Cheddar Gorge for everyone: Have your say on changes to access in Cheddar Gorge
By Arianne Smart
9th Feb 2024 | Local News
Public views are being sought on proposals to improve access to Cheddar Gorge for all who live, work and spend time in the area.
The Mendip Hills National Landscape Team is seeking feedback on its proposals to test new measures to open up Cheddar Gorge to walkers, cyclists and other visitors.
The project, Cheddar Gorge for everyone, proposes an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) to restrict vehicular access to give visitors the chance to enjoy the Gorge more safely. It would also offer the opportunity for activities and events to be organised and held in Cheddar Gorge.
The order would be in place on Cliff Road (B3135) from the first narrows (what3words app code pixel.choppers.punks) to Black Rock car park, meaning all the formal car parking would be unaffected. Initially, it is proposed that the restrictions would take place once per month.
An ETRO is a temporary measure used to help understand the impact of a proposed traffic regulation. It allows for the testing of changes to traffic flow, parking restrictions, or other related regulations on a trial basis.
Jim Hardcastle, Manager of Mendip Hills National Landscape, said: "We want to create an experience that is fitting for a naturally beautiful and significant visitor attraction like Cheddar Gorge, as we're aware of concerns about the volume of traffic and anti-social driving in the Gorge which people feel impacts safety and enjoyment of the area.
"The proposed order would allow people to experience the Gorge more safely and presents opportunities for events and activities to be held here to encourage enjoyment of one of Britain's most spectacular natural landmarks.
"But this is only the beginning of our work and nothing is set in stone. We want to see how this will work at a small scale so we'd like to know when do people think the best time and day for the monthly traffic free area, and will be looking closely at findings before we submit a formal application to the Highway Authority. We look forward to exploring more opportunities to improve the visitor experience."
Businesses in Cheddar and the car parks at either end of Cheddar Gorge would remain open as usual during the ETRO.
The consultation period is open until Tuesday, March 12th 2024. Everyone is invited to learn more about the proposals via the Mendip Hills National Landscape website and complete the survey: https://mendiphills-nl.org.uk/news/cheddar-gorge-etro.
All feedback received will be reviewed and next steps for the proposals decided.