The best natural attractions in Somerset
The United Kingdom is a very attractive and popular country among visitors. There are dozens of tourist destinations and attractions in this beautiful country, ranging from fantastic historic towns and monuments to breathtaking natural wonders. One of the spectacular counties of the United Kingdom is Somerset. Located in South West England, it is a county dominated by rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills, the Exmoor National Park, the Mendip Hills and the Quantock Hills, also huge flat lands including amongst others the Somerset Levels. There are numerous natural attractions in Somerset, such as hills, national parks, lakes, rivers or caves. It is a perfect destination for nature-lovers.
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor is an area of open moorland situated in west Somerset and north Devon. The region got its name after the River Exe. Exmoor was designated as a National Park in 1954. The national park includes such beautiful areas like the Brendon Hills, the Vale of Porlock or the East Lyn Valley. The total area of the Exmoor National Park is about 690 km². It was once a Royal forest and also a hunting ground. There are numerous spectacular and breathtaking areas within the Exmoor National Park. These have been declared Sites of Special Scientific Interest because of their fantastic flora and fauna.
It is an impressive limestone gorge lying on the southern part of the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar. The breathtaking gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, the place where the United Kingdom’s oldest complete human skeleton, estimated to be over 9.000 years old, Cheddar Man was found in 1903. The caves were produced by the erosional activity of an underground river and contain fantastic stalactites and stalagmites. Two of the caves are open to the public: the huge Gough’s Cave and the smaller Cox’s Cave, both named after their discoverers. The breathtaking gorge attracts about 500.000 visitors each year.
Ebbor Gorge lies on the southwestern part of the Mendip Hills, being a limestone gorge, located close to the town of Wells. It was designated as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1952. The site is owned by the National Trust, as a National Nature Reserve. It is a perfect destination for the lovers of nature and outdoor activities, as there are three marked hiking trails of varying lengths and various beautiful caves within the area of the gorge.
Wookey Hole Cave
Located on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills near Wells, this attraction is a show cave which can be found in the village of Wookey Hole. Just as Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole cave was formed through erosion. It was occupied by humans in the Iron Age. The cave is well-known for the Witch of Wookey Hole which is actually a roughly human shaped rock. The legend says a witch was turned to stone by a monk from Glastonbury. It is also a well-known fact that this cave is the site of the first cave dives in Britain. The temperature is constant low, 11 °C, which means that the cave is perfect for maturing Cheddar cheese.