Bubwith Acres Nature Reserve, Somerset


★★★★

The view south
Columbines

Small nature reserve on the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills; mostly grassland, with some trees, bracken and limestone exposures
Location
On the east side of Cheddar, south of Cheddar Gorge
Photo Tour (9 images)
Bubwith Acres is one of over a dozen nature reserves in the Mendip Hills, and one of the least visited since it is small, does not contain any particularly rare plant species, and is relatively far (0.6 miles) from the nearest paved road. The reserve comprises four fields, totalling 47 acres in area, on the southwest-facing side of the hills, close to Cheddar Gorge, and it is crossed by the West Mendip Way. The fields contain mostly rough grassland, mixed with bracken, scrub and a few patches of trees, most extensively along the southern edge. The land is quite steeply sloping, and elevations range from 540 to 800 feet. Plants are typical of the calcareous grassland and acidic heath that covers most of the Mendips, including early purple and green-winged orchids, cowslip, pignut, milkwort, wild thyme, small scabious, knapweed, birds-foot trefoil, and lousewort.

The northern approach, along the West Mendip Way, starts at the Black Rock parking area along the B3135, towards the upper end of Cheddar Gorge - up a steep slope through woodland, bearing left at the first junction and straight on at the second, then gradually descending across a short-grass field to a gate at the reserve entrance, marked with an information board. The path continues close to the west edge and exits the southwest corner where it meet a track which leads to Lynch Lane in Cheddar, this the southern approach. Another path heads east into the main part of the reserve, while most of the area can be seen by walking elsewhere. The fields also contain a few minor limestone exposures; most is vegetated and there does not seem to be one location better than anywhere else for wildflowers. The southwards views are good, across Cheddar Reservoir and part of the Somerset Levels towards the distant Blackdown Hills.