The hamlet of Priddy is a legendary place on Mendip. Sitting on top the plateau at an elevation of nearly 1000ft (300m) above sea level, Priddy has been a place of settlement since Neolithic times.
Priddy Circles are four Neolithic enclosures thought to have been built around the same time as Stonehenge. While these are on private land and not accessible to the public, it is possible if staying overnight to stroll around Priddy Nine Barrows, a row of Bronze age tumuli just north of the village.
In Roman times Priddy was an important lead mining area leaving behind a landscape of uneven hummocky grassy mounds known to the locals as ‘gruffy ground’.
On Priddy Green in the centre of the village, the wooden hurdle stack is a reminder of the annual sheep fair which has been held here ever since 1348 when it moved up onto the higher ground of Priddy to escape the plague afflicting the city of Wells. Priddy folk festival, billed as ‘the friendliest festival in England’ has become a major event in the annual calendar and takes place here at the beginning of July. At other times you can get lucky and find the village cricket team playing on the green.
If you are in Priddy then don’t be surprised if you see people walking through the village in overalls and carrying headlamps – the entrance to one of Britain’s best-loved caves, Swildon’s Hole, is in a field just outside the village and cavers of all ages make the trip to Priddy to spend a few happy hours crawling in wet and muddy conditions underground.
For refreshment head to the Queen Vic pub which serves excellent food and at the other end of the village (next to the campsite) is Priddy Good Farm Shop and Cafe, serving a hearty cooked breakfast from 9.00am to 12.00 mid-day every day of the week.
If you are up for an evening stroll then you can head two miles along the road (take care - the cars travel fast along this long straight road) to the famous Hunters Lodge Inn. This pub exists in a time warp so don't expect fancy menus (there is a basic menu on the blackboard), no music (except on the locals folk music night) and definately no fruit machines! The landlord is a diamond but doesn't waste his words so don't expect chitchat either. Oh, and he doesn't hold with all day opening so don't arrive in the middle of the afternoon and expect it to be open. But if you like perfectly conditioned beer served straight from the barrel and a proper traditional pub where the only entertainment is chatting to your companions, then this place is worth the effort. There is no-where else like it. Just one thing – never, EVER, use your mobile phone in this pub. As every local knows, you turn it off and leave it firmly in your pocket. You might even see one nailed to the wall as a warning...