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Burrington Combe, Cheddar

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Burrington Combe is a Carboniferous Limestone gorge near the village of Burrington, on the north side of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in North Somerset, England."Combe" or "coombe" is a word of Celtic origin found in several forms on all of the British Isles, denoting a steep-sided valley or hollow. Burrington Combe is a gorge through the limestone hills although there is now no river running through it. Various cave entrances are exposed which have been occupied by humans for over 10,000 years, with a hillfort being built beside the combe in the Iron Age. The geology has led to a diversity of plant life.According to legend Augustus Montague Toplady was inspired to write the hymn Rock of Ages while sheltering under a rock in the combe, although recent scholars have disputed this claim.GeologyWater draining from Black Down has exposed rocks from the Devonian sandstones of the Portishead Formation which show through the limestone, Carboniferous mudstones of the Avon Group, limestones of the Black Rock Limestone Subgroup and oolitic limestones of the Burrington Oolite Subgroup; however the exact mechanism by which the gorge was formed is unknown. The northern and lower end of the combe, which was once the bed of the Congresbury Yeo, cuts through overlying Clifton Down Limestone. Triassic dolomitic conglomerate can also locally be seen along the combe.
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  • My girlfriend and I had cause to drive both up and down the 'Gorge' today, although not as impressive as the Gorge down to Cheddar from a parallel road, the rock structures and what they represent are...  more »
  • Burrington Ham used to be really beautiful and the views on a clear day all the way to South Wales are still truly outstanding. Even in Winter, the paths and tracks made for lovely walks. But, over th...  more »
  • Parked at the top of the Coombe and enjoyed a great walk on Burrington Ham. Great views towards Black Down - and out over the Bristol Channel. Plenty of parking at the top of the Coombe - and an Ice C...  more »
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