Leaving Bristol to head south into the Mendip Hills is one of the pleasures afforded to those resident in this grand capital of the South West. Start with Brunel’s bridge and enjoy (the meagre fruits of the cycling city by following) the cycle path to Nailsea.
The hills are approached across flatlands until the road turns upwards through Burrington Coombe. Across the top of the hills, down into Cheddar and then up again through the Gorge. These two climbs display the increasingly spectacular geology, a taste of classic West Country riding.
For those who may be waylaid by hunger there are a myriad of choices, from the ‘70’s throwback of the Burrington Inn, to the vast menu of Cheddar Gorge (the Las Vegas of Somerset). The most cost effective strategy is a cheese and ham roll and cup of tea in the cider shop at the very bottom of the road by the roundabout where you enter the Gorge road, for those with better lined wallets and more exotic choices take your pick from the mundane to the ridiculous.
Over the top of the Mendips the road drops down to Harptree and follows through the Chew Valley Lakes (1950’s reservoirs) and back through Long Ashton. To ensure the most comfortable and stylish re-entry to the city navigate Ashton Court, a large park between Long Ashton and Clifton, and back across the bridge. Find your post ride sandwiches at the Archway Deli in Clifton Village, not cheap, but effective!