A Visitor’s Guide To The Mendip Hills In Somerset
The clue’s in the name – The Mendip Hills Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a gorgeous region in Somerset, home to world-class walking, hiking and cycling opportunities.
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore this stunning part of the world, The Swan Inn is a cosy, welcoming Grade II-listed pub with rooms, with some of the best circular walks, hikes and cycle routes the Mendip Hills has to offer beginning and ending on or near its doorstep, which we’ve mapped out below. But with 9 beautiful boutique bedrooms, an all-day food offer focused on delicious pub dishes and fresh flatbread pizzas, and plenty of Butcombe beer on the taps, you might just find it hard to step out of the door!
Rowberrow Warren Circular Walk
Rowberrow Warren is a beautiful woodland walk, set on a hillside with large winding paths, and a small babbling stream meandering through the bottom.
To access the walk from The Swan Inn, cross the road to head down School Lane. At the bottom, follow the track as it curves to the right. Keep following the track past some lovely houses, after which you’ll spot a sign for the Rowberrow Warren entrance.
Once inside, follow the stream along before taking the path that crosses over the stream up into the woodland. You can explore the woodland for as long as you like before circling back down towards the stream to find the exit and returning to the pub.
Dolebury Warren & Hill Fort Circular Walk
Now a haven for wildflowers and butterflies, Dolebury Warren is the site of an Iron Age hillfort, boasting panoramic views of the Bristol Channel and the Welsh Coast on clear days!
From The Swan Inn, walk down Rowberrow Lane until you reach the A38. Turn right and continue following the A38 until you spot a set of steps to your right. Follow these down, turn right at the bottom and continue along until you reach Dolebury Warren Car Park. Here, you’ll make your way up a very steep set of steps, which will take you to the site of the Hill Fort.
Once you reach the top, enjoy the beautiful walk along the top of the ancient Hill Fort, before descending down into Rowberrow Woods. Once you reach the bottom of the woods, follow the stream back until you reach the woodland exit, before heading back to the pub.
Black Down Circular Walk
Black Down is an extensive area of heathland, and the highest point in The Mendip Hills.
From The Swan Inn, cross the road to head down School Lane. At the bottom, follow the track as it curves to the right. Keep following the track past some lovely houses, after which you’ll spot a sign for the Rowberrow Warren entrance.
Once inside, follow the stream along before taking the path that crosses the stream up into the woodland. Continue to follow the path out of the woods to the open area of Beacon Batch. At the gate, go straight across and begin a long, gentle ascent up to the trig point, where you can enjoy panoramic views across North Somerset, before retracing your steps back to the pub for a well-deserved pint!
View the full circular route.
The Strawberry Line Cycle Route
Largely traffic-free with no steep gradients, The Strawberry Line is one of The Mendip’s most popular cycle paths. The 9 mile route takes in a variety of landscapes, from the spectacular Cheddar Gorge and historic town of Axbridge, steep wooded valleys and a tunnel through the Mendips, to the flat marshes and cider apple orchards around Yatton.
From The Swan Inn, drive or cycle the short 4.8 miles to Cheddar village, where you can access The Strawberry Line path beside Travis Perkins (post code: BS27 3EE).
About The Swan Inn
Located in Rowberrow on the edge of the Mendip Hills, The Swan is a 17th century Grade II-listed pub and inn, brimming with history and a cosy, welcoming vibe.
The recent addition of five stunning boutique bedrooms above the pub, and a further four dog-friendly rooms in its converted barns (one accessible), makes The Swan the ideal spot for a rural retreat, family break or staycation.
We’re passionate about great food and drink, with an all-day food offer focused on seasonal local produce, delicious pub classics, flatbread pizza fresh from the oven, and plenty of award-winning Butcombe beer on the taps.
In the warmer months our large beer garden is ideal for al fresco dining, or soaking up some sunshine over a few pints.