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Cheddar Gorge [Caving & Rock Climbing)

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

Prehistoric man was perhaps the first keen visitor to Cheddar Gorge, but he definitely won’t be the last. This limestone gorge, carved out by glacial water in the last ice age, is almost a surprise when you first come across it, hidden until the last minute by the gentle rolling grass fields of the Somerset countryside. Often named one of Britain’s finest natural wonders, these days it’s home to a herd of feral goats – and herds of visitors.

Visiting the gorge is a tale of two parts. Driving, cycling or walking down the road that winds through the gorge’s 450ft cliffs are all free. Additionally, you can also pay for entry into some of the gorge’s famed caves, including Gough’s Cave, the home of Cheddar Man (the oldest human skeleton found in Britain, who lived here an estimated 9,000 years ago).

Walking in and around the gorge is a highlight – the three-mile, signposted Gorge route is ideal for exploring on a first visit. The village of Cheddar itself is perfect for a post-walk cream tea, and has a jumble of chocolate box-pretty shops including cider shops, delis and, of course, cheese emporiums that stock locally made Cheddar, aged in caves.

Caving & Rock Climbing

The centre offers introductory caving and rock climbing tours – a great place to try either one – or both! The minimum age is 13, but there’s also a special junior version for ages 8+.

Daredevils (aged 11+) can also sign up for the ‘Leap of Faith’ in the Black Cat Chamber – a 9m freefall experience from ledge to cave floor.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

There is plentiful car parking available in and around the gorge and the village of Cheddar. The National Trust have a three-mile mapped walking route of the Gorge to follow.

When to do it

It’s open all year round, seven days a week. Expect crowds and traffic in the summer, especially during the school holidays. The winter months and weekdays are far quieter times to visit.