
Priddy to Wells (5.5 miles – but not really)
Our soaking clothes hadn’t fully dried overnight and it was still raining in the morning when we woke up and so we made the executive decision to call a taxi and take it the 15 minute drive from Priddy to Wookey Hole.
Wookey Hole is a truly cheesy little gem of a place. We had a coffee at the Wookey Hole Hotel and decided to check out the Wookey Hole Caves, which are part of a larger touristy, family-day-out complex in an old pulp and paper mill.
Along with the ice age animal figures and anima-tronic dinosaurs and the games room made up to look like a 1920s English seaside town amusements pier (hold-overs from the days of Madame Tussaud’s ownership?), there are pulp and paper production demonstrations and videos, and a display dedicated to cave-diving, which this site is also well-known for. It’s tacky and wonderful and I recommend a visit if you’re passing through.
Wonders of Wookey Hole
What struck me about Cheddar and Wookey Hole is the long history of tourism. People have been coming to these places for over a hundred years. In Wookey Hole, you can experience each addition to the site made by each owner over the decades to appeal to their own generation’s taste in entertainment. There is really something for just about everyone here…
The caves were really neat and worth the visit. The areas where they take tourists are very open. My dad is claustrophobic and in one closer section, he went with the guide on a more open, alternative route (through a cheese-aging facility).
The paper-making section was small but interesting (we unfortunately missed the live demonstration, but there was a video to show you how it’s done.
The entertainment gallery area / faux pier offers weird, old-timey games, wonky mirrors, and a mirror maze.
By the time we were done at Wookey Hole, the sun had come out and was sufficiently inspiring to get us the rest of the way to Wells.
The Wookey Hole to Wells portion of the Mendip Way was pretty gentle and mainly on established (paved/packed gravel) path. It didn’t take us long (perhaps less than an hour) to reach Wells.
Arriving to Wells, we saw this plaque marking the start of the West Mendip Way. Wells separate the West Mendip Way (Weston-super-Mare to Wells) and the East Mendip Way (Wells to Frome).
The sign reads: “Devised and Waymarked by the Rotary Clubs of Wells, Mendip, Wrington Vale, and Weston Super Mare to commemorate the jubilee year of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Opened 24 May 1979”.
Read more about walking the Mendip Way
- The Mendip Way – An Overview
- Day 1: Weston-super-Mare to Loxton (6.25 miles)
- Day 2: Loxton to Cheddar via Shipham (11.5 miles)
- Day 3: Rest day in Cheddar
- Day 4: Cheddar to Priddy (5.5 miles)
- Day 5: Priddy to Wells via Wookey Hole (5.5 miles)
- Afternoon & Morning in Wells
- Day 6: Wells to Shepton Mallet (6 miles)
- Day 7: Shepton Mallet to Frome (12.5 miles)