The Mendips & Central Somerset
Stretching from Frome in the east to Cheddar in the west is an impressive part of Somerset comprising of the Mendip Hills which roll southwards onto the Somerset Levels around Glastonbury. Characterised by an attractive landscape and bustling villages, this area includes a number of market towns and is within easy commuting distance of Bristol and Bath.
The area has a long history with the Mendip Hills having been heavily occupied during Roman times as a source of lead. Since then, livestock farming has played a significant role in the shaping of the landscape including the draining of the Somerset levels. For centuries, the Mendip Hills have provided stone for the building of Bristol, Bath and the Somerset towns. On the northern edge of the hills, coal mining developed around villages such as Chilcompton and Kilmersdon.
The settlements have a long history with Wells having been created a bishopric in 909 with the building of its impressive cathedral. It remains one of England’s smallest City and boasts a City full of character and charm. Glastonbury was previously home to an impressive abbey, the remains of which can still be explored, and is now famous for its Tor, legends and, of course, the Glastonbury Festival. Cheddar is home to caves, the gorge and the cheese whilst Frome oozes in character and has grown in popularity. In 2014, Frome was named by The Times the "sixth coolest town" in Britain. It was shortlisted as one of three towns in the country for the 2016 Urbanism Awards in the 'Great Town Award' category. In its 2018 and 2021 report on the "Best places to live in the UK", The Sunday Times listed Frome as the best in the South West. Shepton Mallet has had long history associated with cider making, being the original home of Babycham, and is an attractive town with a large number of listed buildings and being convenient for those wishing to live in Central Somerset but being able to travel to Bristol and Bath. Other popular settlements include Street, home to Clarks shoes, and Wedmore.
Nature & Outdoors
The area is renowned for its beautiful landscape and access to nature with the Mendip Hills being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Somerset Levels, a highly valued Environmentally Sensitive Area . Walking and cycling opportunities abound with a comprehensive network of footpaths and quiet country lanes providing great cycling opportunities. Cycling on the Mendip Plateau and Levels is popular.
Food & Drink
Many of the villages have great and friendly pubs with the market towns offering a huge range of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes. Babington House is located near Kilmersdon and Bristol and Bath are not far away.
Wells to the south has a twice weekly market and Frome is famous for its independent monthly market. Clarks Village Outlet Centre is located at Street. Supermarkets are located in Wells, Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury, Street and Frome whilst some excellent local grocery stores and village shops are found throughout the area.
There is an excellent provision of schools in the area with many highly rated village primary schools, some well established and successful secondary schools. Playgroups and facilities are provided throughout the area and there is a plethora of independent schools in this area.
Frome Community College
Kings of Wessex
Avalon School, Street
Bowlish, Shepton Mallet
Draycott and Rodney Stoke
Leigh Upon Mendip
Norton St Philip
St Benedicts, Glastonbury
St Cuthberts, Wells
St Johns, Frome
St Johns, Glastonbury
St Josephs, Wells
St Louis, Frome
St Pauls, Shepton Mallet
Stoke St Michael
Westbury sub Mendip
Bruton School for Girls
Kings College, Taunton
Queens College, Taunton
The area is crossed by the A37, A39, A361 and A371 with good road connections to the north and to the south. The M5 can be joined at J22 (Burnham on Sea) or J23 (Bridgwater). The M4 can be accessed at J18 (Bath).
Mainline rail services are available from Castle Cary.
Bristol Airport is situated to the north.
There are many things to do and see in the area including:
Wells Cathedral and City
Glastonbury Abbey and Tor
Wookey Hole Caves
There are football clubs in the area including Wells, Shepton Mallet and Street. Rugby teams are also based at Wells, Cheddar, Glastonbury (Tor) and Frome.
There are sport and leisure centres in Wells, Cheddar, Frome, Glastonbury and Street. Much of the surrounding countryside is accessible for walking and cycling is feasible within the area.
Caving is undertaken under the Mendip Hills with a number of caving clubs based locally.
There are a number of golf courses within the area including at Wells, Orchardleigh (Frome), Farrington Gurney, Isle of Wedmore, Wheathill and Mendip. Horse racing takes place at Bath and Wincanton.