Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Ubley Warren Nature Reserve

Enjoy a great morning out walking exploring Somerset Wildlife Trust's reserves close to Mendip’s iconic Cheddar Gorge. These wildlife havens are also great places to see how the landscape has been shaped by the areas industrial history.

Please take care as the reserve has uncapped mine shafts and cliff faces. Climbing is not permitted and do not enter any mineshafts.

Autumn Highlight: Arrival of over-wintering Fieldfare and Redwing flocks.

Nearby Reserves

The Cheddar Complex
Draycott Sleights


What to See


Roe Deer




Old Man's Beard



Birds and butterflies

You could see up to 30 different butterfly species at the nature reserve, including small pearl-bordered fritillary, dingy skipper, grizzled skipper, green hairstreak, brown argus and dark green fritillary, all of which are in decline.

Soaring above the heath buzzards and ravens are frequently seen, often visiting shelter woodlands which act as wind breaks for neighbouring farms. A variety of other birds may be seen at the reserve such as merlin, stonechat, redstart, skylark, tree pipit and wheatear.

Autumn brings out the colours of the gorse and bracken, and the hawthorn trees with their bright red berries attract mixed flocks of tits and finches.

Reptiles and amphibians

Keep your eyes to the ground for adders, grass snakes, common lizards and slow worms basking in the summer sun, and common toads and frogs that breed in the dewpond.


Badgers and foxes may be seen at the reserve, with rabbits collecting in large numbers, and roe deer if you’re lucky.



Ubley Warren lies at the heart of Somerset Wildlife Trust's Mendip Hills Living Landscape project. It is part of an amazing landscape providing a labyrinth of connected habitats which wildlife can move and thrive in. It is also living testament to the history of the community, its people and local industries which have shaped the Somerset countryside we see today.

Lead Mining

With its rakes cut into the limestone and deep mine shafts, Ubley Warren bears the scars of an industrial past.

Lead mining here dates back to Roman times and continued until the late 19th century. Romans were mining the site in AD49, only six years after landing in Britain and mining continued in the area reaching a peak in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Today, the site, which sits just south-east of Charterhouse-on-Mendip has become an important wildlife haven and is an element of the Cheddar Complex SSSI.

Ubley Warren is characterised by the uneven ground of old spoil heaps and worked out mineral veins or ‘rakes’, known locally as ‘gruffy.’

Underground world

Underground lies a hidden world of extensive passages and caves with spectacular rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone, including the Upper Flood Swallet system.

Although these treasures remain beyond the reach of all but bats and very experienced cavers it is a fascinating world to imagine beneath your feet as you walk.

For more information and spectacular photos of these underground wonders visit  

86 acres (34.8 ha.)

Health & Safety: Uncapped mine shafts and cliff faces; watch out for site management activities.

Mendip Hills AONB

Mendip Hills AONBUbley Warren is in the Mendip Hills AONB. The podcast was produced in collaboration with the Wells and Mendip Museum and kindly funded by the Mendip Hills AONB Sustainable Development Fund.


Location & Access


Download a map of Ubley Warren


Please take care when exploring Ubley Warren as the nature reserve has uncapped mine shafts and cliff faces. Climbing is not permitted and do not enter any mineshafts.

A day out in Somerset's Mendip Hills

Enjoy a great morning out walking on Mendip by exploring three of the Trust’s reserves close to the iconic Cheddar Gorge.

Start by exploring Ubley’s heath and grasslands and then continue across the lane into Velvet Bottom, another reserve that bears the traces of the local lead industry. Velvet Bottom lies at the head of Cheddar Gorge and connects with Black Rock nature reserve.

For a great lunch visit one of the pubs in nearby Priddy village or for fabulous local produce visit the Priddy Farm Shop. To finish the day take a drive down the spectacular Cheddar Gorge to visit one of the many tea shops in Cheddar village.


Open access, all year round. A number of footpaths enable circular walks that link the Trust’s open access reserves.

How to get there

Parking for Ubley Warren is available at the roadside (ST503554) or behind the nearby Charterhouse Centre and Velvet Bottom is literally just across the road.

By bicycle:

The road to Charterhouse, which divides Ubley Warren and Velvet Bottom, is a designated National Cycle Network route.

Grid reference: ST 507 552


Events Nearby

Click the following link for a full list of Somerset wildlife events

Listen to our Ubley
Warren Podcast

Just click the green arrow below to join Jessy and Jake for a tour of Ubley Warren’s wildlife, history and geology.


Video of Ubley Warren