Chew Valley & North East Somerset
South of Bristol and Bath is a delightful and hidden area of the old county of Somerset situated between the conurbation and the Mendip Hills. Characterised by rolling farmland, attractive villages and the Chew Valley, this area offers country living only a stone’s throw from all that Bristol and Bath have to offer. This area is easily accessible to Mid-Somerset and places such as Wells, Frome and Glastonbury.
Industry has been based upon livestock farming contributing to the beauty of the countryside. This developed to include coal mining around the settlements of Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Pensford and Peasedown St John with the coming of the railways and the canals, which have now either closed or have become cyclepaths. Bath developed as a spa resort in Georgian times and remains a major cultural tourism centre having gained World Heritage City status. In the 1950s, Chew Valley and Blagdon lakes were formed to serve the water needs of Bristol. Both lakes are prominent landscape features, a focus for recreation, and are internationally recognised for their nature conservation interest, because of the bird species, plants and insects.
Nature & Outdoors
80% of the area is within the Bristol and Bath Greenbelt and the area is renowned for its beautiful landscape and access to nature. There is a comprehensive network of footpaths and bridleways with cyclepaths and quiet country lanes providing great cycling opportunities. Cycling in the Chew Valley and into Bath from the local villages is popular. Parts of the area are within the Mendip Hills and Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and many events take place promoting outdoor activities and engagement with nature.
Food & Drink
Bath and Bristol offer a huge range of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes but you are spoilt for choice in this area with most villages having excellent and welcoming pubs. The offering is diverse. More formal dining is provided by the Pig at Hunstrete and Homewood Park near Freshford. Salt & Malt and Woodford Lodge are situated on the edges of Chew Valley Lake whilst a number of farm shops in the area, such as New Manor Farm, Farringtons and Meadgate, have popular cafes.
Bath and Bristol are on the doorstep but Wells to the south has a twice weekly market and Frome is famous for its independent monthly market. Clarks Village is located to the south at Street. Supermarkets are located in Midsomer Norton, Wells, Keynsham, Bath and South Bristol whilst some excellent local grocery stores and village shops are found throughout the area. There are excellent farm shops at West Harptree, Farrington Gurney and Timsbury.
There are excellent schools in the area with many villages retaining primary schools, some well established and successful secondary schools. Playgroups and facilities for younger children are found throughout the area and independent schools are readily reached.
Chew Valley, Chew Magna
Norton Hill, Midsomer Norton
Somervale, Midsomer Norton
Churchill, Near Blagdon
Cameley, Temple Cloud
Longvernal, Midsomer Norton
Norton Hill, Midsomer Norton
Norton St Philip
Somerdale, Midsomer Norton
St Johns, Keynsham
St Johns, Midsomer Norton
St Keyna, Keynsham
Two Rivers, Keynsham
King Edwards, Bath
Royal High School, Bath
The Paragon, Bath
Others available in Bristol
The area is crossed by the A38, A37, A39 and A36 with good road connections to Bristol, Bath and to the south. The M5 can be joined at J19 (Portbury), J20 (Clevedon) or J21 (Weston Super Mare). The M4 can be accessed at J18 (Bath).
Mainline rail services are available from Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway.
Bristol Airport is situated on the edge of the area at Felton/Redhill.
There are many things to do and see in Bristol and Bath. In addition, the following are within the area or nearby:
Chew Valley Lake
Wells Cathedral and City
Glastonbury Abbey and Tor
Wookey Hole Caves
It is easy to follow Bath Rugby, Bristol Rugby, Bristol Rovers, Bristol City and Bath City. There are also football clubs in the area including Paulton Rovers, Bishop Sutton AFC, Radstock Town and Welton Rovers. Rugby teams are also based at Chew Valley, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham, Wells and Winscombe.
There are sport and leisure centres in Bath, Keynsham the Chew Valley and Midsomer Norton. Much of the surrounding countryside is accessible for walking and there are a number of cycling clubs within the area.
Both Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon Lake provide extensive fishing under permit from Bristol Water. The River Chew and most of its tributaries also have fishing but this is generally under licences to local angling clubs.
Chew Valley Sailing Club is situated on Chew Valley Lake and provides dinghy sailing at all levels and hosts national and international competitions.
There are a number of golf courses within the area including at Bath, Farrington Gurney, Felton (Tall Springs), Congresbury (Mendip Springs), Saltford and Wells. Horse racing takes place at Bath and there is a strong equestrian community within the area.