The Mendip Hills are an area of outstanding natural beauty in Somerset. The National Trust describes it as “Dramatic gorges and ancient woodland rising above the Somerset Levels“. The range of limestone hills stretch 77.22 sq miles. You can see some of the fantastic landscape in our hot air balloon journey.
We have had many great trips to the Mendips. Each areas deserves its own post, this post will mainly focus on our trips to Black Down, Hinton Blewett and Chew Valley.
Black Down is the highest hill in the Mendips and gives you some spectacular views of the surrounding areas. It is a really popular area for walkers and dog-walkers alike. It has been heavily researched by various bodies to uncover how the hill was formed and understand how it can be preserved. Unfortunately its popularity is also leading to its erosion and decimation. You can find an interactive map of Black Down here: Interactive map | Discovering Black Down.
Sash and her best friend Willow had a great time running around the muddy and wet moors of Black Down. We visited in the autumn and hadn’t quite appreciated how quickly it gets dark. We (like our trip to Lacock) got a little lost when we decided to go off the well worn path. There are lots of paths and routes across Black Down, you always find your way back eventually, but little Willow loves to run through the long grass. Our detour through the long grass took us to, what we assume was, the edge of the area as we had to walk along a fence (presumably a farm) in the dark while jumping over (or falling in) multiple puddles. you can see our muddy and wet shoes below. Possibly one of our funniest walks yet! We understand that it is a lot drier and prettier in the warmer months – probably best to visit is spring or summer.
Walks around Black Down:
To explore Hinton Blewett we followed this Bristol Barkers route that starts and ends with a great pub – the Ring O’Bells. Hinton Blewett is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is a great Sunday walk.
On our trip we happened across a lost dog who walked with us for half an hour while we tried to find their owner, and so once again we were off the route (we know, that never ends well for us!). In the UK, if you find a lost dog you should take it to the local vet or contact the local dog warden. This wasn’t so easy on the Sunday afternoon that we found the lost dog as everything was closed. We ended up taking the dog to the local pub (not on a lead as it didn’t want us to get close to it) but, unfortunately, it ran off before we got there. We showed the pub pictures and they put it on the local Facebook page. I still wonder what happened – I’m sure that it found its owner.
Chew Valley is famous for its large lake and great places to eat. It’s lake is the fifth largest artificial lake in the United Kingdom covering 1.85 sq miles. The lake and its banks are home to a wide range of wildlife, especially birds in the reserve. The lake itself provides most of Bristol’s drinking water.
Dogs are allowed around the lake on a lead, except for the bird reserve during certain periods as they may disturb them. We go to Chew Valley Lake for the peace, the tranquility and the views. Water is always calming and the Lake is the perfect place for a little wander and a picnic. Maybe even some snacks from the cafe near the picnic area or the best fish and chips for miles (bold claim we know).
Dog-friendly places to stay near the Mendips
The Mendips, like most of the UK countryside, are very dog-friendly. You won’t have problem find somewhere dog-friendly but you might struggle to find somewhere with availability. Highly recommend that you book in advance.
Dog-friendly places to eat in and around the Mendips
In the English countryside you will find plenty of dog-friendly pubs offering great food. Most are now gastropubs that offer better food than restaurants!
Dog-friendly things to do in and around the Mendips
There are lots of really great walks for you and your dog to enjoy. Our favourites include:
- Chew Valley Lake (dogs aren’t allowed in parts of the nature reserve area where they might disturb the birds)
- Black Down and Burrington Combe
- Hinton Blewett
There are numerous dog-friendly sights and lakes to explore including:
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