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Our work at Cheddar Gorge

View across fields and cliff edges from the south side of Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
View from the south side of Cheddar Gorge | © National Trust Images / John Miller

Cheddar Gorge is an ancient site, home to a variety of rare wildlife and plants. To protect this landscape and keep nature thriving, National Trust rangers and volunteers carry out ongoing conservation works throughout the year, helped by a flock of sheep and tripe of goats. Discover how our work at Cheddar Gorge is vital for the preservation of its ongoing preservation.

Natural conservation

For thousands of years, Cheddar Gorge was grazed with flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Over time this produced very special and rich open limestone grasslands, home to many rare plants and animals.

By the middle of the 20th century, sheep farming had become unprofitable and all but stopped. One of the most dramatic consequences, and a serious one for the wildlife that depended on the sunny open grasslands, was that scrub and trees began to smother the landscape, shading out its rare inhabitants.

A horned goat looks off to the distance with Cheddar Gorge behind
A goat enjoying the view at Cheddar Gorge | © National Trust Images / Jim Elliott

How we're protecting Cheddar Gorge

Since the late 1980s, we have been working hard clearing the slopes and plateau of the gorge, pushing back the ever-encroaching scrub and invasive woodland. This allows all the light-loving rarities that inhabit the gorge to survive and increase as they re-colonise the places we have restored.

All this hard work, carried out by rangers volunteers – backed up by a flock of Bronze Age sheep and a herd of native goats – ensures that the things that make Cheddar Gorge such a special place survive for future generations to enjoy.

Nature at Cheddar Gorge

The Cheddar Pink is a flower which grows only here. The native tree Cheddar whitebeam and butterflies such as the grayling, as well as a myriad of other plants and insects all live here.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

A view across the countryside at Cheddar Gorge with cliffs in the foreground


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