Hiking in Somerset

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Walks in Somerset can involve anything from dappled riverside trails to exposed moorland treks with a good dose of farmland in between. Within Somerset’s borders you can explore four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Exmoor National Park and countless magnificent landscapes outside these areas as well.

Some of the most well-known hikes in Somerset will lead you around the countryside of Glastonbury and its famous tor. Rising from the Somerset Levels, a vast, low-lying wetland area, it can be seen for miles around. Time your walks on the Levels right and you might catch one of the phenomenal starling murmurations.

As the only AONB entirely within Somerset, the rolling hills and ancient woodland of the Quantocks make for excellent walking. The Mendip and Blackdown Hills AONB at either end of the county also offer plenty of hiking trails suitable for everything from dog walks to multi-day hikes. 

It’s not hard to fall in love with Somerset’s walks, from rivers and coastline to hills and moors, so check out the routes and get exploring.


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Somerset’s endless hilly trails

While the Somerset Levels dominate the centre of the county from the Bristol Channel to its eastern borders, many of the best hiking trails in Somerset are found in its hilly areas. The Mendip Hills lie in the very north of the county and come complete with gorges, caves and rugged, green hills. Hidden amongst this stunning scenery, you’ll find the famous Cheddar Gorge and its network of caves. The oldest complete human skeleton in the country was discovered here, aged at over 9,000 years old. 

The Quantock Hills have long been cherished for their incredible beauty. This is perhaps the best place for quintessential Somerset hikes with its variety of trails through oak forests, ancient woodland and rolling hills. Ambling its undulations, you can hike from the forested valleys to the gentle summits and look out across Bristol Channel to Wales. 

Exmoor National Park in the western corner of Somerset has so many options for walks that you hardly need to walk the same trail twice. The national park has large swathes of open moorland where you can ramble wherever you please with some of the best views in the county. 

Exmoor also has outstanding coastal walks, routes through vibrant forests and lakeside trails making it ideal for everyone from young families to intrepid explorers. 

Walking through history

Walks in Somerset tend to come with a big slice of history as the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Glastonbury Tor, just outside the eponymous town, is a clay hill that has nestled its way into local mythology and draws huge crowds throughout summer and on solstices. Sitting on the flat Somerset Levels, it would once have been an island when the surrounding land was flooded. Iron Age artefacts have also been found in the immediate area.

There are also several Iron Age hill forts within Somerset, including Ham Hill and Dolebury Camp. Hill forts always give you fantastic views of the surrounding area, even if you’re not on the lookout for enemy troops. 

In the Tarr Step Woodland in Exmoor National Park, you can find the Tarr Steps, a medieval clapper bridge spanning the Barle River. Somerset has everything from standing stones and long barrows to Roman ruins and remarkable castles. If you’re not a historian yet, you will be after spending time here.

Somerset's best walks and hikes on the map

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