Ebbor Gorge and Wookey Hole
- follow a path between high gorge cliffs
- a haven for wild flowers and birds
- one of Britain's most famous caves
- woodland and streams
- views across the Somerset Levels to Glastonbury
This walk offers marvellous landscapes and superb woodland wild flowers and birdlife. The walk between the cliffs of Ebbor Gorge is a special experience and, if time allows, it is well worth stopping long enough at Wookey Hole to join the guided tour through its fascinating limestone caves.
Start by the waymarked route following the red arrows over a turnstile and down some steps. When the path levels off you come to a left turn. Follow the route marked with red arrows leading further down into the gorge. Cross a stream on a wooden bridge and follow the stream down then turn left at the next junction. At the top of the gorge follow the patch over the ancient stream bed and up tha narrow gap between the cliffs.
Turn left at the cross roads and follow the path uphill (great views here) until it opens out onto heathland. Go over a stile (by a gate). Cross a stile into a field and keep to the left hand side of the field. Notice the Radio Mast ahead on the right. Go through the gate and head towards Higher Pitts Farm.
Follow the prominent arrows to skirt round the farm and come out past the buildings and follow the farm track until it joins Dursden Drove (trackway) where you turn right. Walk between stone walls and hedges on the trackway heading towards the Radio Mast.
After about a mile the track turns left and joins another between some buildings. Go over the low stone wall just past the building on the right and follow a narrow path steeply down through woodland to Old Bristol Road.
Cross another low wall, down the bank and turn right onto the road. After 300 yards, and opposite a large cottage, turn right onto a footpath beside a pumping station (Bristol Water Works) at Holes Ash Spring.
Head diagonally across the field down towards a metal gate close to the stream (on the right - Holes Ash Spring). Over two gates onto a trackway following yellow arrows. Keep to the left (top) of the field - heading towards Glastonbury Tor - cross a gate onto Tynings Lane and turn right.
Follow the lane down then up and round into Lower Milton. Past Lower Milton Farm and Pear Tree Cottage, then round a left hand bend. Notice a farmhouse on the right with a date 1689 and an inscription (plaque) for William II. Take the footpath up some steps immediately after the farmhouse. West Mendip Way.
Cross a rather makeshift stone and iron stile and walk along the left hand side of a field towards some houses. Cross a stone squeeze stile and go through a wooden kissing gate leading out into Wookey Hole village, opposite the Visitor Centre.
Follow the path leading up to Wookey Hole/Cave and half way up take a narrow footpath opposite the paper mill on the left up the hill through the woods. Go over the stile and cross the corner of the field to go through a gate and continue uphill on a well defined path through trees.
Go through another gate into a field and keep left initially then follow the path as to veers to the right uphill. Stay on the well defined path up to a gate. Go over the stile in the fence just past the gate on the left. This takes you back to the field behind Lower (Higher) Pitts Farm. Cross to the corner of the field and round the right hand side to the gate/stile leading back into the Ebbor Gorge Nature Reserve.
This is quite an easy walk of about 6 miles, with easier options for those who want to shorten the walk and just take the marked trails round Ebbor Gorge. However, the trails can be slippery after wet weather and care should be taken if walking close to the cliff edge.
Ebbor Gorge is one of many examples in this area of striking features created by limestone erosion. Two larger gorges can be found nearby - at Burrington Coombe and the hugely impressive Cheddar Gorge - but Ebbor has the special fascination of being accessible only on foot. It is a quietly impressive place filled with natural beauty.
Dursden Drove is an ancient trackway and drove road, formerly used as a route for driving livestock. It follows the ridge along the top of the Mendips.
Ebbor Woods is a natural woodland but now owned and managed by the National Trust. It is well endowed with seasonal wild flowers and is particularly delightful in springtime. It also hosts a wide selection of woodland birds.
Wookey Hole is a popular tourist attraction and for good reason. One of Britain's largest accessible cave complexes, it was formed by the River Axe, which runs through its many chambers (more than 13 have been explored so far by divers and potholers). The caves on public view include an impressive main chamber (where the remains of Wookey's famous "witch" were found) and some beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The guided tour also takes in the historic paper mill.