LET'S MOVE TO Cheddar
Country Homes & Interiors|August 2021
GORGEOUS SUNNY SPOT, FAMOUS FOR YOU KNOW WHAT…
SOPHIE GALE

This sweet and sunny corner of Somerset is named for the surrounding cavernous landscape. The name of Cheddar is believed to derive from Old English ceodor or ravine, and Cheddar Gorge is the UK’s deepest at 137m. It is also famous for strawberries, which in the glory days were rushed to market via the picturesque Strawberry Line, and are still grown on the lower slopes of the Mendip Hills. Of course, there’s one other notable association: a certain cheese. There is a predominantly older demographic to this large village, but the average figures might be skewed by the 10,000-year-old Cheddar Man. His bones were discovered in Gough’s Cave in 1903.

IN THE ESTATE AGENT’S WINDOW

A notable architectural feature of Cheddar is tiny ‘Sundowner’ cottages, with four walls and a roof. If built-in one day between dawn and dusk, these dwellings gained their owner the right to live rent-free. But there are homes from every era, many displaying local stone. Expect to pay about £250,000 for a starter home, with four-bedroom detached family homes particularly in demand, and costing upwards of £450,000. Pretty nearby villages of note are Axbridge, Shipham and Wedmore.

BUTCHERS, BAKERS & COFFEE MAKERS

The leafy high street is pleasantly touristy and abuzz with independent shops. Cheddar cheese has been made in the area since 1170 when, so the story goes, a milkmaid left a pail of milk in a cave and came back to find a tasty transformation. Family business The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company preserves authentic production methods and the unique terroir of local pastures. Whole cheeses are made with unpasteurised milk and matured in caves. Other gems include The Leg Bender Cider shop, Old Rowlands Christmas Shop, and Moorcraft leather and sheepskin.

COUNTRY LIFE & CULTURE

Centred on a thriving WI and community groups at the beautiful 14th-century church of St Andrew’s, Cheddar is close-knit. There is a mini ‘arts quarter’ selling local crafts. Summer sees duck races in the gorge and a dragon boat event in the reservoir.

SCHOOLS

Built on the site of an Anglo Saxon palace, The Kings of Wessex Academy is a secondary school in Cheddar village, and rated ‘Good’. Cheddar First and Fairlands Middle are also ‘Good’.

GET AROUND

Cheddar has decent road access with the M5 reachable in 20 minutes. Sadly the railway station is no more, so head to Weston-super-Mare to pick up the Great Western mainline.

IN THE AREA

Once a year, usually in the summer, nearby Banwell opens to the public its Bone Caves, home to the 80,000-year-old bones of cave bears, bison, wolves and reindeer. Cycle the old Strawberry Line, or take one of many well-worn walks, after which a cream tea in the 1950s-style Lion Rock Tearooms could be the reward.

Dream homes in Cheddar

ELEGANT EDWARDIAN

For £750,000 this elegant Edwardian family home includes a walled garden and one-bedroom annexe. Hartley House has six bedrooms.

FINE-TUNED

Beautiful sash windows and parquet flooring feature in this Victorian home. The four-bed property has been beautifully restored, and is priced at £525,000.

GREAT PROJECT

The Oaks is a spacious two-bedroom bungalow situated on a desirable road at the edge of Cheddar and set back in a lovely level plot.

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