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Celebrate 50 years of the Mendip Hills AONB

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

The Mendip Hills is one of 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Celebrate 50 Years of the Mendip Hills AONB

This special designation took place 50 years ago, in 1972. Mendip Activity Centre was formed in 1987 and has been creating adventurous memories for people in this special part of the world.

To celebrate 50 years as an AONB, here are some of our favourite reasons that we love the Mendip Hills and why you should consider exploring this secret gem of southwest England.

The Mendip Hills have always been a landscape ready for adventure. Whether you want to be above or below the ground, on or off the water, the Mendips is an action-packed hive of activity. From horse riding at Tynings Farm to rock climbing, paddle boarding, caving, axe throwing, archery and skiing at Mendip Activity Centre or visiting the show caves of Cheddar Gorge, there is something for everyone.

Stunning hikes and time to get active

Hiking for beginners or advanced walkers in the Mendips near Bristol

Undulating valleys, steep hills and rare limestone grasslands with butterflies, colourful flowers and lush ancient woodland. Our favourite hikes include Dolebury Warren, Crook Peak, Chew Valley, Stanton Drew and Velvet Bottom.

Mendip Hills hikes are beginner-friendly with plenty of one to two hour walks. The Railway Line is an abandoned railway line repurposed for walking and cycling; take your bike for a scenic ride up Burrington Combe or check out some of the downhill trails in Rowberrow Warren.

I am a cider drinker!

South West England accounts for the world's largest consumption of cider per capita: local cider producers Thatchers are one of the reasons for it. Myrtle Farm has been home to Thatchers Cider for four generations; a family farm with some of the finest apple-growing soil around. Try a pint of Haze, Gold, or Katy at one of our favourite local pubs, The Railway Inn, The Crown or The Lodge.

Explore the Gorge

Aerial photo of cheddar gorge, the world famous geological landmark

Cheddar Gorge is the UK's biggest gorge, a deep limestone ravine that attracts thousands of visitors every year. It's also home to Gough’s Cave where the oldest complete human skeleton was discovered in England over 100 years ago.

Exploring the gorge's spectacular cliffs and rock formations is a must, followed by sampling cheddar cheese in the village!

Nestled amongst greatness

Glastonbury music festival is a short way from the Tor

The Mendip Hills are covered in legends and ancient history. Glastonbury is home to the world-famous music festival as well as Glastonbury Tor (pictured). Rumour has it that Jesus came to Glastonbury and inspired William Blake's famous hymn, Jerusalem. Wells is known for its cathedral, historical sites and of course, Hot Fuzz, the movie starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

No flight delays! No cancellations! No passport control!

Alternatives to travelling abroad this year

Visiting Somerset & the Mendip Hills means you're supporting local people and local businesses.

Travelling locally allows you to find great value holidays, support sustainable practice and enjoy the natural wonder you may not even know exists on your doorstep!

The Mendip Hills Isn't a National Park but it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Now you've decided you're ready to visit, where to stay? Mendip Basecamp is a campsite set in the heart of the Mendip Hills. It's a perfect base to explore this Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Basecamp is in the heart of an activity centre- perfect for getting active- or you can find a secluded spot and be at one with nature.

Pricing starts from £6 a child and £10 an adult, dogs are allowed, fire pit rental is available, and bunk tent and lodge rooms can also be booked.

Book Your Stay at Basecamp at


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