In this somewhat undiscovered area of Somerset in the near south-west of England lie the Mendip Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This is one of England’s most attractive landscapes. The distinctive limestone ridge rises steeply from the flat Somerset Levels just south of the cities of Bath and Bristol and is punctuated by dry valleys and deep gorges, the most famous of which is the spectacular Cheddar Gorge.
At the foot of the Mendips lies the historic city of Wells, England’s smallest city with about 12,000 inhabitants. It can call itself a city because of the magnificent 13th century Cathedral. There was a settlement here in Roman times, probably because of the springs that bubble up and from which Wells gets its name. The source of these springs can be found today in the gardens of the moated Bishop's Palace. It remains remarkably unspoilt and has many other historic buildings including the Vicars' Close, St Cuthbert's Church and a good local museum. The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect on the continuing development of the town throughout the ages. Wells is just a short 45 minute drive from the beautiful City of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage City.
The internationally important Somerset Levels and Moors stretch from the coastal plains to the foot of the Mendip Hills. Sudden and unexpected viewpoints rise mysteriously having once formed islands in a flooded plain. The result is a unique patchwork landscape steeped in history and brimming with rare wildlife.
The Somerset Levels is home to the world’s oldest known wooden track-way and ancient lake villages. The second largest haul of Roman coins ever found was discovered here.
This is where King Alfred the Great lived and the legends of King Arthur still resonate.
It is now a magnet for nature lovers and those with creative and artistic talents who have workshops and galleries here.