Natural England - Ebbor Gorge NNR

Ebbor Gorge NNR

Ebbor Gorge NNR is a largely wooded site occupying a prominent position on the southern escarpment of the Mendip Hills.

Ebbor Gorge NNR

County: Somerset

Main habitats: Woodland

Area: 41 Ha

Site map: Nature on the Mapexternal link.

Ebbor Gorge is part of the Mendip Woodlands Special Area of Conservationexternal link.

View a map of this reserve: (200kb)pdf document.

The scarp is cut by two valleys: Hope Wood valley, which has an active stream; and Ebbor Gorge, a dry limestone gorge. There are two geologically important caves on the site with deposits that include the bones of ice age mammals.

It is an ash woodland, with many other species present, including oak, wych elm, field maple, whitebeam, beech, hornbeam and hazel. Nettle Leaved Bellflower is present in the gorge. While the bulk of the NNR consists of ash/maple woodland, there are a number of woodland glades and areas of limestone grassland. Parts of the NNR are ancient woodland while other areas are secondary woodlands that have grown on previously grazed land.

The humidity within Hope Wood valley makes it ideal for ferns and fungi, and over 250 species of mosses, liverworts and lichens have been recorded at the site, some of them rare.

Areas of coppice have been cut in order to improve the NNR for woodland butterflies, notably the rare white letter hairstreak.

Greater and lesser horseshoe bats regularly roost in the gorge.

The best times to visit the reserve are spring, for wildflowers, and autumn, for colouring.

Location and access

Ebbor Gorge is 4 km north west of Wells. By car, the site is accessed via minor roads from the A371. There are two car parks near the site both on the minor road from Wookey Hole to Priddy.
Please note: the main, 3km route through Ebbor Gorge is not suitable for disabled access.

The nearest train stations are in Highbridge & Burnham (20 km to the west) and Castle Carey (20 km to the south east), both served by Wessex Trainsexternal link. Local bus services are provided by First Groupexternal link. See Transport Directexternal link for journey planning.

Two major trails pass near the reserve, Monarch's Wayexternal link and the Mendip Wayexternal link. The site is also near Route 3external link of Sustrans National Cycle Network.


The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages.

Leaflets and interpretation panels are available for visitor information.