Stage 1: Uphill to Shipham — the Mendip Way
Kit P planned a hike.
February 12, 2021
The first stage of the Mendip Way (the West Mendip Way here) begins in Uphill on the edge of Weston Bay. Heading into the hills almost immediately, this is a hike of undulating fields, vibrant woodlands and open hilltops. Finishing in the village of Shipham, this 12.9-mile (20.8 km) stage brings you to the very start of the Mendips.
The easiest way to arrive in Uphill is by train to neighbouring Weston-Super-Mare and walking south to the start of the trail. The church of St Nicholas is the first stop, just a few minutes into the walk. Occupying possibly one of the best positions of any church, the views across to Brean Down are gorgeous.
Leaving the coast, the Way heads up Bleadon Hill where views over the Somerset Levels come into their own. In summer, the hill has hedgerows bursting with flowers and birds. Descend to Loxton and head over the M5 before climbing a steep trail up to Crook Peak. This delightfully craggy hilltop offers jaw-dropping 360° views of the ridgeline, surrounding fields and the coast.
Follow the ridgeline along to Wavering Down which has a trig pillar at 692 feet (211 m). Just before the road, you find Shute Shelve Tunnel hewn out of the hillside. Part of the disused Cheddar Valley train line - called the Strawberry Line - this impressive tunnel is part of a traffic-free cycle and footpath.
The final stretch leads you over fields to Shipham. This village has a small amount of accommodation and a couple of pubs but there are other choices dotted around nearby including a motel on the A38 just south of Sidcot.
February 16, 2021