Steeped in history and filled with spectacular scenery, the Strawberry Line is one of Somerset’s hidden gems. Situated close to the major tourist destinations of Wells, Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea, a visit to the Strawberry Line is easily incorporated into any Somerset travel itinerary. But why you you venture to this fascinating area? Read on to find out…
- What is the Strawberry Line?
- Where is the Strawberry Line?
- Cycling along the Strawberry Line
- How did the route come about?
- Strawberry Line map
- What can you see on the route?
- Where to stay when visiting the Strawberry Line
- To conclude: Visiting the Strawberry Line
What is the Strawberry Line?
Labelled as ‘a traffic-free route from the Mendips to the sea’, The Strawberry Line is a beautiful 10-mile walking route. It has a limestone dust that means wheelchairs and pushchairs can be taken along the route as well as bicycles- it is a great example of accessible tourism!
The Strawberry Line is one of the best heritage trails in the country, and provides a brilliant opportunity for locals and visitors to spend time in nature and enjoy the fresh air of the area. Footpaths and bridleways link the route together. It can be accessed in various ways, and is a popular way to spend a day in the area.
Most of the route is designated as a Local Nature Reserve, which means it’s a great way to spot some incredible wildlife and get close to nature. The flora and fauna is very diverse here.
The Strawberry Line got its name as the original railway line was so often used to transport juicy red strawberries from the fields of Cheddar.
Where is the Strawberry Line?
Located in Somerset, the line extends from Yatton to Cheddar. It follows the now-dismantled Cheddar Valley Railway Line from Yatton Railway Station all the way to Cheddar.
The Strawberry Line can be accessed from a few different villages. So if you’re staying in Somerset, it’s definitely worth visiting if you fancy a nice walk or bike ride. You can get to it from:
- Yatton (via Yatton Station or Biddle Street)
- Congresbury (via the A370 and Dolemoor Lane)
- Sandford (via Carditch Drove, Nye Road or Station Road)
- Winscombe (via Ilex Lane, the A371, Recreation Ground, Fullers Lane, King’s Wood, or the A38)
Visitors from outside of the area can find car parking in any of these four villages. The most popular car parks for walking the Strawberry Line are the Yatton Railway Station car park, which incurs a charge, or the Winscombe Recreation Ground car park which is completely free. While there are no specific car parks for the route itself, you can use these or any other village car parks before heading to the Strawberry Line. You can also book a parking space using Just Park.
Cycling along the Strawberry Line
There are no steep gradients along the route, which makes it perfect for cycling. As it is also traffic free (for the most part) it makes for a safe, family-friendly cycling route.
Because of the ever-changing and beautiful landscape, a bike ride along the Strawberry Line is a really enjoyable way to spend the day. Ongoing improvements mean that the ride is fairly smooth, and takes about 54 minutes – as opposed to almost 3.5 hours by foot.
Remember to wear a helmet and take care in adverse weather conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride!
The Strawberry Line forms the National Cycle Network’s route 26. It is well signposted, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest should you need it.
If the weather is good, you’ll have the best day cycling along the Strawberry Line!
How did the route come about?
In 1978 a group known as the Strawberry Line Society (SLS) managed to persuade the North Somerset Council to buy the dismantled railway line between Yatton and Axbridge. The council then leased this area to the SLS as a walk and nature reserve. In time, the SLS became a registered charity and were able to extend the railway path route to Cheddar.
The SLS and some associated groups are keen for the existing Strawberry Line to be extended further, from Yatton in the north to Clevedon and from Cheddar in the east to Wells and Shepton Mallet.
Strawberry Line map
The map below shows the route of the Strawberry line and where in Somerset it is located.
As you can see, it passes between Yatton and Cheddar and there are proposals for it to be developed toothed nearby towns and villages.
What can you see on the route?
Exploring the Strawberry Line is a great way to spend a day, whether by bike or on foot.
At 10 miles long the route travels through beautiful Somerset and offers a variety of stunning landscapes. The biodiversity here is outstanding, and the local community take great care of this route.
Be sure not to leave any rubbish behind on your journey (remember your sustainable tourism principles!), and bring your camera with you as you’ll be in awe of the gorgeous scenery all along the route!
These are just some of the highlights of this amazing 10-mile, traffic-free line.
At this part of the route, the Strawberry Line runs through the Thatchers Cider Company orchards.
The fragrant air here will give you a new lease of life, and the symmetry of the landscape is satisfying to look at.
Pop into the Thatchers Farm Shop to try some extremely local cider!
Sandford Station is nearby. It has been restored to its original Victorian looks, and has a wonderful heritage centre inside too. It is open over the weekend from April through to the end of October.
Thatchers are a family owned cider company, and the family have lived and worked in Somerset for four generations. They are currently pledging £1million of cider to help British pubs across the country get back to business following the devastation of the global pandemic.
There is a community-run Strawberry Line Café which you can find at Yatton Station. Enjoy some light refreshments here before you start your walk along the stunning route. You’ll head across the ancient Northmarsh (otherwise known as the North Somerset Levels).
This area goes back to Palaeolithic times, and support a huge variety of plant and bird species.
The Somerset Levels as a whole are incredibly important.
They are home to 32 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 12 of which are also Special Protection Areas. The Levels are an area of around 160,000 acres with beautiful views, rolling hills and bright green grass.
The area has been studied extensively because of its fantastic biodiversity and rich heritage, meaning it is also a popular tourist area in Somerset.
Shute Shelve Tunnel
Another great part of the Strawberry Line is the Shute Shelve Tunnel, under the Shute Shelve Hill.
It is a 165-metre long tunnel that you can safely walk through.
The geology changes from soft marl to hard limestone, and tunnel has rare cave spiders and various species of bat.
In the winter, the outside of tunnel is surrounded by frost and snow making for some very atmospheric photographs if this is something you are interested in!
Note: Be aware that the tunnel is completely closed during bat roosting season. It is controlled by the Axbridge Caving Group.
Winscombe Millennium Green
If you’re near by Winscombe Millennium Green on a warm summer evening, keep an eye out for glow worms!This is one of few places where you can spot them, and it’s an exciting experience.
The old train station here is now a village green complete with an intact platform, Great Western Railway seats and more.
Oak and Ash trees provide plenty of luscious greenery, and there is a range of animals here too.
And next to the green is Winscombe’s shopping centre, the perfect place to stop for a snack or to pick up anything you might need during your trip to Somerset.
The Strawberry Line cycle route goes straight through the centre of Axbridge– a stunning medieval town, the only part of the line to go through anywhere more suburban.
Here you can see the old King John’s Hunting Lodge, pop into a tea shop for some traditional British afternoon tea, or admire the Church of St John the Baptist which dates back to the 13th century.
Axbridge has some incredible architecture, and makes for a great base for your Somerset trip. There is plenty to do in and around the lovely town, too.
Find out everything you need to know about Axbridge in this blog post. It really is a lovely place to stay if you’re planning a trip to Somerset any time in the near future. Axbridge is also a great place for a staycation.
You’ll pass the north edge of the Cheddar Reservoir on the Strawberry Line, which is breathtaking – especially at sunset! The route ends in Cheddar, famous for its cheese and the Cheddar Gorge.
There is so much to see and do in Cheddar, like seeing how cheese is made, heading into the caves or enjoying a delicious cream tea- I definitely recommend visit!
Where to stay when visiting the Strawberry Line
There are plenty of places to stay in and around the Strawberry Line. Some accommodations are in rural areas, but most are in the towns.
You can take a look at the accommodation options available on your travel dates using the map below, or keep scrolling to see my personal recommendations…
Strawberry Rose Cottage
We spent our few weeks staying in the beautiful Strawberry Rose Cottage. This was a traditional three bedroom cottage with a gorgeous open fire place and a little outside courtyard.
It was just a few minutes walk away from the town centre of Cheddar.
The owner of this cottage is a lovely lady and I will never forget the kindness that she showed me and my children during the time that we were left with no place to stay during the COVID lockdown in the UK.
The cottage had everything we needed from kids cutlery and a high chair to matches to light the fire and a tumble dryer. I couldn’t have asked for any more, IT WAS JUST PERFECT!**Click here for current prices and availability at Strawberry Rose Cottage.**
Tor Farm Lodge
If you’re looking for a little luxury then this is a great place to come. Tor Farm Lodge has a swimming pool and a hot tub!
It’s a little bit rural, but if you have a car then this is no problem at all. It is also conveniently located to visit other areas such as Weston Super Mare, Burnham-on-Sea and Glastonbury. Axbridge and the Strawberry Line are both worth a visit too.**Click here for current prices and availability at Tor Farm Lodge.**
The Bath Arms Hotel
If hotels are more your thing then the best place to stay in the Mendip Hills is without a doubt the Bath Arms Hotel.
With a restaurant and a bar onsite, The Bath Arms Hotel offers adult-only accommodation.The rooms are spacious with a flat-screen TV, a work desk, and tea and coffee making facilities.
One of the best thing about this hotel is the breakfast! The Bath Arms Hotel offers an extensive breakfast menu including full cooked breakfast and Eggs Benedict. The restaurant also serves a daily menu with traditional pub favourites and a wide range of drinks are available from the bar.During the warmer months, guests can dine in the beer garden.
To conclude: Visiting the Strawberry Line
As you can see, the Strawberry Line is well worth visiting if you are in Somerset! Actually, the Strawberry Line is only one of the exciting places to visit in this area- I highly recommend that you also check out Cheddar, Wells, Axbridge and the Mendip Hills too!