Recreation, Access and Tourism

Cyclists at Cheddar Reservoir, Mendip Hills AONB

The AONB offers many recreational opportunities with people drawn to the area by its beautiful landscapes and views, tranquility, variety of wildlife and rich heritage.

Walking and cycling are the most popular activities with several designated recreational routes across the AONB including the Strawberry Line, Limestone Link, The Mendip Way, Monarchs Way, and West Country Way.

Tourism is increasingly an important part of the local economy. Farmers are now diversifying to provide holiday accommodation and if other rural facilities such as shops, pubs, and public transport are to survive, they will need to attract additional business from visitors.

Businesses that provide organised outdoor activities are an important part of the Mendip Hills rural economy. Such activities include climbing, caving, abseiling, bushcraft, archery and mountain biking and contribute nearly £6 million a year to the local economy.

Cheddar Caves and Gorge, Wookey Hole Caves and Bristol Water’s Chew Valley and Blagdon lakes are popular tourist attractions also making significant contributions to the rural economy.