Don’t knock it before you try it
Assumptions are oh so easy to make and usually once made they’re often filed away neatly in the ‘decision pending’ section of your mind, never to be seen again. This was very much how it went regarding my view of the B3135, a road that kept cropping up as a great road but I’d always assumed it couldn’t really be that good for 3 reasons: (1) it’s too small, only 14 miles so surely you’ll just get into your stride and then it’ll stop, (2) it’s bloody tourist central, there’ll be hundreds of ’em spilling into the road left, right and centre clutching crystals and bits of stalactites they’d managed to rip from the caves, and (3) it’s too small. Or was it? I decided enough was enough and on a bright July morning I took a detour to visit the home of Cheddar cheese and find out whether this road was as tasty as people say it is.
Upon my approach into the village of Cheddar it all went a bit odd; the roadside was awash with strawberries, postmen were riding past on their bikes en route to deliver mail to people who all seemed to be holding fetes in their garden, at least judging by the amount of bunting on show. If that doesn’t set the scene for you then the woman cruising along in her horse and cart should do the trick. Navigating through all this didn’t take too long and soon I was greeted with cafes, pubs and a plethora of cider shops which told me I must have made it to Cheddar.
Leaving the grockles behind the road sets you to work straight away as you climb out of Cheddar. Busy would be one word for it as you wring your steering column’s neck, slaloming your way along. While not particularly technical, your car placement does need to be precise as this section squirms like an eel and is as snug as David Coulthard’s denim so a brief lapse in concentration could be costly. Heading onward it’s apparent that nature has certainly dictated the layout of this road. Corners are thrown at you with vigour in an attempt to circumnavigate great bits of ancient rock. Passengers should enjoy what’s on show but the wheelman will probably be too busy to notice. Expect three or so miles of this before things start to even out. Exiting the gorge signals the calming in the road, rocks give way to trees and the volley of tight turns subside and what are left soften considerably. A few half-hearted turns later and the scenery opens into more familiar countryside.
The road remains tight as it shakes itself free from the claustrophobic clutches of the gorge, but you can relax a little as you enter the mid section of this journey. Hairpins are swapped for sweeping bends, and the cover of trees are exchanged for sky. Five miles on and you enter the final third of this route. Long placid straights and mild gradient changes make for a rapid finale to this route. My journey was great fun; swift and without too many interruptions. The traffic I encountered wasn’t an issue in any way, I was either too busy navigating the gorge to care or in a section of the route where overtaking was simple. Back in the Oakhill Inn with a drink and a ploughman’s I decided that next time, rather than base my opinions on an assumption, I’d get off my lazy ass and find out for myself.