Why have the numbers of people visiting Cheddar Gorge gone down so much over the years? Suggested reasons for falling visitor numbers are being added to this page as they are sent in.
Latest suggestion at the top, page updated 11 February 2012
N.B. Supporting evidence varies: KCG may or may not agree with the suggested explanations below.
Piecemeal add-ons and adaptations have ruined the original Modernist Caveman Restaurant designed by Russell Page with Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe. (Pictures of the Caveman Restaurant here (scroll down) and here).
With so much traffic, you can't easily walk in the gorge to look at the cliffs like earlier tourists could, e.g. in this 'Wild Splendour of Cheddar' postcard.
Instead of moaning about road closure with half-term approaching (Cheddar Valley Gazette), they could see it as a great opportunity to promote walking in the gorge, and no need involve highways authorities.
The shopping area is generally old fashioned and run down and caters more and more for the lower end of the market.
Cheddar does not make the best of its waterway attraction which could do with a bit of cleaning and repair.
Traders could invest in better floral displays and signage.
Lots of the signs are eye sores. Why hasn't everyone been following the Cheddar Gorge Design Guide? pdf (and page on this website)
"In 2003, Gerry Cottle decided to retire from the travelling
entertainment world and bought Wookey Hole in Somerset, transforming it
into a mixed entertainment complex including a circus museum, daily
circus shows and other attractions." (Daily Mail article)
Since Wookey Hole was bought by Gerry Cottle he's invested and advertised and stolen the lions share of the cave visitor market: Spain is not the only competing tourist destination, e.g. Visit Somerset link.
Bob Smart is Executive Officer at the Somerset Tourism Association, and he works at Wookey Hole, see Visit Somerset contact link.
This extract from Fact Sheet No 10: Cheddar Showcaves - a Case Study in Tourism says it all, "While our relationship with some tourist businesses in the area (for example caravan sites) is symbiotic (mutually supporting), the behaviour of some tourist businesses, who contribute very little, is parasitic." (A part of the Cheddar Caves & Gorge Discovery Pack, Cheddar Caves & Gorge, 2001, not online).