Motorists ‘drifting’ around the Gorge at night

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

If you’ve wondered why there are tyre marks all over the road in Cheddar Gorge then you may not be aware of the Gorge’s nocturnal life as a haven for petrol heads writes Harry Mottram.

Some call them boy racers while many may call them anti-social motorists who use the Gorge as a racetrack at night and a place to show off their skills behind the wheel of their cars.

It’s been an on-going problem for years with periodic attempts to stop the road up the Gorge used as a playground for irresponsible motorists putting in danger pedestrians, horse riders and those motorists using the road for its intended use.

Now there’s a new effort to deal with the issue. Cheddar Parish Council issued this statement: “Cheddar Parish Council, together with Avon & Somerset Police, is stepping up its campaign against speeding and other antisocial driving in Cheddar Gorge and the village.  Despite previous actions by the police, supported by Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset Highways and the major landowners; Longleat and the National Trust, the community continues to suffer from dangerous and irresponsible driving.

“Residents continue to report problems, particularly after dark, citing cars spinning in the car parks, noisy vehicles and the village being used as a race circuit.  Hotels and other accommodation owners say they are losing business because guests are so disturbed at night by thoughtless drivers.  It was hoped that the introduction of the 30mph speed limit in the gorge would reduce the problem, but it hasn’t.  Some of the issues arise from large scale car meets which gather in the gorge, others are created by individual drivers, some of whom live locally.

“Now the parish council is distributing leaflets to homes and businesses on the major roads affected in Cheddar, asking people to record incidents of speeding, dangerous driving and other antisocial behaviour, including excessive noise.”

Councillor Anne Fontaine, chair of the highways & open spaces committee, said: “In the past we have asked people to report problems to the police; many have done so, others have got disheartened by perceived lack of action.  Our leaflet should make it easy for residents to record incidents as they occur and send the leaflets back to the parish council at the end of January.”

The question is will it work? Cynics will say the moves will be ineffective and the only way to succeed is to patrol the Gorge nightly with police and to arrest law breakers en masse to send a signal to the ‘petrol head community.’

What do you think? Email views to

Axbridge man charged with ‘hit and run’ incident in Cheddar

Avon and somerset Police have issued this statement: “We’ve charged a 66-year-old man following a collision in Cheddar. Michael John Dolman, of Bailiffs Close, Axbridge, has been charged with five offences following a collision involving a car and a pedestrian on the B3151 on 23 October. The pedestrian, a man in his 60s, suffered suffered head injuries. He’s charged with: Driving without due care and attention; Driving a motor vehicle after refusal of grant/ revocation of licence on account of disability; Failing to stop after a road accident; Failing to report a road accident; Driving a motor vehicle without third party insurance.

“He was released on police bail and is due to appear at Bath Magistrates’ Court on 15 January.”

It’s a blue coloured Strawberry Line District after the 2019 December election

The district’s three constituencies returned Conservative members of the House of Commons in the December General Election in 2019.

In the Wells and Burnham-on-Sea constituency the incumbent Tory and former soldier James Heappey held out from the challenge of the one-time MP for Wells the Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt. Both saw a rise in their support at the expense of the Labour Party’s Kama KcKenzie.

As so often a national election has patchy results because in North Somerset Liam Fox’s vote fell despite winning the day. Hannah Young for Labour also saw a drop in votes but the Lib Dem’s Ashley Cartman achieved an eight point plus swing – in contrast to the national toll.

In Bridgwater and West Somerset the LibDems and Greens saw an increase while Labour took a hit – but the winner again was the Conservative’s Ian Liddlell-Grainger.

Results in full from the BBC:

Somerset North East: Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con) 28,360; Mark Huband (Lab) 13,631; Nick Coates (Lib Dem) 12,422; Fay Whitfield (Green) 1,423; Shaun Hughes (Ind) 472.

Bridgwater and Somerset West: Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) 35,827; Oliver Thornton (Lab) 11,388; Bill Revans (Lib Dem) 7,805; Mickie Ritchie (Green) 1,877; Farès Moussa (Liberal) 755.

Somerton and Frome: David Warburton (Con) 36,230; Adam Boyden (Lib Dem) 17,017; Sean Dromgoole (Lab) 8,354; Andrea Dexter (Green) 3,295.

Taunton Deane: Rebecca Pow (Con) 34,164; Gideon Amos (Lib Dem) 22,464; Liam Canham (Lab) 4,715; John Hunt (Ind) 2,390.

Wells: James Heappey (Con) 33,336; Tessa Munt (Lib Dem) 23,345; Kama McKenzie (Lab) 4,034; Dave Dobbs (Ind) 373; Susie Quatermass (Motherworld) 207.

Yeovil: Marcus Fysh (Con) 34,588; Mick Clark (Lib Dem) 18,407; Terry Ledlie (Lab) 3,761; Diane Wood (Green) 1,629; Tony Capozzoli (Ind) 689; Tom Fox (Constitution and Reform) 186.

Bath: Wera Hobhouse (Lib Dem) 28,419; Annabel Tall (Con) 16,097; Mike Davies (Lab) 6,639; Jimi Ogunnusi (BRX) 642; Bill Blockhead (Ind) 341.

Somerset North: Liam Fox (Cons) 32,801; Hannah Young (Lab) 15,265; Ashley Cartman (Lib Dem) 11,051; Phil Neve (Green) 2,938.