Somerset

Somerset

The diverse county of Somerset can be found nestling in the South West of England. During your holiday in Somerset, you will find a great array of beaches, local produce and fantastic visitor attractions.

Click on picture for a brief overview

Where

Somerset lies in the heart of the South West, bordering Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the East, Dorset to the South East and Devon to the South West. Best known for its rolling hills and green pastures, as well as coastal seaside resorts, it is a popular holiday destination with a variety of iconic landmarks and monuments to discover.

Population

There are approximately 530,000 people living in Somerset and the population growth in the county is higher than average. More than 25% of the county’s residents live in BridgwaterTaunton and Yeovil.

Brief history

Somerset’s history dates as far back as the Palaeolithic period with many archaeological sites throughout the county. The caves of the Mendip Hills and Cheddar Gorge have all revealed fascinating insights into the history of the county, including the Cheddar Man, which is a complete human skeleton dating back as far as 7150 BC.

Since then, Somerset has been inhabited by numerous settlements during the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age times. Romans invaded in AD 47 and remained part of the empire until the end of their ruling in AD 409. The country was next invaded by the Anglo-Saxons, although Somerset and the rest of the South West managed to avoid the takeover until the early eighth century.

The Norman Conquest followed and saw the erection of Dunster Castle, amongst other fortifications. Somerset is also home to HMP Shepton Mallet, England’s oldest prison that is still in use, which opened in 1610. During the English Civil War, those in Somerset mostly favoured the parliamentarians with Taunton Castle changing hands several times during the war.

Somerset was largely unaffected by the Industrial Revolution and farming continued to flourish during this time. However, coal mining did become an important industry during the 18th and 19thcentury although all pits were closed by 1973.

Geography and ecology

The county encompasses a number of spectacular sites including Outstanding Areas of Natural Beauty such as the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park. The Quantock Hills were England’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

You will also find the Somerset Levels located in-between the Quantock and Mendip Hills in the centre of the county, which are an area of wetland made up of peat moors and marine clay levels. To the west of the county lies Exmoor National Park which also spreads into Devon. Somerset is home to Dunkery Beacon which is the highest point of Exmoor offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Not forgetting the 64km of coastline, which encompasses a handful of coastal towns, such as Burnham-on-SeaWatchet and Weston-Super-Mare.

Cities, towns, and villages

Somerset is home to two cities, Bath and Wells, and also borders with the City of Bristol. Somerset’s county town is Taunton and has an unusually small amount of towns for a county of its size. However, it makes up for this with the plentiful charming villages and hamlets, in both the countryside and beside the coast.

Notable towns include Yeovil, Bridgwater, Weston-Super-Mare and Chard, which is the highest and most southerly town in Somerset. Many of the settlements in Somerset came to be due to their close proximity to a river, such as the River Axe and the River Cary, which runs through Axbridge and Castle Cary.

Interesting places in Somerset

The Preston Hotel

64 Preston Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 2DL
Tel: 01935 474400 Email: stay@theprestoninyeovil.co.uk

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The Preston Hotel in Yeovil is a family and friends run hotel where you are assured of a very warm welcome and an enjoyable stay.

Located on the outskirts of Yeovil, we are within easy reach of Yeovil Town Football Club, Westland Helicopters and the Lynx and Houndstone

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The Lynch Country House

Somerton, Somerset TA11 7PD
Tel: +44 (0) 1458 272316 Email: enquiries@thelynchcountryhouse.co.uk

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The Lynch bed and breakfast is a classic English country house set in beautiful, peaceful and secluded gardens. A hidden gem that you wouldn’t even know was there. A little haven of peace and quiet. A place to spend quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the wider world just beyond the trees.

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Shave Farm

Donyatt, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0SA
Tel: 01460 55042 Email: stay@shavefarm.co.uk

Shave Farm is an early 19th century farmhouse set within beautiful Somerset countryside, near the picturesque village of Donyatt.

Whether you’re looking for b&b or self catering, Shave farm caters for all. From families looking for adventure to couples looking for relaxation. We have it all.

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Yearnor Mill

Worthy Toll Road, Porlock TA24 8JL
Tel: 01643 862367 Email: timten@btinternet.com

In Worthy Combe very near Porlock Weir in Exmoor National Park., Yearnor Mill is perfect for walking, riding and exploring on Exmoor.

Nestled in the valley on its own, on the private Worthy Toll Road, Yearnor Mill is a haven of peace and quiet, ideally situated for walking or riding on Exmoor, and only a few minutes drive from the famous Porlock Weir

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The Loft Room B&B

113 South Road, Taunton, Somerset TA1 3EA UK
Tel: 01823 326521 Email: stay@theloftroomtaunton.co.uk

Simon & Louise Tilden are delighted to open the doors of their home to offer luxurious bed & breakfast accommodation from the guest room at 113 South Road. Their late Victorian family home, dating back to circa 1880 is a character-filled property benefiting from extensive restoration by superb local crafts and tradesmen.

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The Old Cider House

25 Castle Street, Nether Stowey, Somerset TA5 1LN
Tel: 01278 732228 Email: info@theoldciderhouse.co.uk

The Old Cider House, bed and breakfast in the heart of the Village of Nether Stowey, Quantock Hills, Somerset. With its five en suite bedrooms, owners Ian and Lynne welcome guests looking for a relaxing B&B break in their friendly guesthouse. If you’re looking for accommodation in the Quantocks then Nether Stowey is the ideal village location.

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The Masons Arms

2 North Road, Williton, Somerset, TA4 4SN
Tel:01984 639200 Email: themasonsarmswilliton@hotmail.co.uk

We have 5 beautifully presented rooms available all have their own en-suite bathrooms and include a full English breakfast. There is private parking for patrons/guests.

We offer a fully-stocked bar with a wide range of fine wines, traditional ales, lagers, spirits and a selection of soft drinks.

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Watermead Guest House

83 High Street, Chard, Somerset TA20 1QT
Tel: 01460 62834 Email: david@watermeadguesthouse.co.uk

An elegant Victorian villa, Watermead is an award winning guest house. Whether your visit is for business or leisure we offer a friendly welcome and a range of good quality, reasonably priced accommodation for both short and longer stays.

Located down a private lane behind the High Street and with a large

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The Castle Hotel

The Castle Hotel, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1NF
Tel: 01823 272671 Email: reception@the-castle-hotel.com

The Castle Hotel has a rich and vibrant history. Once a Norman fortress, The Castle has been welcoming travellers since the 12th century and is one of Taunton’s most famous landmarks.

We offer 44 bedrooms, wedding and conference facilities and two of Taunton’s best restaurants, Castle Bow & BRAZZ.

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Haselbury Mill

Haselbury Plucknett, Nr Crewkerne, Somerset, TA18 7NY
Tel: 01460 77095 Email: info@haselburymill.co.uk

Often described as “Probably the most beautiful setting in the South West of England” The original buildings date back many centuries and are of great local interest with a history stretching back to the times of William the Conqueror and are reportedly mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Haselbury Mill is truly the ultimate Somerset venue to commemorate and celebrate the special days in your life.

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