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Ebbor Gorge [Near Wookey Hole] National Nature Reserve

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Geoff Reid:
Upper Milton, Nr Wookey Hole, Wells, Somerset, BA5 3AH

Off the A371 between Cheddar and Wells or down the hill from Priddy towards Wookey Hole.

How we got there: [1] Take the Titlands Lane turning off the main A371 towards Wookey Hole.  [2] Pass the Wookey Hole visitor centre on your right-hand-side before bearing/turning left [3]onto Kennel Blatch and travelling out of Wookey Hole village. [4] After 500 metres bear right into Deerleap - this is a single track lane with passing places and is often busy at weekends ! [5] Ascend the STEEP hill for 600 metres then turn into car park on right. 

If you arrive in Wookey Hole by another route and find the visitor centre to be on your left hand side: Continue onwards, passing the the Mill on your right hand side and then follow instructions above from point [4].

Start: Natural England Car Park [Free Parking] on Deerleap. 
 
Start (OS ref): ST 520 485

Opening Times: The Gorge is open to visitors all year round.
   
Car Park: The car park is open from 9am until dusk.

Distance: Variable - see below
   
Time: Variable - see below
   

Difficulty: 

* 100m Easy access path - suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs - allow 15 minutes
* 1 km Woodland Ramble - Easy to Moderate: Steep steps & moderate slopes - allow 30 minutes
* 3 km Gorge Scramble - Moderate to Strenuous: Steep steps, moderate to steep slopes and some rock scrambling. Features: shallow caves, limestone outcrops, scree slopes and main viewpoint. Sign suggests allowing 1 hr [we think the sign is wrong, the main gorge route route is 3km long and we thoroughly enjoyed taking 2 hrs to do it! ]
Way point elevation data for the 3km Gorge scramble - click thumbnail to enlarge



Hazards: Woodland ramble: Steep steps.  Gorge scramble: Steep steeps, some loose scree and rocks, unguarded cliff faces.
   
Refreshments: Bring your own

Natural England - Ebbor Gorge
   


Sunday 21st July 2013 - Our 12th Wedding Anniversary :)

We've enjoyed several very active weeks recently so it was perhaps inevitable that: 1. Sooner or later we would sleep later than planned and, 2. Tia the Dobermann couldn't maintain her 'get them up at 05.00 every Sunday morning for more than a few months >:(  .....

...so we left the house almost 4 hours later than planned meaning we were messing about in higher temperatures than we wanted.  Not that this in any way cooled our enthusiasm  :uglystupid2: and we enjoyed ourselves at Ebbor Gorge before having a picnic on Morgans Hill [SU 029 670] on the Wansdyke Path,  7 km South West of Avebury.


We rocked up at Ebbor Gorge, took a quick look at the available trails and decided that the Gorge Scramble was the tastiest dish on the menu.  Plotting the trail revealed the information on the board to be a little inaccurate, but no matter. It is closer to 3km than 2km but if you rush round it in just 1 hr you'll miss more than you'll see, and anyway, what's the rush?

Click any thumbnail to enlarge the picture :)


The Natural England Information Board at the Ebbor Gorge car park





The Willow Bear

The walk starts in the car park at an [ASL] height of 180m (590 ft) before descending quickly, (via steep steps set into a ballast path), to the floor of the Hope Wood Valley where Tig found the Willow Bear lurking beside the stream.



The trail follows the stream downwards through Hope Wood Valley before turning North into the [dry limestone] Ebbor Gorge and, (at just under 1 km) starting an easy to moderate ascent for the next 200 metres until the 1km mark at which the ascent steepens as the climb to the 200m (656 ft) head of the gorge begins properly.

A bit further up and shallow caves start appearing on both sides and large limestone cliffs are leaning in above our heads. The air is, (thankfully), just a little cooler here and the shade allows me to take my hat off - our cliff walk from Lands End left my unprotected dome looking exactly like the head of a Swan Vesta match so I'm being more careful with my pate these days  :embarassed:

I scamper ahead of Tig, (for 'scamper' read: 'wheeze & lumber'), to snap this piccie:

Tig at the start of an easy'ish rock scramble



By the time I'd got my breath back Tig had passed me, sure-footed as a mountain goat, and was waiting patiently for me to catch her up :)



On reaching the head of the gorge the trail turns South for a few hundred metres, (passing the 'Woodland trail' turning on the left ), until it terminates abruptly at the cliff face/main viewpoint where Tig took immediate advantage of the sun and stretched out like bloody lizard at the edge of the cliff while I simultaneously heated up and indulged in a bit of vertigo.....



I love a good view and think it's well worth the extra effort to get to a decent view.  Getting steadily lighter and fitter whilst doing it almost makes it seem like I'm getting paid to do it. Sweet  )))) 



Glastonbury Tor (6.33 straight-line miles away) visible dead centre



We spent about 30 minutes admiring the fantastic-if-slightly-hazy view before I prised Tig off the rocks and headed back into the shade under the trees again.  I think the air temperature was about 32 degrees at the viewpoint, too hot for me but just 'warm' enough for her apparently.

A few metres back down the trail and we turned right and began descending the 'easy' trail back to the foot of the gorge.  Compared to the scramble up the centre of the gorge, this descent, although steep in places, is much gentler on the feet and leg muscles.  Once at the bottom we followed the section of the woodland trail which returns to the South Eastern end of the car park by a continuously rising path which is guaranteed to give your calf muscles something t o think about having already been down then up, back down and now going up again :)

I later mapped the trail using my OS subscription and think the following is quite accurate:

Total distance: 1.74 miles (2.8 km)

Elevation range:  659.45 ft (201 metres) at highest point - 289.7 feet (88.3 metres) at lowest point


A lovely conservation area to visit, we could easily spend the best part of a day there with a picnic.  Two major trails pass near the reserve, Monarch's Way and the Mendip Way. The site is also near Route 3 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

Muggins:
A couple of years ago, we were tempted to do it, I think they had promoted it on one of the TV programmes. Let's put it this way, it's just as well you did it on your 12th anniversary, wish we had! 

I was 34 on our 12th, not a thing to be tackled on your 45th that's for sure.  I would REALLY have enjoyed that experience Geoff.  Still the ride was pretty good anyway. We got down a little way but went back up before we couldn't. 

Mart:
How come you can load your own piccies so easily? Drives me nuts. I use a phone by the way.

Anyway, the Dorking stretch of this was my playground as a kid, probably about a 10 mile stretch anyway, into about Abinger.

When I think of hills and compelling landscapes, this is what I think of.

http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/northdowns/

I mean, come on......



Administrator Comment picture added permanently to server & post - GR

Geoff Reid:

--- Quote from: Muggins on July 22, 2013, 06:28:50 PM ---A couple of years ago, we were tempted to do it, I think they had promoted it on one of the TV programmes. Let's put it this way, it's just as well you did it on your 12th anniversary, wish we had! 

I was 34 on our 12th, not a thing to be tackled on your 45th that's for sure.  I would REALLY have enjoyed that experience Geoff.  Still the ride was pretty good anyway. We got down a little way but went back up before we couldn't.

--- End quote ---

Yep, you would love it.  I also reckon you'd be able to identify many of the pretty flowers and fungi, which I couldn't identify any  :embarassed:

Geoff Reid:

--- Quote from: Mart on July 22, 2013, 07:09:37 PM ---How come you can load your own piccies so easily? Drives me nuts. I use a phone by the way.

Anyway, the Dorking stretch of this was my playground as a kid, probably about a 10 mile stretch anyway, into about Abinger.

When I think of hills and compelling landscapes, this is what I think of.

http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/northdowns/

I mean, come on......

--- End quote ---


Yep... perhaps it's because I'm more entertained by a good view than a bad soap, but I always experience a bit of incredulity when people say: "I'm bored, there's nothing to do around here".


Members: The limits on attachments to posts were removed last week, (The TS empire keeps expanding so we decided we might as well upgrade again and have unlimited server space and traffic), but if you still have trouble getting your piccies up we can so it for you if you mail 'em to admin@talkswindon.org - we'll sort the hosting then send you the link to include in your posts :)

This piccie is actually destined for another post, but proves the point that big views are just a few miles outside of Swindon.  This was taken at Morgans Hill [SU 027 671] just South (on the Devises side) of the Beckhampton (A4/A361) roundabout.

Click to enlarge



The Cherhill monument [SU 049 693] is just visible up and to the right of Tig, (we'll be taking a walk to that soon), I reckon this landscape will look just as good under ice or snow, but Tig probably won't be going horizontal for that picture....

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