Ebbor Gorge in the Mendips (a place known as mini Cheddar Gorge) is another hidden gem in the beautiful West Somerset countryside. It may be a little tucked away, but Ebbor Gorge certainly deserves to be scribbled onto your list of walks to do this year.
You’re probably not the first to admit that Cheddar Gorge instantly pops into your head when you think of gorges in this part of the world. To be honest, it deserves to be at the forefront of your mind, as Cheddar Gorge really is spectacular. With its large pinnacles and serpentine road, plus it holds the trophy for ‘largest gorge in the UK’
But Ebbor Gorge is much more modest than Cheddar.
It’s a little more out in the sticks, with no coffee shops, gift shops or guided cave tours happening. Nor does it attract the same swarm of tourists or high volume of visitors. Making Ebbor Gorge a quieter place to explore and be surrounded in nature.
This unspoilt site provides an exciting (albeit short) circular walk full of lush woodland, wild flowers, and prehistoric looking ferns that jut from rocky crevices. But the real jewel in the crown here is the impressive ancient limestone gorge which you can get right up close and personal with.
Take a clamber up the gorge, scramble over large boulders and sneak a peek inside the once lived in caves. From the top you’ll enjoy spectacular views high above the Somerset Levels, where you’ll see the iconic silhouette of Glastonbury Tor in the horizon.
Kids and grown-ups will love this walk. It’s easy to navigate your way around, and is well signposted (apart from one which throws a spanner in the works) but don’t worry, I’ll tell you about that later.
Now, go lace up your boots.
We’ve got a walk to do!
(To skip all the info and get straight to the walk, click here)
In this article...
Where is Ebbor Gorge and what’s the postcode?
You’ll discover this hidden gem near the quaint English village of Wookey Hole (you’ve probably heard of Wookey Hole Caves!) which is located in South West Somerset.
Ebbor Gorge is roughly 10 minutes drive away from the compact city of Wells, or a short 3 minute drive from Wookey Hole.
There are no buses that run directly to Ebbor Gorge, so ideally you would need a car to get here. Failing that, you could get some extra steps in and walk in from Wookey Hole where the bus does stop!
The address for Ebbor Gorge is: Deerleap, Wookey Hole, Wells, BA5 1AY.
Ebbor gorge parking
There is a good sized free carpark at Ebbor Gorge. Which you’ll need to drive up (or down) a typically British narrow country lane to reach it.
Every time I’ve visited, parking has never been an issue. We’ve always managed to find a space no matter the time of day or month. Admittedly its far busier on a hot summers day.
Keep an eye on the time and don’t stay out too late as the carpark gates get locked at night. Otherwise you run the risk of having to set up camp inside your car. Which won’t be much fun if you’re the owner of a mini.
The what3words for the carpark is: ///toolkit.boat.nanny
How much does Ebbor Gorge cost?
Ebbor Gorge (and its carpark) are free! Who doesn’t love a free walk as pretty as this one!?
Which direction should you do the walk?
There are 3 different routes within Ebbor Gorge, one of which is more suitable to pushchairs. If you want to do the best bit (in my opinion) where you go in the heart of the gorge and scramble up rocks. Then you’ll want to make sure you climb up the gorge, as that’s much safer than going down it!
Be extra careful if you visit Ebbor Gorge after its rained, some of the rocks are smooth and can get super slippery. Going down them could be treacherous, especially with inadequate footwear on. If you’re dead set on going down the gorge, then you’ll need to make you way down gingerly. I personally wouldn’t recommend little ones doing the loop in this direction. But going up they will be fine, my boys love it!
If you feel the gorge part of the walk would be too challenging, or just not for you. There is an alternative route you can take which avoids this section of the walk. You’ll still arrive at the top viewing point, it just takes a different path.
Best time to visit?
This natural beauty is beautiful throughout all the season, so it really depends on what you want to see whilst visiting Ebbor Gorge.
Come in the spring to see the ground covered in a blanket of bluebells, and other rare flowers like Bryum canariense and very rare Amblystegiella confervoides. You might even spot some rabbits hopping around in the woods.
Summer will bring the most visitors, but the way the sun shines between gaps in the tree canopy is magical. With clear weather you’ll get to see the best views, and enjoy a scenic picnic at the top.
Autumn and winter will be the quietest times to visit, with the latter being the most barren. It’s gorgeous here when the leaves have turned a deep fiery red, and fall on you like confetti as you wander around the woods.
Ebbor gorge walk difficultly
There are 3 different route options to take here, one of which is suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. The longest (and hardest) walking route is 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) long and apart from the scramble up the gorge which is a bit more challenging, I would class this as an easy-moderate walk.
How long does it take to do the Ebbor Gorge walk?
The main circular Ebbor Gorge walk is only short, we’re talking less than 2 miles.
Which makes it the perfect choice for families bringing younger children along for a fun day out in nature.
Having said that, there are some challenging sections up the gorge. Which really little tots could find too tricky, and it could be challenging for you if you have a baby in a carrier – well, unless you’re a pro! But you can take a different route around Ebbor Gorge to avoid it.
We’ve taken our children here a few times, and with them in tow it takes us about an hour to do the circuit. You may need to allow a little longer if you have even younger children.
If this is an adults only hike, you could do it in probably 45 minutes.
Is Ebbor Gorge dog friendly?
It sure is! We often see people walking there dogs here, both on and off lead. Just make sure they are on a lead when you’re at the opening at the top, as that drop would be pretty unforgiving!
There are no dog litter bins here, so please be a responsible dog owner and take any messes back home with you.
How to get from Wells to Ebbor gorge
If you’re planning to visit from Wells. You’ll need to take the A371, turning off at Titlands Lane. You’ll then take a turn on to Kennel Batch, and finally head on the country lane called Deerleap. Alternatively, without a car you’ll need to take bus number 67 which stops in Wookey Hole. From there you would have to walk to Ebbor Gorge.
What is Ebbor Gorge?
A long, long, long time time ago, our prehistoric ancestors called this place home.
Ebbor Gorge was inhabited by Neolithic people, who took shelter inside some of the caves that can be found here. Remarkably, many of their primal tools and flint arrow heads have been discovered around the site, along with remains of auroch, cave bear & woolly rhino!
Mix all that with the unusual and rare flora growing here, and its no wonder why this place has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.
How to do the Ebbor gorge walk on the main route
So now you know all about Ebbor Gorge, here’s how to do the main walking route.
Starting from the carpark, head over towards the information sign where you’ll see a short stone wall. Swing your leg over the wall and head down the steps into the pretty woodland.
Eventually the steps will end and you’ll continue along a dirt track until you reach your first sign post. Turn left here and continue heading down further into the woodland.
You’ll come to a wooden bridge which enables you to cross over a small stream. Continue the path as it bends right, bringing you into a wider opening where you’ll spot this wicker bear statue.
Continue past the bear and eventually you’ll take a left turn (signposted the gorge) which will slowly start to head you back uphill. Carry on walking uphill along a skinny track, where both the scenery and footpath will change as you begin to enter the gorge.
Now it’s time to enjoy your scramble up the gorge! This is the hardest (but best) part of the walk. It’s a lot of fun!
Once you’ve made it out the gorge, and stopped for a quick drink. Keep following the path and you’ll arrive at a tree stump which has loads of coins hammered into it. Add your own penny and continue the walk!
You’ll see another track now coming from the left. You’ll want to turn right and ignore the next sign post which tells you that you’re heading to a carpark. You’re not. You’re heading towards the view point.
The narrow path will open up and you’ll be stood on the viewing point. Where you’ll enter a clearing at the top of the gorge. From here you’ll be stood high above the tree tops of the gorge below, whilst surrounded in spectacular views across Somerset. This grassy area has lots of large flat stones which make popular place to sit, rest your legs and enjoy a picnic in the sunshine.
Be super careful up here though. Don’t get too close to the edge as there are no barriers and its a savage drop down to the bottom of the gorge.
Retrace your steps back out the way you came in, and you’ll see a path on your right hand side which heads down into the woodland. Turn off there, which will be a mix of dirt trail and steps down.
You’ll come back out near to where you saw the wicker bear earlier.
Cross back over the wooden bridge and begin heading up the hill. You can either turn right and go back up the stairs you started with. Or turn left and enjoy a different route back to the carpark.
Places to stay near Ebbor Gorge
The closest place to stay near Ebbor Gorge would be Wookey Hole, although it’s pretty slim pickings there! Another good option would be to stay in the smallest city in England; Wells. Click here to see whats available!
Other Somerset walks to do nearby
Of course the most obvious choice would be Cheddar Gorge. But some other fabulous Somerset walks are Glastonbury Tor and Burrow Mump. I’ll leave them linked for you, in case you want to try them out whilst you’re in the county!
Over to you!
Ebbor Gorge is one of those magical places that we’re lucky to have. The humid atmosphere within the ravine makes it a happy place for ferns and fungi to grow, and can feed the imagination of any Jurassic World fans both old or young. With the fun rocky scramble and epic Somerset views, I hope you add it onto your list of Somerset walks to tick off this year.
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