The Queen Victoria to The Lamb
Turn left from the Queen Victoria and go along to the green and along the left side with the green’s famous hurdle stack once used for the annual Priddy Sheep Fair.
The hurdle stack is now the only reminder of an annual sheep fair on this site that began in 1348. Sadly it ended a few years back.
Leave the green and continue on the lane uphill and then level out. Reach a turning to the right.
Opposite this, on the left, go over a breeze block stile with a gate behind. Bear diagonally right down across the field, cross a stone slab stile and go straight across the next field on the same line.
Cross another slab stile onto a lane and turn left. Follow this quiet lane to a T-junction. Go straight over and cross a wooden stile into a field.
The next leg is more or less a straight line through fields and over stiles to reach the southern edge of the Mendip escarpment – so follow the left wall of the first two fields, cross a stile and simply continue on, but bearing away from the left side somewhat.
Reach a large clump of trees and a house and continue on, passing them on your left. Maintain direction. Pass the Mendip Gliding Club over on your right in the adjacent field. Now you start to get wonderful views across the Levels as you reach the plateau edge. Cross a stone stile, drop gently downhill continuing on the West Mendip Way (don’t bear away left ). The route becomes steeper and rocky. Continue down to the bottom edge and turn right along to the lane and a stile, with a gate where there is a board about the Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve.
Cross the lane, go through a gate and follow a track below the dramatic rocky edge. Go under a line of beech trees, Photo of beeches pass a dew pond. Stay to the left of this pond and continue on along the side of the hill with views down to Cheddar Reservoir, Cheddar and further on to Axbridge. Go through a gate and follow the track as it bends right uphill. At a board about the nature reserve, go left across to a metal gate. Continue across the next field to another gate and come onto Middledown Drove.
Follow this stony track left (more or less straight on) still on the West Mendip Way. Go through a metal gate and follow the stony path down passing a farm below, joining the track from the farm. Keep straight on and almost immediately bear off left on a stony path downhill under trees. Continue all the way to a gate into a field. Stay on the grassy bank along the side of the field (don’t turn up right) and when the hedge ends just continue ahead. Follow the path round to the right and drop downhill to a metal gate. The path carries on downhill through another gate and eventually reaches cottages in the small hamlet of Bradley Cross.
Turn left and reach a lane. Go right for a few yards and on a bend cross left over a stone slab stile. Go straight across the field, through a kissing gate and along the right hedge. Half way along, the Butcombe Way marker sends you right into the field at the side (there may be a new stile or gate here). Turn left, continuing on in the same direction, with the fence on your left. At the end join a path straight on along the end of gardens and by cottages. Reach the main road. Turn right. Cross with care and pass the church. Follow the pavement into the village of Cheddar.
Pass the fine medieval roofed market cross and stay left along the main street passing shops. Then go by the school entrance and soon reach the War Memorial cross. Turn left in Station Road. Ignore the first turn right (Station Road). Take the second, into a small industrial estate. Walk to the end and find the start of the Strawberry Line cycle walkway to Axbridge.
7. RAILWAY PATH
Follow the path which at first is rather enclosed by fencing but then opens out when you reach an old rail bridge. Continue on for about another mile getting fine views over to Mendip and Cheddar Gorge and across Cheddar Reservoir on the left. Reach the main road.
8. AXBRIDGE ROAD
Take the first turn left which leads along into Axbridge.
After about a third of a mile, reach the picturesque street of old village houses and into the fine square. On the far side is King John Hunting Lodge, in the care of the National Trust, and opposite is the Lamb, an important hub of Axbridge life. It dates back to the mid c15th as a coaching inn.
Axbridge prospered as a market town and from the local wool trade during the medieval period.