Cheddar Valley


U3A (The University of the Third Age) is a UK-wide movement which brings together people in their ‘third age’ to develop their interests and continue their learning in a friendly and informal environment. There are similar movements in a number of other countries.

If you’re wondering what we mean by the third age, it is a time after you have finished working full-time or raising your family and have time to pursue your interests or just try something new.

U3A has a ‘university’ of members who draw upon their knowledge and experience to teach and learn from each other but there are no qualifications to pass, it is just for pleasure. Learning is its own reward. It's all voluntary.

Within Cheddar Valley U3A there are approximately 50 special-interest groups. These groups give members the opportunity to participate in their favourite activities and hobbies, or new activities and hobbies, alongside other members with the same interests. For more information on the special-interest groups, please see the "Groups" page of this website.

As well as the special-interest groups, Cheddar Valley U3A organises a monthly talk intended to have wide appeal. There are regular Coffee Mornings, a number of coach trips each year and an annual holiday. Please see the "Events" page of this website.

There is an annual fee for membership of Cheddar Valley U3A. This annual fee is currently £12.00p for an individual or £22.00p for a couple.

In addition to the annual fee, there is usually a separate charge for attending each Cheddar Valley U3A event. For example, the Monthly Speaker Meeting has an admission fee of £2.00 per person, which pays towards the cost of the speaker, the cost of hiring the hall and the cost of refreshments. The various special-interest groups within Cheddar Valley U3A set their own fees, which may include refreshments and in some cases the cost of hiring a hall.

Please feel free to contact our Membership Secretary, Margaret Woodliffe, by email ( or phone (01934 744241). A membership application form can be downloaded using the appropriate link on the "Links" page of this website.

"Cheddar Valley" is a popular name for a rural area of Somerset at the foot of the escarpment of the Mendip Hills.

The village of Cheddar, with a population approaching 6000, is the largest settlement in the area. From the north-east edge of the village, Cheddar Gorge carves a pass into the Mendip Hills, with steep-sided cliffs either side. The lower part of Cheddar Gorge is a popular tourist destination with caves, cafes and gift shops, but away from this commercialised area there is a vast area of lovely countryside that is excellent for rambling. Note: Click on any picture to see the picture full size.

Cheddar and the Mendip HillsRoad Through Cheddar GorgeLion Rock

North-west of Cheddar is the town of Axbridge, with its colourful houses and half-timbered buildings. Beyond Axbridge is the village of Winscombe, which has its own U3A.

High Street, AxbridgeSt Mary

South-east of Cheddar the A371 follows the foot of the escarpment, passing through the villages of Draycott, Rodney Stoke, Westbury-sub-Mendip and Easton before reaching Wells, England's smallest city, which has its own U3A.

Draycott Sleights

A few miles to the south of Cheddar is the village of Wedmore, which dates back to Saxon times. South of Wedmore there is a vast area of flat low-lying land known as the Somerset Levels, which is drained by man-made waterways but still includes wetland nature reserves. Several miles south of Wedmore are Street and Glastonbury, which have their own U3A.

Church Street, WedmoreBorough Mews, Wedmore