We did this Cadbury Camp walk on a boiling hot summer’s day, although it would also make a lovely autumnal stroll! It’s just a short drive out of Bristol and totally worth it for the gorgeous North Somerset views.
Why you should visit Cadbury Camp
The National Trust-managed Cadbury Camp is the site of an ancient Iron Age hill fort on the ridge above the village of Tickenham in North Somerset, around 35-minutes drive from Bristol. The fort – now a sloped, circular mound of grassy banks and ditches – dates back to the 6th century BC and is believed to have been constructed by the Dobunni Tribe who lived in the region at the time. They chose this location for its high position and (cracking) views over the land below.
Although one of several National Trust sites near Bristol, Cadbury Camp is one of the lesser-known and more infrequently-visited, yet arguably one of the most beautiful and unspoilt spots in the area. While I’ve been a National Trust member for years, Cadbury Camp only crept onto my radar recently (and I thought I’d covered most places near Bristol!), when my search for wide-open, interesting spaces to take the kids became my daily mission following quarantine restrictions.
Located in deep countryside, not only does Cadbury Camp boast flabbergastingly beautiful panoramic views over majestic Mendip hills, patchwork fields and the Bristol Channel, it also naturally ticks all social distancing boxes. So if acres of space, very few people, spectacular views and local wildlife spotting sounds like your kind of day out, Cadbury Camp is the perfect antidote to weeks of imposed lockdown.
How to get to Cadbury Camp Hill Fort
If you’re driving, the best place to aim for is Tickenham Village Hall, 205 Clevedon Rd, Tickenham, Clevedon BS21 6RX, where there is parking. If the car park should be full for any reason, you should be able to find parking on a nearby road in the village fairly easily.
Footpaths lead from here up to the fort – check out The National Trust’s step-by-step walking trails for the Cadbury Ramble (2 miles) or The Cadbury Climb (about 2.5 miles). Both trails pass through woodland and open fields and can be done by young children (mine are 6 and 4 and managed fine with only minimal parental carrying).
Although a National Trust-managed site, there are no entry fees at Cadbury Camp.
You can check out the exact location of Cadbury Camp Hill Fort on Google Maps here.
Best time to visit
As with most places, going early is normally a good bet, especially if you’re planning on doing the walk with kids in summer. That way you can get the steep climb out of the way while they have bags of energy and before it gets too hot – wishful thinking with English weather perhaps, but it was scorching when we visited and we made the mistake of starting the walk in the midday sun.
Insider tips for visiting Cadbury Camp Hill Fort
If any of your party suffer from hayfever, make sure you are prepared beforehand – the long grass can really set it off during spring and summer. Ticks are also known to be rife up here, so remember to check yourselves at the end of the walk!
If you’re planning a picnic, it’s worth saving it for when you reach the hill fort at the top (or on a hot day, a nearby shady tree). From its age-old ramparts, you can see for miles – all the way out to Sand Point on one side, and across to the Severn Bridge on the other.
To imagine the fort in its heyday, hunt down the artist’s impression, which can be found on National Trust interpretation panels at the Severn Bridge-view side of the hill fort.
Other things to see while you’re there
Cadbury Camp is an important conservation area that is being gradually restored into a haven for native wildlife, which means there’s all kinds of creatures to spot while you’re strolling. Visiting on a hot day in May, we were treated to buzzards swooping overhead, bright blue hovering dragonflies, roaming cows, butterflies fluttering past our faces, grasshoppers and crickets catapulting themselves out of the grass wherever we trod (and whose chirping in the heat made us feel like we’d been transported to Tuscan field). It’s said that adders can sometimes be seen in these parts too, so keep your peepers peeled!