Cheddar Gorge is England’s largest gorge and, with its weathered crags and pinnacles, one of our most spectacular natural sights.
Cheddar Gorge is one of England’s most iconic and spectacular landscapes. The National Trust owns the north side of this spectacular gorge and we hope that you will enjoy exploring it in a way that suits you.
The Gorge would have begun forming about one million years ago during the last Ice Age when water from melting glaciers formed a river, which over time started to carve into the limestone rock creating the steep cliffs you see today. The Cheddar Yeo River gradually made its way underground, creating the famous Cheddar Caves.
Cheddar Gorge is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the calcareous grassland, Karst limestone buttresses and Horseshoe Bats. It is also home to the Cheddar Pink. Peregrine Falcons nest on the cliff face and Soay sheep keep the scrub in check. Beneath the surface lies an extensive underground network of caves and caverns that route water from the Mendip plateau down to the public showcaves and the lower gorge.
Gough’s Cave is an internationally famous archeological site because of its Late Upper Paleolithic finds (12-13,000 years old) and contained Britain’s oldest complete skeleton (9,000 years old). The Gorge itself lies within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The village of Cheddar has a long and ancient history, having been an important Roman and Saxon Centre. Cheddar’s Kings of Wessex Academy occupies the historical site of an Anglo Saxon Palace, with the ruins of the 13th century chapel of St. Columbanus still visible today. As early as 1130 AD, the beauty of the Gorge was recognised as one of the “Four wonders of England”. Historically, Cheddar’s source of wealth was farming and cheese making for which it was famous as early as 1170 AD. Cheese is still made in Cheddar today and some is stored in the caves to mature.
Cheddar Gorge is a very popular tourist destination, with local attractions run by a division of Longleat. Open-top coach tours, an audio tour of Gough’s Cave, Cox Cave, cliff-top walks, a museum and adventure activities are on offer.
Distance from Nunney
22.3 miles (35.9 km)
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