|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area of Search||Somerset|
|Area||156.8 acres (0.635 km2; 0.2450 sq mi)|
|Natural England website|
Ebbor Gorge (grid reference ST525485) is a limestone gorge in Somerset, England, close to Wells, designated as a 63.5-hectare (157-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Mendip Hills, notified in 1952.
A 40-hectare (99-acre) area of the gorge is owned by the National Trust, and managed by English Nature as a National Nature Reserve. There are three marked trails of varying lengths around the steeply wooded gorge, the shortest of which is suitable for wheelchair users. Various caves within the gorge were inhabited by neolithic people.
The site is close to Wookey Hole village and caves and offers views across the Somerset levels to Glastonbury Tor and beyond. The land was donated to the National Trust by Mrs G.W. Hodkinson in memory of Winston Churchill.
Ebbor Gorge lies on the southwest-facing slope of the Mendip Hills and consists of a steep-sided ravine cut into Carboniferous Limestone of the Dinantian approximately 350 million years ago. It lies on a thrust fault formed during the Variscan orogeny. Millstone Grit and Lower Coal Measures form an impermeable floor to this valley.
A stream issuing to the west of the site runs down the tributary valley of Hope Wood before joining the main gorge.
The ground flora is indicative of the calcareous nature of the site, with Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) being locally dominant. Many of the associated species are characteristic of ancient woodland. Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and Common Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are both locally abundant. The valley of the main gorge is humid and provides ideal conditions for fungi and ferns. It contains a substantial assemblage of bryophytes with over 120 species recorded including the nationally rare Bryum canariense and the very rare Amblystegiella confervoides.
The varied age and canopy structure of woodland encourages a high diversity of butterflies, nationally scarce species including the White-letter Hairstreak (Strymonidia walbum) and High Brown Fritillary (Argynnis edippe), while species such as the Chalkhill Blue (Lysandra coridon) and Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) occur on the limestone grassland. Greater Horseshoe Bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) and Lesser Horseshoes (Rhinolophus hipposideros) regularly use sites in the Gorge as hibernacular roosts. Several caves occur within the Gorge, of which Bridged Pot provides one of the best (presumed) Late Devensian small-mammal assemblages known from Britain. Most of the deposits remain in situ and include steppe pika, arctic lemming, Norway lemming, various voles, red deer and reindeer.
- "Ebbor Gorge NNR". Natural England. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Leete-Hodge, Lornie (1985). Curiosities of Somerset. Bodmin: Bossiney Books. p. 24. ISBN 0-906456-98-3.
- Haslett, Simon K. (2010). Somerset Landscapes: Geology and landforms. Usk: Blackbarn Books. pp. 101–105. ISBN 9781456416317.
- "Ebbor Gorge". English Nature. Retrieved 2006-07-20.