Walk Distance: 3.1 km
Walk Duration: 40 mins
OS Landranger 182 Weston-Super-Mare; OS Explorer 141 Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West
Puschairs, babies in backpacks, little legs & all the family;
Nature reserve, point of historic interest, great picnic spots, great route for toddlers, there-and-back again route.
If you’re visiting Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole Caves or anywhere in the lovely Mendip Hills, this short and simple stroll down Velvet Bottom, near Charterhouse, is a delight for all ages and a great place to take a picnic and pushchair. The path down Velvet Bottom is wide, stony and easy to follow before changing to a grassy and smoother path a little way down. Whilst a bit bumpy in places, presents no problems for a cross-country buggy or sturdier pushchair and our 19 month year old managed a sizeable amount of the walk along Velvet Bottom on foot at a good-paced toddle.
Velvet Bottom with its curious name, aptly describes the green and ‘rabbity’ soft lush grass which carpets the gentle banks and meadows along the path. It’s a real sun-trap and a great place to take a stroll and then relax in a quiet spot whilst younger members of the family run wild.
Roadside parking is available in lay-bys near the walk start or else there is a car park at the nearby Charterhouse Centre. The start of the Velvet Bottom Pushchair Walk is through a large gateway on the west side of the road) (the opposite side to the off-road parking lay-by). If you passed the Charterhouse Field Centre just before parking, the walk start will be back behind you a little on the right hand side of the road. The gate has a clear sign and information board next to it for Velvet Bottom Nature Reserve, so you shouldn’t go wrong.
Head through the gate and follow the stony path gently downhill and around to the right. There are lots of big banks along here full of rabbit warrens – keep an eye out for our hopping, furry friends!
The path continues down over the old buddles and remains of the slag heaps from Velvet Bottom’s mining days. Lead has been mined at Velvet Bottom since before Roman times and intermittently until the Victorian Age, with the strange, gently carved landscape reflecting this past industry – both with the buddles (round pits used to wash and separate lead ore) to the flat and grassy grass at the bottom of the valley which are the remains of dams and settling beds used in the mining process.
Follow the path in its gentle descent until it opens out onto a grassy track in wider, flat meadows and smoother pushchair walking. Eventually the path reaches a short, stony drop and if you are walking with a pushchair it is best to stop at this point – the path continues down similar rocky drops beyond (and our cross country buggy got two punctures when we tried out getting to the bottom). Take time for a picnic or run-around in this sheltered, green spot before heading back up to the start of the walk the way you came.
For those looking for a longer half-day walk (& without a pushchair), you can continue on down to the bottom of Velvet Bottom and carry on to Cheddar by turning left at gate exiting the reserve. Alternatively you can turn right to create a circular loop back to Charterhouse via the West Mendip Way and quiet roads. Any of the maps recommended above will show both routes clearly.
Map of Route:
The Velvet Bottom Pushchair Walk is most easily accessed by car. The 683 bus service between Keynsham and Wells offers a very limited Hail & Ride service to Charterhouse Field Centre but is unlikely to be of much help to walkers.
Parking is available on the roadside by the start of the walk or in the car park at nearby Charterhouse Field Centre.
View Velvet Bottom Walk in a larger map
Rate this walk: