Cheddar is now a really unpleasant place to visit. It is completely overrun with people in cars with blatantly illegal exhausts that constantly backfire. Some of their driving is super dangerous.
I would have no objection if their cars were legal.
It seems if they have footage they can push back:
You can also report incidents here:
You do not need number plates but I imagine the more feedback the police get the greater the likelihood of dealing with it.
It really should be closed to motor vehicles. It is an accident waiting to happen. Can you imagine how amazing a place it would be without traffic? Do any locals actually rely on it as a way through?
That would be my preference too but I doubt that is likely to happen and it would make it somewhat exclusive.
Fair point, my arguement would be 'its good for nature' but in reality i just want to be able to hear my belayer.
> Do any locals actually rely on it as a way through?
I’m no longer local but fairly regularly used that road for reasons other than roadside climbing. That said, I’d happily accept a detour if it meant the gorge became car free! Would definitely be worth the trade off, although many would probably disagree.
I was always surprised I didn’t see more accidents there. I’ve watched a fair few motorcyclists slide on gravel and crash coming down the gorge, but never much more. Seen some terrifying near misses though with cars drifting sideways round the bends
> It really should be closed to motor vehicles. It is an accident waiting to happen.
Careful with that argument. You could say exactly the same about climbers.
≥ Do any locals actually rely on it as a way through?
Whilst I'm not very local, I sometimes use the road through the gorge for that purpose.
I've stopped going. For me the climbing there, good though a lot of it is, is not sufficiently enticing to outweigh the unpleasantness of the overall experience. I think it has become more of a problem in recent years but that might just be because back in the old days I was only there in the winter months when the nobbers razzing up and down the gorge were elsewhere.
I agree that the road should be closed; nobody argues that Gordale Scar should be made accessible to everyone by building a road through the middle of it. Imagine if they did! A well maintained, wheelchair friendly path would do the trick and reinstate this as the natural, unspoilt wonder is once would have been.
Should be closed to motor vehicles (other than delivery vehicles to serve the businesses)
How it is now is dangerous for everyone and unpleasant for most.
Split the road in half with one side for walkers and one side for cyclists.
At the moment you have a road with numerous blind bends and several sections that are only wide enough for one vehicle. You've got cyclists coming down at 30mph in one direction, often taking the racing line, cyclists going up at 5mph with cars desperate to get past them on the wrong side of the road, hikers and climbers walking on both sides, often in the road because there is no path, goats crossing, rocks falling, belayers stood back out from the cliff face to see their leader, forcing other people walking to either go under the rope or walk in the road, and add to that motorcyclists and car fanatics speeding, donutting, overtaking dangerously, and generally making a detestable racket.
I don't imagine climbers bring much money to Cheddar but I don't think they create much of a nuisance either, and I think a lot of tourists who come to look at the gorge or hike have their experience enhanced by watching us daredevils dogging our way up the steep cliffs.
I don't imagine the car freaks bring much money to Cheddar either, and the difference is that they spoil everyone else's experience with what they are doing.
There is a huge safety factor with the motor vehicles but it's a difficult one to argue from the standpoint of climbers, who are often pulling off rocks above. The difference is that if you closed off the road to cars and motorbikes, pedestrians would be able to avoid walking directly under the cliffs and the danger created by climbers. If you closed off the gorge to climbing, it would still be incredibly dangerous to be a pedestrian.
Just think how amazing the gorge would be if it was quiet and everyone was getting about on their own steam. You could even close it to cyclists some days and have stalls out.
I've been seeing a different side to a lot of places recently with Covid, which has really demonstrated how much of an impact we have on our open spaces. I heard birds singing in Avon Gorge, and had an entire afternoon at Goblin Combe without the roar of a jetplane overhead. They're really special places when we're not spoiling them.
Preferably ban cars and an electric trolley bus but failing that speed bumps and fines for noise
Try mozzarella. I find it less noisy than cheddar.
Many years since I've climbed at Cheddar but can sympathize.Torridon is no longer the place it was due to car clubs and hordes of motor bikes tearing up and down the glen in pursuit of ticking the moronic NC500.Thank f**k we only go in winter.
Back on topic would there be a case for a toll road with passes for locals/businesses?
It's everywhere, crazy loud cars and bikes seems to be on trend, we were around Brotherswater in the lakes on Saturday and the amount of cars and bikes screaming around with blatantly illegal exhausts on was truly shocking, could hear some of them right to the top of Kirkstone, how they get through an MOT (assuming they are not swapping before/after) is a complete mystery to me to me.
No need to close it totally, just close it at the top and then it gives loads of parking, space for outdoor shops/stalls in summer and better pedestrian space
I completely agree. A Swiss friend of mine was shocked that both the Avon Gorge and Cheddar Gorge have roads through them, stating such attractive beauty spots would never permit through traffic in her country. Sadly our country is around 15 years behind Switzerland, so I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait for sense to prevail.
A friend who grew up in Cheddar mentioned locals having contacted the council to get speed bumps put in, but sadly they need a minimum of two fatalities until that can be put forward for discussion.
It’s ironic there’s such strict rules for climbers on the south side, for fear of knocking rocks onto pedestrians, yet boy racers and tragic middle aged bikers can drive like lunatics all year round, perpetually risking lives, and no rules are enforced.
I would urge anyone who have feels strongly to register an incident on that link at the top. It is super easy and has check boxes for all of the issues. Loud exhausts, drifting etc.
Great idea! Just put my complaint in. Felt only marginally more worthwhile than yelling into the breeze. Might do it for the tw*ts who always backfire in the tunnel under the Clifton suspension bridge and cause me to shit my pants while mid-crux...
It would be nice to see something change in Cheddar. The boy racers are a pain in the arse but don't forget the motorcyclists! Those c*nts who love to ride in massive groups with other similarly overweight mouthbreathers and MAKE AS MUCH NOISE AS THEY CAN AT 15MPH can f*ck off as well, they're the main noise bringers during the day on weekends, I think.
Cheddar has been absolutely rammed lately, much worse than previous years if memory serves. Fair enough, it's great people are getting out and about but having so many of them just magnifies the antisocial problems caused by the noisy and dangerous dickheads.
Sadly, though, I cannot see the road ever being permanently closed to through traffic. It would be amazing, wouldn't it! It may not seem like it but that road is fairly busy and does serve several villages and busier trunk roads beyond. If it were to close, the alternative routes via Draycott up by the gliding club and the other via Shipham gorge and Charterhouse just couldn't deal with the traffic I wouldn't have thought. They're knackered as they are, single file for longer than the narrows in the gorge and Somerset CC couldn't ever upgrade them.
I think the police should be harder on the real antisocial ones with all the backfiring and wheel spinning. They just sit in the patrol cars while the goons just carry on. In fact it's usually just community support officers. Maybe a temporary ban on cars from early evenings, or fully gate up the car parks?
It would make zero sense if the same people complaining about noisy cars or motorbikes ever boarded an aeroplane.
> It would make zero sense if the same people complaining about noisy cars or motorbikes ever boarded an aeroplane.
Only if the planes were buzzing me on a fly-by. I don't mind car, bike or aeroplane noise, but when it's just scrotes aiming to make as much noise as possible then I've a right to my (inner) complaint.
Slightly flippant, but you could help reduce noise in Cheddar by not going yourself.
It's like people always say they're stuck in a traffic jam, not part of a traffic jam.
You either have not been to Cheddar in the last year, are trying to be provocative or are the owner of a blinged up Corsa. Probably all of the above.
As I said in my original post I do not have any objection to a load of young lads meeting up to compare shiny adornments on their cars. In fact good for them.
The thing I do object to is that their cars are many many times louder than what is normal. Backfiring, wheel spinning and revving whilst parked is inconsiderate at best.
Doesn't really make sense. Climbers aren't generally driving wank-wagons and gunning their engines, miss-firing, dump-valves on their Corsa, wheel-spinning c*nts.
I'd wager 100% of climbers, given the choice, would take a 10 minute walk-in from a carpark outside the gorge if it meant a traffic-free climb.
Yeah but it is ok because he prefixed it with "slightly flippant".
> You either have not been to Cheddar in the last year, are trying to be provocative or are the owner of a blinged up Corsa. Probably all of the above.
In the last year ? Once, by bike. Too many cars full stop to be really enjoyable though.
Obviously slightly provocative, but everyone who drives up the gorge or shouts to their mates contributes something to the noise
Corsa ? How would I skip or for bikes in one of those ? Ancient trusty Peugeot estate for me
The whole issue of exhaust noise needs to be tackled. It makes life hell for residents in central London when Arab playboys come to cruise around in their sports cars. It reverberates around towns and cities especially at night when the idiots are out in their farty German saloon cars. Saturdays and Sundays are horrible in popular places like the Dales and the Lakes as the motorcyclists race around. God help anybody who has a neighbour with a farty exhaust and sits revving it for fun. In Germany it's not allowed to deviate from the manufacturer's spec and I've seen videos of the Police pulling cars into car parks and testing them with decibel meters. There is a huge customising business, which needs to be dealt with; nobody can object to owners wasting money customising their cars but noise ought to be made illegal and antisocial in people's minds.
We have someone in our neighbourhood who removed the baffles from the exhaust of his two Honda Cub scooters. I emailed our beat officer and he sent the traffic boys around for a chat. I haven't heard the noise since then. Sorted.
All of the accidents, 4 or 5, have been cyclists descending. One was particularly nasty as people were descending fast in a group, they were lucky no one was killed really.
I would love to see the gorge car free but not sure how that might happen in the short term. I have very fond memories of the Portway being closed all summer in the mid to late '70's and what a fantastic time that was. Climbers, cello players practising....and the odd American muscle care tearing it up.
Hehe, didn't Evel Knievel come and jump the gorge, too?
Sounds much like High Tor on a weekend...
> That would be my preference too but I doubt that is likely to happen and it would make it somewhat exclusive.
I imagine you could easily overcome that by continuing to run the site seeing bus service? Plus if the road was shut everything to all but the bus would make it easier to access with wheelchairs and mobility vehicles.
It would be lovely with less traffic.
If they ran the sightseeing bus the problem would mostly go away; doesn't matter how big a baked bean tin they weld on their exhaust when they're stuck behind a clapped out old open top double-decker.
A lot of the time it's not to do with speed though. They're gunning the engines to impress the other tools who are there to look at cars. They can still do that at 5mph behind a bus.
Was talking to someone a few weeks ago about this. Apparently the main issue is that there are residents who live above the gorge on the mendips who rely on that road to get down if there is snow as all the other ways off the hills are damned steep. So it’s basically a non starter unfortunately. Policing the gorge properly would help I guess...
Have you considered climbing elsewhere, somewhere away from a road perhaps?
Couldn't agree more, and it seems to have got worse in lockdown, perhaps lots of people furloughed who have used the time to tinker with their toys and now need to show them off. Come 8 p.m. the roads round me echo to the sound of screaming engines going down 30mph roads chasing through the gears. Gah.
Speed bumps down the road would help at least, but they won't do that because of busses for the lazy tourists
"Lazy tourists ?" How judgemental are we ?
Agreed - it's just another form of pollution that spoils the outdoors for everyone else. There should be an absolute maximum noise level for cars/bikes to be considered roadworthy, end of. No one needs a loud exhaust.
There are a few examples in France where narrow mountain roads are closed to traffic during part of the year, with a cheap & regular bus service provided. For example, in the Vallée de la Clarée in the summer tourist season the road above Névache is open to cars before 8 (from memory) & for those with residents permits. In winter the road is shut as it forms part of the XC ski area. Seems to work well although I've no idea about the financial aspects.
Are there any similar systems in the UK?
> Agreed - it's just another form of pollution that spoils the outdoors for everyone else. There should be an absolute maximum noise level for cars/bikes to be considered roadworthy, end of. No one needs a loud exhaust.
Enforcement is the problem, not lack of regulations. It's getting to the stage where you can get away with doing pretty much what you like with little chance of feeling the long arm of the law.
Yep. 100% yes.
Very. Why drive there to then get out of the car and into a bus and to be driven up and down the gorge?
Why drive there to gravel around on the rocks ? Presumably people want to see the gorge without having to concentrate on the road ?
Seems like the police can only take action with video evidence. I found yesterday that once they start racing and backfiring, hanging about recording a video of it seems to stop it. Can always send it over to Avon and Somerset police. Doubt they’d encourage vigilantism but probably be useful anyhow. Helps to be at a roadside sector obvs!
I’d encourage anyone annoyed by it to do something. A report via the link on the OPs post at least. I might write to the council/MP.
What about a good old fashioned protest?
Vigilantism isn’t recording video evidence of an offence and reporting it to the police, that’s the action of a responsible citizen. A vigilante would bazooka the offending vehicle😀at least you’re not subjected to the preacher like wot we used to have back in the day😀
He was there last weekend! Blast from the past! Was actually nice to see him...
Wales will soon start re-opening to outdoor activities, but fear in local communities persists, and it will not be business as usual. What can climbers and walkers do to ensure they're not part of the problem? Snowdonia resident Mark Reeves looks...