£3M TOURISM PLAN FOR THE MENDIPS
A£3M gateway to the Mendip Hills featuring a visitors centre and shops is being drawn up under the eye of a well-known farming family in the region.
Tim Mead, owner of Yeo Valley, the largest organic dairy company in Britain, purchased the four-and-ahalf acres at Burrington Combe last year.
Now he wants to invest millions of pounds on providing a ‘visitor’ destination’ for the surrounding area.
He wants a visitors’ centre, cafe, outdoor shops and maybe a hostel.
More car parking up the gorge, saving families from a steep walk, could also be introduced.
Mr Mead presented the plan to a ‘supportive’ Mendip Hills Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) last week.
Speaking to the Western Daily Press, he said: “We want to turn the place into a gateway for people to get up the Mendips. Yeo Valley gets 50,000 people a year - but we’d like even more people to come here and explore the natural beauty around where we are based.
“By providing a spot where people can eat, sleep or park their cars, we hope to create a tourist attraction alongside Cheddar Gorge and Weston-super-Mare.”
The land around the B3134 includes the Burrington Inn and a bike shop which has recently reopened called Bad Ass Bikes.
A burnt-out garden centre and land which was used for airport parking also forms part of the site.
Mr Mead said: “It is early days, we only recently purchased the site, but plans are aloft for what we want to do. I think there is real potential to bring in more visitors to the area which would benefit the economy.”
Adrian Fenton is drawing up the plan. He is projects and conservation director for Holt Farm, which is part of Mr Mead’s Yeo Valley group.
He said: “We have tidied up the site and now we’re look forward.
“We have a conservation team based here and plans are being drawn up for extra facilities here.
“This is the road people coming from areas like Southampton will be coming along, but we have nothing to persuade them to stop.
“Hikes and bikers come here, but not many families.
“With restaurants, a cafe and maybe a hostel, we hope to provide a tourist destination.”
Aveline’s Hole in Burrington Combe. Tim Mead, left, owner of Yeo Valley, wants to build a £3m gatewayto the Mendip Hills