Mendip is great for active people - there are opportunities to go walking, riding, cycling, climbing, caving, fishing and many other things.

If the outdoors is your thing then look at what's on offer.

50 Years of the Mendip Society

2015 saw the Society celebrating fifty years of looking after Mendip - an amazing achievement! To commemorate this historic event a full and varied program inaddition to the normal walks and talks, was organised.. The events were open to everyone and there was something happening every month throughout the year. Full details were available a special Anniversary Program.

A number of speciial projects were introduced as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations one of which is the formal establishment of the Mendip Way, combining both the West Mendip Way and East Mendip Way footpaths. The project involves signing the path in both directions from west to east and from east to west. A new guidebook is being prepared along with a supporting website.

Another project which is in progress is the publication of a new book ‘Man and the Mendips’, updating the 1971 publication which coincided with the Mendip 71 Exhibition we laid on at the Bishops Palace in Wells. If you have any memories of the early days of the Society you would be willing to share, or would be interested in getting involved in the project, then please get in contact.

Other projects are also in the pipeline so as they say, Watch This Space!

Archaeology

The Mendip Hills have a rich archaeological heritage, ranging from Mesolithic cave deposits to Second World War militaryfeatures. The landscape was exploited throughout the prehistoric with a wide range of site types including settlements and ritual landscapes.

The landscape appears to have had significance in the Neolithic, with such field monuments as mortuary enclosures and the henge-like Priddy Circles constructed during this period. There are approximately 300 barrows across the Mendip plateau, constructed between the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age, highlighting the ritual significance of this landscape. Bronze Age barrows are frequently found in linear cemeteries, such as Ashen Hill barrows and Priddy Nine Barrows. Late Bronze Age/Iron Age settlement sites such as Pitcher’s Enclosure, near West Harptree, or Dolebury hill fort, near Shipham, have been found around the edges of the higher ground. There is a concentration of possibly ritual field monuments in the centre of the plateau, but some monument types, suchas Bronze Age barrows, occur in most
areas.

Medieval and post medieval deserted or shrunken settlements and extensive relict field systems are found along the southern scarp edge of the limestone plateau in the central Mendip area. Relict field systems we re also found throughout the trial survey in the eastern Mendip Hills and a deserted element was recorded around nearly all of the settlements.

The mineral wealth of the Mendip Hills led to the development of a major Roman mining settlement at Charterhouse. Mining of lead continued in this area into the Post Medieval period, particularly around Charterhouse, Stockhill, East Harptree and Chancellor’s Farm, creating distinctive patterns in the landscape.

The extensive Second World War bombing decoy found on Black Down serves to highlight the wide range of archaeological monuments that are found in this area. The contemporary, or near contemporary, aerial photograph may sometimes be the only record for some other types of site from this period, including Prisoner of War and military bases. Two Prisoner of War camps were recorded to the north of Wells and the structures associated with an ammunition store and associated base were mapped near to Maesbury Castle.

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Walking With The Mendip Society

The Society runs a comprehensive programme of walks, almost every weekend. Details can be found in the printed programme which is widely circulated, or in the Events section of this web site.

Visitors are welcome to join our walks for a £2 donation towards the work of the Mendip Society. Walks are sometimes for members only and tghis will be specified in the Programme.

Please wear suitable clothing and boots, and please ensure that the walk grade is suitable for your fitness level. All walkers must take personal responsibility for their own safety (and that of any accompanying children), informing the leader of any personal health matter which might affect them on that walk. Unless stated otherwise, well behaved dogs on leads are welcome on walks. Assistance Dogs are welcome on all walks.

Walks Grading System

Easy. Up to 4 miles (1 - 2 hrs) with less than 50m of continuous ascent, mainly low gradients or flat. Terrain mainly undemanding, e.g. reasonable paths used, little loose rock, stones, or large areas of mud or water.

Moderate. 4 to 6 miles (2 - 3 hrs) with 50m -150m of continuous ascent, terrain undulating but either one significant hill or several smaller ones. Terrain may include small areas of rock, loose stones, mud, & minor scrub. Most walks are expected to lie in this category.

Harder. More than 6 miles of the type of walking in the Moderate class, or continuous steep ascents of more than 150m (400ft), or a number of smaller steep hills, or more than one of these features.

A number of 'Favourite Walks' are available online and can be downloaded in 'pdf' format.