The Mendip Way is an 80-kilometre (50 mi) long-distance footpath across the Mendip Hills from Weston-super-Mare to Frome. It is divided into two sections.
The West Mendip Way was opened in 1979 and starts at the Bristol Channel at Uphill Cliff. It climbs the Mendip escarpment affording views over the Somerset Levels. It then crosses the central Mendip plateau leading down to Cheddar Gorge and on to Wells. Most of the western section is within the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From there the East Mendip Way (~30 km, 460m elevation gain) continues through Shepton Mallet to Frome.
East Mendip Way:
The route leaves Wells by way of the path around the Bishop's Palace moat, then enters the woods at Tor Hill, a National Trust property, and passes by the top of a disused quarry. It then joins a track which was formerly used by horse-drawn transport to avoid paying tolls on the main road. This track passes by King's Castle wood, a reserve of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and the site of an Iron Age settlement. It takes the route on to the high ground of Lyatt and Furzy Sleight. Passing high above the village of Croscombe, the path then goes through Ham Woods and turns southeast to descend towards Shepton Mallet. Approaching town, the route roughly follows the line of the now derelict Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The two large viaducts that carried the railway around the town are Grade II listed building.
Leaving the town behind, the path goes over Ingsdons Hill to the hamlet of Chelynch. At Waterlip the route passes by a flooded quarry, then climbs to 280 metres (919 ft), the highest point on the Mendip Way. This is the site of Cranmore Tower, a 45-metre (148 ft) tall 19th century folly, now a grade II listed building. Asham Wood is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and the largest and most diverse of the ancient semi-natural woods in the Mendips. Further on, the hamlet of Chantry is one of the Thankful Villages which suffered no casualties in the First World War. The path then goes alongside Whatley Quarry which has been the subject of environmental criticism. At Forbury Bottom, the Macmillan Way shares the route for a short way until Great Elm. The path then leads into Frome where the Mendip Way terminates.
The GPX route follows the route as marked on the UK Ordnance Survey 1: 25 000 scale (Explorer) maps (Ordnance Survey is the national mapping agency for Great Britain). This route can also be found publicly available below.
The route listed runs from West to East as the extension to the West Mendip Way, this is often referred to as the uphill direction; the vertical gain from East to West is slightly less at 440m.
West Mendip Way:
This is the western portion of the Mendip Way (the portion that actually goes through the Mendips Hills AONB). Route description is here: https://ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=West+Mendip+Way
There is no FKT of this route so I will be giving it a go on the 19th July 2019. What better way to see Cheddar Gorge!
The unreported FKT for this route is likely held by Clare Prosser, set during the 2016 Mendip Marauder Fifty Miler in a course record time of 7:58:53.
In fact any number of unreported times from runners of this race have gone well under 11h 55m 2s. All of these would probably be classed as Supported but it seems only fair to clarify this for full transparency.
"We generally don’t track FKTs for race routes, since the race websites do that, and race results aren’t normally reported to us. But, an FKT set in a race is still an FKT."
This has been covered already but the Mendip Marauder starts 1 mile from the start of the Mendip way as doesn't include the town in Frome
In response to Teddy,
I do not think that race is relevant to this FKT. The race is in the opposite direction and has over 1000m less vertical gain. It is certainly easier heading toward Uphill than away from it.
Its not 1000m difference. Thats over 3000ft of climbing or 5 full size mendip hill climbs higher. Both ways you have big climbs just coming at them from different sides of the hill. Depends whether you'd prefer to end with hills or a flatter route into Frome. Frome is only marginally higher up than uphill i.e. sea level vs around 50m above sea level so the difference is pretty negligible which ever way you go.
The FKT rules state for a point to point run it doesn't matter which way you go and that race time would have counted if she submitted it and found out she ran on the correct route.. However having ran a few of those races their route marking leaves a lot to be desired shall we say, so no one (now) really knows if she took the right route unless she submitted it. I can't find it on Strava either. There's many ways you can inadvertently miss out big chunks of this route..
I will be attempting this route on the 31st of July 2020, supported.
How did you get on, Joseph?
I will be attempting this route (Mendip Way - Uphill to Frome) on Saturday 5th September 2020, supported
Great run Tom, I want to attempt this in October. Would be great to grab your .gpx off strava as the one on here doesn't seem to work.. Just sent you a friend request All the best..
Hello Jim, I see you’ve got access to my Strava, so that’s good. Good luck in October. The way is generally well marked. I’m also planning an attempt on the Limestone Link In October, starting at Shipham. Is that the direction you ran your unsupported run?
No I ran it finishing in Shipham just because I live down the road from Shipham, I think if I was to do it again I'd rather do it the other way though to get the hilly mendips bit out of the way first. When I did it I got to the hills in a really hot part of the day with barely any water left. You going for unsupported too? The supported time is pretty fast!
Totally agree. Thinking of an unsupported team effort. Will go from Cold Ashton though. Know sections already. First main recce tomorrow.
I'm trying this tomorrow - unsupported 16th October 2020