Out and About in Somerset
The Jewel of the South-West
Discover sites steeped in history, myth and legend. See the fascinating heritage of our market towns, fine historic country houses, the internationally important wetlands nature reserves and glorious gardens in this unique, unspoilt area of England.
Exploring the Mendip Hills
The high ground, lanes and ancient footpaths of the Mendip Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have so much to offer the ‘holiday explorer’.
The Mendips are particularly rich in archaeological sites such as the Priddy Nine Barrows or the Stone Circles at Stanton Drew.
Visit the underground world of Wookey Hole caves.
Historic Cities, Market Towns & Villages
The ancient and very beautiful cathedral city of Wells is 5 miles away. Explore its unspoilt streets, the wonderful farmers' market (every Wednesday) and visit the magnificent Cathedral and the moated Bishop’s Palace.
The wonderful Roman spa city of Bath and the historic maritime city of Bristol, home to Brunel’s Clifton Bridge and his SS Great Britain, are each only 13 miles away.
Mystical Glastonbury, reputed to be the birthplace of Christianity in England, with its Abbey, Tor and legendary links to King Arthur sits im the midst of the Somerset levels only 9 miles away.
There are so many fascinating towns and villages in the area, such as Mells, home of the Horner family and the 'Little Jack Horner' nursery rhyme, Nunney with its moated 12th century castle, Mere has a medieval Fish House and Kilmersdon where 'Jack & Jill climbed the hill'. Each has its own fascinating history and unique character.
We provide a number of walking guide leaflets to help you explore these villages and many other fascinating places nearby.
The Somerset Levels and Moors
Looking south from our area of the Mendip Hills you can see the mystical Glastonbury Tor standing sentinel over the Somerset Levels & Moors, one of the most important inland wetland landscapes in Britain, if not the world and is a haven to many migrating and resident birds.
This quiet and distinctive landscape is home to a diverse range of wildlife including wading birds, curlews, bitterns, otters, dragonflies and an abundance of wildflowers. In winter over 80,000 water birds gather across the area.
The Levels stretch along the coast and are a clay belt about 6 metres above sea level whereas the Moors are inland flood plains only about 3 metres above sea level.
The Levels are famous for the spectacular Starling Murmurations when flocks of thousands of starlings can be seen swirling in the skies at dusk creating their spectacular 'murmurations' before diving down to roost in the reed beds. - Surely one of nature's best and most magnificent sights!
Significant archaeological finds have been made locally, due to the excellent preservation properties of the peaty soils. Most famed amongst these are the Iron Age Lake Village, discovered near Glastonbury, and an ancient wooden causeway, The Sweet Way, thought to be around 4000 years old.
The last battle on English soil, the Battle of Sedgemoor, was fought near Westonzoyland in 1685.
In a few places, isolated outcrops of higher land rise abruptly from the flat land and were once islands in the flooded plains. The most dramatic of these are Glastonbury Tor, Brent Knoll and Burrow Mump.
Fine Country Houses
Within easy reach, there is a remarkable selection of Country Houses open to visitors, most of them managed by the National Trust (NT)
These include stunning parkland gardens at Stourhead (shown here), the amazing Victorian mansion of Tyntesfield, the Tudor house at Barrington Court, the magnificent Elizabethan manor of Montacute House and Lytes Cary Manor to mention only a few.
For further details of local NT properties please click on the link below.
In addition to the many wonderful country houses, the area boasts a remarkable number of beautiful, and in some cases famous, gardens which are open to the public.
These include the garden at Tintinhull (NT) (shown here), the gardens originally created by Margery Fish at East Lambrook Manor and Hestercombe Gardens with its georgian landscape, victorian terrace and edwardian gardens designed by Lutyens and Jekyll.
Additionally Somerset offers one of the largest selections of private gardens open to the public under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). We are proud to be one of them.
Cheddar Gorge and its Caves
Visitors have been coming to Cheddar for centuries to view the magnificent limestone Gorge, reaching 500 feet in places.
The ravine boasts the highest inland cliffs in the country that can be viewed from the public road running through the gorge or from foothpaths along the top of the cliffs.
Nunney is a beautiful village with much of historic interest.
The centrepiece is the ruin of medieval Nunney Castle, inspired by French castles seen by Sir John de la Mare on campaign. The walls are largely intact and it is in perfect scale with its surroundings.
A Village Trail Guide, available in The Beanacre Barn, is the best way to explore the points of interest including the castle, historic parish church and The George at Nunney, an old character coaching inn, which has an excellent restaurant.