2nd-7th December 2019 Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

2nd December

We are really excited about this trip to Cheddar and in particular the gorge itself. The only other gorge we have visited was the Tarn Gorge while we were staying in Millau, France. These are among some of the deepest gorges to be found in Europe so I’m not expecting Cheddar to be as dramatic.

We woke up to a frosty morning and the sun was beginning to rise as I packed the remaining items away that were outside while Angela stowed things inside. This routine we have carried out many times and we are like a well oiled machine now.

We eventually set off and after a nice easy drive of 2.5 hours we arrived at the site in Cheddar.

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/southern-england/somerset/cheddar-caravan-club-site/

After checking in at reception we filled up with fresh water then chose a pitch.

One of the good things about travelling around this time of year is that the sites are fairly empty so you have a choice of where to pitch up. This was definitely the case here today. Some people like to be near to the toilet/shower block. I prefer to be nearer to a water point, especially if we are staying for a while.

Once we had chosen a pitch the well oiled machine kicked in, Angela began to sort out the inside and I carried on with the outside jobs. We had a quick snack and a brew before going out for a little stroll.

Cheddar Club Site is situated on the very edge of Cheddar Village and boasts magnificent views of the Mendips and surrounding countryside – an absolute walker’s paradise. Amenities in the village include a variety of shops, pubs and takeaways. Cheddar Caves and Gorge and the famous Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company are all within easy walking distance of the caravan site.

3rd December

This morning was another chilly start to the day so we dressed accordingly when we went out after breakfast. We wanted to have another look around the area and in particular the main road of the gorge and the local shops. Due to the time of year and lack of tourists most of the shops were closed. Fortunately the ones we were interested in were open.

4th December

The weather is being kind to us a the moment, especially for the walk today around the top of the gorge.

Yesterday we popped into the Information centre to find out the best way to get access to the gorge walk and caves. We were advised that it would be cheaper to buy our tickets online which we did. The ticket gives you access to two cave systems, the museum of pre-history and the clifftop walk and lookout tower. The tickets are valid for a year if you wish to return.

We set off with our rucksacks filled with waterproofs, sandwiches, crisps, coffee, water and a few other nibbles. Anyone would think we were climbing the north face of the Eiger! Not the Eiger but Cheddar’s equivalent which is Jacobs Ladder, all 274 steps. Fortunately there are a few seats on the way up should you need to get your breath back.

We began the climb at 10:30am and ten minutes later we were at the top without the need to catch our breath on any of the seats. If you are able to and the weather is good, the 48 steps to the top of the tower are well worth it where you will be rewarded with stunning 360° views.

If at this point you have plenty of energy left you can continue as we did on the three mile cliff top round walk. Weather permitting you could take a picnic to eat whilst enjoying the views. We found a suitable spot on the north side of the gorge and just sat for a while enjoying the peace and tranquillity.

Snacks and sandwiches devoured, coffee and water drank we set off for the final part of the walk where we spotted a few of the Soay Goats. We saw some on the south side and even more on the north. You could certainly smell them if you could not see them!

We eventually finished the walk at 2pm and by 2:15pm we were in the pub with a well earned pint……..of cider of course!

5th December

Cheddar Man

We used our ticket to visit Gough’s cave and the pre-history museum today which was really interesting. Inside the cave we saw the remains of the Cheddar man, a human male fossil which dates back to the Mesolithic (ca. 900 BP, 7100 BC). Excavated in 1903 it is Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton. Also inside we saw where the famous Cheddar cheeses are kept while they mature. The humidity and steady temperature are ideal for this process

As it was near to Christmas there were various displays dotted around which the I’m guessing any visiting children would have enjoyed.

Neither of us have visited a cave for years and certainly not one as impressive as this. We took advantage of the audio tour which made the visit even more enjoyable and interactive.

After the tour of the cave we were ready for some refreshments so once outside we headed for the nearest café and ordered a cream tea which we thoroughly enjoyed.

On our walk back to the campsite we went into the Cheddar Cheese shop and picked up a few items to try later.

7th December

Unfortunately our last day in Cheddar as we are leaving for the New Forest tomorrow morning. We have had a great few days here and we will definitely be returning at some point. Maybe out of season again as we get it all to ourselves.

Yesterday we had a day on site getting all the laundry done and sorting the van ready for travelling so we could have a chill out day today.

We set off from site to walk to and around the Cheddar Reservoir. Great for bird watching with the occasional rare bird passing through.

We didn’t plan on eating out today but as we were passing the Bath Arms pub we could smell fish and chips and could not resist so in we went. While waiting for our meal we chatted about our time here, how much we had enjoyed it and how much we were looking forward to some walking and cycling in the New Forest.

We didn’t plan on eating out today but as we were passing the Bath Arms pub we could smell fish and chips and could not resist so in we went. While waiting for our meal we chatted about our time here, how much we had enjoyed it and how much we were looking forward to some walking and cycling in the New Forest.

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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