Are you looking for one of the easiest hikes from Bristol? The Mendip Hills Blackdown Hike is just that.
The Mendips is a range of hills stretching from Weston-Super-Mare in the east to Frome in the west. It is famous for green countryside, charming little rural towns, lakes, and unique flora and fauna.
Plus, it’s one of the best day trips from Bristol. At just a 25 minute drive from the city centre, it’s incredibly hassle-free to reach, and it takes about two hours to walk around.
Where is Blackdown?
Blackdown is the highest point of the Mendip Hills – from here you can see into the Bristol Channel at Weston-super-Mare and on the other side, lots of pretty Somerset Villages punctuating the hills themselves. It’s the best place in the region to get a gorgeous birds-eye view.
What is the Blackdown hike?
The Blackdown hike isn’t signposted, but it’s easy to follow. I’d recommend using at least Maps.Me to guide you around – or, if you are planning to do some more hikes in the Mendips and around South West England, maybe consider purchasing an OS map.
It’s a circular walk from Burrington Ham Car Park. Officially, it is 7.2 kilometres, but you can extend on this. We certainly went a bit off-piste, but that made it all the more enjoyable! It is fairly easy, although there are some ascents and descents, but it’s not Snowdonia or anything like that.
Highlights of the Blackdown hike
- See the vistas of the Mendips and the South West, stretching all the way to Weston-Super-Mare.
- Hang out with Exmoor ponies!
- Check out the ancient Bronze Age burial mounds
- Have fun climbing up some of the more rocky paths – it’s a favourite for mountain bikers!
How do I do the hike?
Here’s the big question – what exactly is the route, and how does one do this hike?! Read on and I’ll tell you exactly how – including how to get there from Bristol.
How to get to the start of the hike
To get there from Bristol, you’ll want to take the A370/ Brunel Way out of the city. Follow signs for Bristol Airport (you’ll go onto the A38), and just before Lower Langford turn on to the A368. Then before Upper Langford turn south to Burrington, and follow this road around until you find Burrington Ham Car Park.
Here is the map location of the car park. It is near the village of Blagdon – you can stop there for lunch after your hike!
Directions for taking the hike
- Begin the hike at the Burrington Ham Car Park.
- Cross over the road and walk straight up the hill. Keep walking uphill, aiming for the highest point. This is where you’ll find the small sign commemorating the highest point of the Mendips.
- Turn left, and walk parallel to the road that you came down before. There isn’t always a track, so keep an eye on your map and make sure that you aren’t going too far.
- Eventually, you’ll reach a bridleway – if you walk down this you’ll get to a short country road.
- After walking down the road, you can cross over again and join the moorland on the other side – the car park side. Follow the trail here until you get back to the car park.
As it isn’t signposted, it does take a bit of orienteering – but that’s all part of the fun!
What to pack for the Black Down hike
In the winter and in wet weather, this trail can be very muddy, and at the top you’ll be exposed to the elements. If it’s wet, I highly recommend taking waterproof boots and a rain jacket.
As I previously mentioned, a charged smartphone with at least maps.me installed is essential.
Take plenty of water – the hike isn’t too long or strenuous, but it’s important to keep hydrated!
After doing the Blackdown hike, you could drive into the sleepy village of Blagdon. Home to the gorgeous Blagdon Lake – which you would have been able to see from the highest point of Blackdown – and a few restaurants, it’s the perfect place to have a fuel up before exploring more of the Mendips or venturing back into Bristol.
The Seymour Arms is a friendly British pub serving up English and Indian food. They also do roast dinners on Sunday and have a vegetarian option for this, but there is a disappointing lack of vegetarian dishes on their normal menu.
The Queen Adelaide prides themselves on locally sourced ingredients, and cooks up English classics. Again, a slightly disappointing lack of vegetarian options, but marginally more than the Seymour Arms.
The easiest Mendip hike from Bristol?
This is definitely one of the easiest hikes in the Mendips if you are travelling from Bristol – you can do the hike and travel to and from the city in just over three hours. It’s also awesome to see the highest point of the Cotswolds and check out the amazing view!