The Mendips is a range of limestone hills in Somerset, England. The total area covers 198 km2 (76 mi2); and the highest point is Beacon Batch, reaching an elevation of 325 m (1,066 ft). Much of the Mendips is open limestone grassland, with smaller areas of deciduous woodland.
As in the South West of England generally, the climate is on average wetter but milder than other parts of England.
There is much important wildlife in the Mendips. Notable bird species include the Peregrine Falcon which has gradually recolonized the area since the 1980s; the Dartford Warbler; Nightjars; and Long-eared Owls. The area is also important for several species of dragonflies; the Hazel Dormouse and the Greater Horseshoe Bat, a rare and endangered species.
The geology of the area lends itself to numerous outdoor activities. Erosion of the limestone in the area has created caves and the largest underground river system. The hills have become a national centre for caving and cave diving. While a certain level of experience is necessary to explore many caves, there are two show caves open to the public, Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge. Above ground, the Mendips also have some of the best limestone climbing in Britain and there’s scope for abseiling.
Walking is popular with designated open access land, footpaths and bridleways, which are usually clearly marked. Brean Down at the far end of the Mendips extends into the Bristol Channel and reveals a lovely family beach when the tide is out.
The Mendips are very accessible: they are only around 32 km (20 mi) from Bath and Bristol; and about two hours away from London.