A Mendip muddle

I grew up in Somerset in a little village just outside Cheddar. The Mendips were always there as a backdrop – something I never really took notice of, even when burning up and down Cheddar Gorge in my Citroen BX as an 18 year old.

Now though, the story is very different. I love galloping up Crook Peak in the early hours, creeping towards the edge of the cliffs above Cheddar Gorge, or stomping through mossy ground beneath towering trees at Stockhill Wood near Priddy.

The limestone hills of the Mendips lie to the south of Bristol. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the gorges and dramatic landscapes form a ridge across North Somerset.

There’s a huge variety of locations across the Mendips for landscape photography. It’s a bleak place in parts – great for moody, cold mornings – perfect when fog shrouds the land. Stockhill Wood, with Priddy Pool sitting ahead of it are prone to mist. Perfect for me, which is why I gravitate here often.

Some great locations to add to your landscape photography todo list for Somerset:

Crook Peak – views from here towards Brent Knoll, Glastonbury Tor and far across the Somerset Levels. Limestone ridges cut through the top of the hill making an interesting location for wide angle photography. Use a long telephoto lens to pick out Glastonbury Tor, and even the Brecon Beacons on a clear day.

Cheddar Gorge – this has to be close to the top of a landscape photography bucket list. Head up above the gorge from Cheddar, via Jacobs Ladder. Creep towards the edge and use a wide angle lens to capture light trails of cars around the famous hairpin bend. A great one for sunset.

Stockhill Wood and Priddy Pool – a wonderful coniferous woodland. The lone tree at Priddy Pool is a well known spot for photographers, with a small pool in front – great for astrophotography. Just next to it lies Stockhill, a vast woodland. I’ve spent many an hour wandering through here – you’ll find some excellent gnarly trees, although Forestry England have had to cut swathes of it down due to diseased trees.

Deer Leap – an incredible place to capture sunrise views of cloud inversions across the Somerset Levels and towards Glastonbury Tor.

Leave a comment