Cheddar 2008

What did we do

This was the second year I have run a long weekend break at the beginning of May and 11 families explored the area around Cheddar in Somerset. The week before was full of weather reports of rain, floods and typhoons, but as it turned out, as is usually the case, the UK weather cheered up at this time of year.

We stayed at Broadway House Camping and Caravan Park which now has quite a cycling pedigree with it's National BMX circuit and the Cheddar downhill challange as regular events.

Saturday saw us head across the Someset levels via Wedmore in sunshine to Wells. As Englands smallest cathedral city, it's a beautiful, compact city dominated by its cathedral in the centre. The May Day fair was set up with a few high adrenaline rides sited in the otherwise peaceful market square. We spent a relaxing two hours exploring the coffee shops, Bishops Palace (Home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells for all you Black Adder fans) and a few listened to a free recital in the cathedral. The road back to Cheddar paralleled the main road and passed through Wookey. Lots of pleasant undulations that were fuelled by a strawberry stop which had to be brief as the children wanted to get back for the pool. (Yes it was warm enough)

Sunday took us on one of my favourite rides. Heading west we rounded Compton hill before heading to Churchill and Langford. At the base of Burrington Coombe we fuelled up at the cafe/restaurant which also had a good set of picnic tables, for a packed lunch, before climbing the 200 metres up Burrington Coombe onto the Mendips. This may sound hard but in reality everyone took it gradually, no-one needed to walk as the gradient was gradual and the reward was a ride across the Mendips towards Charterhouse where the Romans dug for ore to make their coins. At this point nature took a leading role and it started raining, which was actually appreciated by one member as it added to the atmosphere!! Some chose to take a diversion to Priddy, home of the annual sheep fair, the rest of us did what for some was a highlight as we cruised down Cheddar Gorge with it's every steepening sides to end up with an ice cream and in our case a chunk of cheese for supper at the bottom. Needless to say the children were back in the pool again at the campsite.

Monday took us from Wells to Glastonbury across the levels using the SUSTRANS 3 route. We took in the Glastonbury Tor having had a picnic lunch at the bottom. The views were grand and we descended into this most unique town for a look about. Fortunately Glastonbury Abbey was open for free and had tented areas and exhibitions including re-enactments in the grounds in aid of advertising Somerset museums. We stayed for a couple of hours whereupon the heavens opened and we cycled back to Wells through puddles across the levels to finish the tour.

Until next year then...the Cotswolds look good.....

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