Chasing sheep on Cheddar Gorge cliff top 切達峽谷崖頂散步

Following my last post about Cheddar Gorge and climbing up Jacobs Ladder, this time I’m going to show you around the cliff top walk on Cheddar Gorge.  The first thing you see up here is the stunning views of the Mendips far and beyond.
上次文章開始登上切達峽谷崖頂,今次會跟大家分享崖頂上的風景,可眺望英國西南部著名的Mendips 山丘。 崖頂上生態價值很高有不少稀有植物,可惜冬天都未有盛開,只有很多枯枝樹木。這樣也好,沒有樹木植物的遮擋可以清楚遠見峽谷壯觀的景狀。崖頂放生一群山羊,為幫助生態環境發展。我嘗試走近拍照,但敏捷的牠們一發覺我走近,馬上已奔馳遠去。我在崖頂1.5小時原來只走了1/4路程。原本很想完成6公里路徑, 但我預計再需要大概2小時,而且還未算停下來拍照的時間。為了不想我姐在峽谷底部再久等,我唯有回頭往下去。看來下次又要找機會再來切達峽谷完成這個崖頂行程。

CHEDDAR GORGE’S RICH BIODIVERSITY

There’s a rich biodiversity on the cliff top that include a wide range of limestone flora, but sadly you don’t get to see much in winter apart from a lot of bare twigs.    In the summer there are a lot of rare butteflies, falcons and peregrines, and a rare and protected species of flower called Cheddar Pink which only grows in the wild in Cheddar.

The lack of plantation in the winter is compensated by the clear unobstructed view of the geological formation, so I guess coming here in both winter and summer have their own advantages.

SAILING IN THE RESERVOIR

From the top of the cliff I could see the Cheddar Reservoir, that’s the round pond in the photo. It’s a man made reservoir, and oddly enough you’re allowed to sail in it. Its water source comes from underneath the gorge and runs through part of the river at the bottom left of the photo. That’s where I started my walk, ie the bottom of Jacobs Ladder. See how far up I’ve come.

CHASING SHEEP

In the absence of much plantation, I did see a flock of sheep roaming around.  They are called Soay sheep and are particularly well suited for these type of terrain.  The Soay sheep were released here in the wild for scrub control so other valuable plants could grow more easily.   I tried to get a bit closer to take some photos, but as soon as they sensed me coming along they were off again.  Although I’m an Aries, there’s no way I can match their agility, particularly on a 122m high cliff top!

While I was busy chasing sheep, hubby had wandered further up the cliff by himself. Can you spot him anywhere?

HOW FAR OUT DO YOU DARE TO GO?

While I was looking for hubby, I noticed a block of square limestone cliff edge, like a stack of pancakes. And on the right photo, is me trying to get as near to the edge as I dared.  I’m sure I will be forgiven for not going too far out as the cliff opposite is where hubby had ventured off to.  That is how high and big this area is.

I summoned hubby back down to help me take a photo to prove I was here, this isn’t a bunch of photo I had pulled off the internet (would I ever do that???).  I didn’t dare to go any further out towards the edge of the cliff and had to crawl bit by bit to get here.  My legs were wobbly already that’s why I’m sitting down in a rather awkward position!!

COMPLETING THE CLIFF TOP WALK… OR NOT

Up to this point, we had already spent about an hour and a half admiring nature and history, and had only done about one quarter of the walk.  I would have loved to do the entire walk and go over to the other side of the cliff, but I figured at this rate it’ll probably take me another two hours even if I walked briskly.  And that included no photo stops which migh be a bit difficult.

Not wanting to be selfish and have my sisters wait for any longer at the bottom of the cliff (they didn’t fancy doing the walk), we reluctantly turned back and headed down Jacobs Ladder back to the real world.  Here’s the river that was in the reservoir photo above, and a photo of us taken by my sister as we approached the bottom of the ladder.  Well, I guess I’ll just have to go back ot to do the Cheddar Gorge cliff top walk again another time.

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