Deer Leap has stunning views across the Somerset Levels towards Glastonbury Tor and the Bristol Channel. The large field, next to the car park, provides the perfect spot for a picnic. Nearby is the pair of standing stones, spaced the distance apart a deer can leap, which give the reserve its name.
I am the Somerset Wildlife Trust voluntary manager of the Lynchcombe nature reserve. Found on the south-west facing escarpment of the Mendip Hills, the site is divided by a steep sided woodland valley - the combe. Like Deer Leap, below, this site has some of the best views in Somerset.
Draycott Sleights & Housegrounds
Draycott Sleights and Housegrounds form part of the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills. The Sleights is famous for its limestone grasslands and panoramic views. A line of beech trees, visible for miles around, provides an avenue to a dew pond. The Housegrounds is a favourite with my sons because of its overgrown, disused barn - which they call the 'Hairy House'.
Strange name for a pretty strange reserve that contains streams that disappear into large swallets, collapsed caves, old mineshafts, and bluebells that grow in the open rather than in woodland. This reserve has plenty of character.
The car park at Black Rock has provided the starting point for many family walks across the Mendip Hills to Cheddar, or along to Velvet Bottom and Longwood.
Neighbouring Lynchcombe these fields are mainly unimproved grassland with rocky outcrops supporting limestone communities. Exposed on the Mendip scarp this reserve has fantastic views across the levels.
Small is beautiful. These fields are full of flowers, grasshoppers and crickets during spring. The lower vantage point provides opportunities for a closer view across the Levels than from up on the Mendips.
With my son we have had many visits to Chancellor's Farm to attend volunteer reserve manager meetings. However, it is usually late evening so we miss the sight of its flower meadows high on the Mendip Hills.
A series of fields stepping up from Black Rock towards Charterhouse. This grassland is rich in archaeology as well as plants.