A family day out at Cadbury Camp

A family looking out over the hill at Cadbury Camp

We asked family blogger, Angharad Paull, who runs the 'This Bristol Brood' blog to take us on a lockdown trip to Cadbury Camp.

" Finding beautiful open spaces near Bristol with very few people around has been my main priority during lockdown."
- Angharad Paull

When homeschooling was going awry, ends-of-tethers maxed out and a strong feeling of overwhelm was creeping in, we went outside, into the great outdoors to unearth our sanity. Feeling a connection to nature, which carried on its merry way regardless of the virus, seemed to neutralise the kids’ manicness, calmed our souls and made us feel like we were still part of the world going on outside the walls of our house.

Once restrictions were lifted and we were able to drive, we spread our wings and made it our mission to discover pastures new (still minus the people), practically on our doorstep. I’m not even sure how Cadbury Camp crawled onto our radar - I’ve been a National Trust member on and off for years and have visited Tyntesfield and Dyrham Park hundreds of times, but hadn’t ventured to Cadbury Camp, a glorious countryside open space, until a couple of weeks ago. I’m now a little bit obsessed with the place and can’t wait to return for more exploring.

Far reaching views across Cadbury Camp
Far reaching views across Cadbury Camp
Far reaching views across Cadbury Camp

Cadbury Camp is an Iron Age hill fort on the ridge above the village of Tickenham in North Somerset, about a 35-minute drive from Bristol.

The fort - now a herb-rich, grassy-sloped circular embankment - dates back to the 6th century BC and is thought to have been constructed by the Dobunni Tribe. To imagine the fort in days of yore, seek out the artist’s impression, which can be found on National Trust interpretation panels at the edge of the hill fort.

There are a couple of walking routes suggested by the National Trust on their website - the 2 mile Cadbury Ramble (the gentler of the two walks) and The Cadbury Climb (about 2.5 miles). Either one will reward your hillside ambling with utterly sensational panoramic views over majestic green hills, patchwork fields and the Severn Estuary. You can see for miles - all the way out to Sand Point in one direction and the Severn Bridge in the other - and the whole area feels unspoilt, open and special.

Exploring Cadbury Camp
A family walking past an omega sign
Exploring Cadbury Camp

Our two children (aged 6 and 4) managed the walk fine, except for one strong bout of hayfever en route. I’d have liked to explore some of the other woodland paths that lead off from the fort, but with little legs, we opted for a shady picnic to recuperate at the top instead.

" An important conservation area, there’s also lots of wildlife to spot while you’re walking. "
- Angharad Paull

An important conservation area, there’s also lots of wildlife to spot while you’re walking. We visited on a particularly hot day in May and were treated to lots of fluttering butterflies, bright blue dragonflies, pinging grasshoppers and crickets (the noise of which made it feel like we had been transported to a field in Tuscany), buzzards and a herd of cows. It’s said that adders slither in these parts so keep your eyes peeled, and ticks are known to be rife up here though - so remember to check yourselves at the end of the walk!

These were practically the only other creatures we saw whilst on our Cadbury adventure - there was only a handful of other humans basking on the banks of the fort, bounding up its sides or braving a steep cycle on the heat. Visiting Cadbury Camp ticks all the social distancing boxes, there’s barely anybody else around and acres of space to make the swerve if you should encounter other humans. I’m thrilled to have discovered this patch of countryside and intend to visit lots more in future.

 Angharad