The Local Area
All that food will have you in need of some exercise, and the good news is that the region’s perfect for explorers. The West Mendip Way passes just two minutes from the park, and this walking route starts at Wells Cathedral and continues for 30 miles.
This spectacular route will take you along the south side of the Mendip Hills, with views of the infamous Cheddar Gorge, the Somerset Levels and Wookey Hole Caves. Whether you’re in it for the long haul or you just fancy walking a section, you’ll be treated to gorgeous scenery and photo opportunities aplenty. If you’re happiest taking in the scenery on two wheels, you’ll find some fantastic cycle routes in Draycott and the surrounding area. If you don’t mind a bit of a climb, Cheddar Gorge makes for a route you’ll never forget. Follow the road out of the village and through the dramatic limestone gorge, and if you hang in there, the gradient becomes easier on the old legs as you leave the gorge behind for the moors beyond.
There’s a day out in Somerset to suit every kind of visitor, and it’s particularly popular with history lovers. You’ll find the village of Cheddar less than a ten-minute drive from Strawberryfield Park, and there’s a quaint feel to the village that makes it feel a world away from the hustle and bustle. Park up at the gorge and browse the little shops that sit in its shadow or climb the steps at Jacob’s Ladder and peer down on the fascinating landmark from above. No matter how you choose to experience it, it’s breath-taking.
Just a 20-minute drive away, the historic city of Wells awaits. Home to a picturesque cathedral and the beautiful Bishop’s Palace, this diminutive city is a history fan’s dream. Fans of Hot Fuzz may recognise the city’s streets as the film’s setting, and there are walking tours to take visitors to the spots made famous on the big screen. Just outside Wells you’ll find Wookey Hole. Take time to step back in time at Wookey Hole Caves, a family attraction with regular events that bring the caves to life for all ages.
If there’s one thing that lures visitors to Somerset all year round, it’s got to be the food. Somerset has a reputation for serving up delicious local produce in style. Somerset’s cider and the infamous Cheddar cheese may be famous all over the world, but there’s even more to the county’s foodie scene.
You’ll find a weekly farmers’ market in the historic city of Wells, less than half an hour’s drive from the park, and it’s just the place to sample the tastes of the region. The market takes place on Wednesdays, so make sure you stock up local produce and cook up a storm back at your eco lodge, and be warned, it’s impossible to resist those tasters as you make your way around! Speaking of Cheddar cheese, you can head to Cheddar Gorge just a ten-minute drive away and see the cheese being made for yourself. There’s a friendly cheese maker right in the village, and they’ll show you how the national treasure that’s good old Cheddar starts its life.
One of the best things about the park’s setting is the wildlife, and there are some beautiful nature reserves within easy reach for those of you keen to see more.
Draycott Sleights nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within walking distance from Strawberryfield. Pick up the little road that leads north east from the village of Draycott itself and you’ll find the reserve less than a mile away. Home to bats, hares, butterflies and birds, this is a tranquil place to spend a few hours and see what you can spot. It’s common to see skylark and meadow pipit during the summer months, and flocks of goldfinches during the autumn and the winter. The Draycott Sleights reserve is best-known for the blue butterflies that call it home, and you’re most likely to see them in June and July.
Bath (24 miles) – The Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, Putteney Bridge, The Royal Crescent, Jane Austen Centre, Landsdown Hill racecourse, Bath’s Assembly Rooms, Sir William Holburne’s art collection.
Bristol (22 miles) – Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Cathedral, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Cabot Tower, Bristol harbour and aquarium.
Cribbs Causeway (20 miles) – The Mall is situated on the outskirts of Bristol and includes over 130 top name stores and a retail park.
Clarkes Village (9 miles) – An outlet shopping village in Street with over 90 high street and designer retailers.
Longleat House & Safari Park (22 miles) – Longleat House is the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bath and is a stunning example of traditional Elizabethan architecture. Longleast Safari Park is home to over 500 animals and covers a total of 9,000 acres. Both and great days out within the local countryside.
Glastonbury Tor (8.2 miles) – Full of history, Glastonbury Tor is one of the most spiritual sites in the country.
Brean Down (13 miles) – Standing 97 metres high, Brean Down is one of Somerset’s most beautiful days out. Discover the Roman temple, Plamerston Fort or Somerset’s greatest natural pier with a 1.5 mile walk. Brean Down offers views over the Bristol channel toward South Wales and the Somerset Levels.
Sand Point (12 miles) – Perfect for picnics and a day out to discover the local wildlife.
Clevedon Court (13 miles) – This 14th century manor house & 18th century terraced garden is a remarkable survival form the Medieval period.
Tyntesfield (13 miles) – Within close proximity to Bristol, this Victorian Gothic revival house has beautiful gardens, flower filled terraces and plenty of woodland.
Montacute House (21 miles) – A masterpiece of Elizabethan architecture and design with towering walls of glass and surrounding gardens. Perfect day out of beauty and wonder.