Welcome to Somerset's Townpage

Bruton - A picturesque little town on the Brue, with Saxon origins. Has intriguing streets and alleys called Bartons, a 15th century packhorsebridge and a magnificent church. Four miles away is another attractive small town: Castle Cary. Both on a Somerset long distance path called the Leland Trail.

Burnham-on-Sea - Resort on the Severn estuary with bathing from a sandy beach, sea and freshwater fishing, yachting etc. The origins of the resort go back two hundred years ago to a vicar who wanted to establish a spa. The view across the estuary of the Parrett is of Hinckley Point Nuclear Power Station. The church has some very fine carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

Castle Cary - Some seven miles northwest of Wincanton Castle Cary is a very small but vibrant market town with a high street of thatch and golden stone, below Lodge Hill where the 11th century castle once stood. The museum has a display on the diarist Parson Woodforde who lived nearby. Four miles away is another attractive small town, Bruton. Both are on a Somerset long distance path called the Leland Trail.

Chard - This bustling market town thrived on wool in the Middle Ages, then lace-making and agricultural engineering in the 19th century, when the canal linked it to Taunton and Bridgwater. The railway which succeeded it died under the Beeching axe. Several buildlings in the High Street reflect this past; further details of the town's history can be found in a local museum.

Cheddar - Wonderfully situated on the Mendips, and famous for its extensive caves, in which bones of prehistoric men and animals have been found, and the stalactites and stalagmites form unexpected and lovely shapes. Cheddar Gorge is a narrow, deep ravine of great majesty. The home of Cheddar cheese, although this is now made in many other places.

Clevedon - A small but sedate and attractive resort on the Severn Estuary. Here for a time lived Coleridge and Thackeray. Clevedon Court is a remarkable specimen of Early English domestic architecture.

Crewkerne - Fine town at the southern end of Somerset, above the headwaters of the River Perrott. Famous as a cloth making centre, especially sail making. The sails of HMS Victory were made here. A particularly fine church with a front to rival some cathedrals.

Dulverton - Ancient market town set deep in the valley of the river Barle at the southern edge of the Exmoor National Park. Headquarters of the Park. Very fine old bridge over the river. Local museum.

Frome - Twelve miles south of Bath. A market town beautifully situated in wooded country. The Norman Church, though modernised, is extremely fine and contains fine carving and painted glass. Close to Frome is the mansion of Longleat in superb parkland by Capability Brown. Also near is Nunney Castle modelled on the Bastille in Paris.

Ilminster - Unspoilt rural stone built market town at the foot of the Blackdown hills in the south western corner of Somerset. Dominated by the spectacular tower of St Mary's Church said to have been modeled on Wells Cathedral. Town was prosperous thanks to cloth working but has diversified now. Superb views from local hilltops

Langport - This small town lies at the very heart of Somerset and straddles the River Parrett which rises in near Beaminster and flows out to sea through Sedgemoor. Until the late 18th century the town was able to trade as a port, with sailing ships and barges coming up with bricks, timber and coal. Trade failed but local merchants sustained the prosperous community. The countryside around is rich territory for fishermen. A famous son of Langport was the influential writer and economist Walter Bagehot who was born and buried here. To help one discover the area there is now a Langport and River Parrett Visitor Centre, and a 50 mile River Parrett Trail following its whole course.

Montacute - Taking its name from a castle where King Harold's fragments of the Holy Cross were found, this outstanding medivela village developed from a flourishing 12th century priory. By the 16th century ownership had passed to the Phelips family, builders of the spectacular Montacute House (National Trust) dated 1598.

Somerton - Although claiming to be the ancient 7th century capital of Wessex (the home of King Ina), it is Somerton's 17th century square, market cross, elegant houses and inns which create an attractive townscape of outstanding architectural and historical interest. It was a very early capital of Somerset and the county name is derived from the town. A few miles to the north is ancient Glastonbury.

Watchet - At the top end of the Quantock Hills, Watchet is a busy port and resort with fine cliff scenery nearby. This is where Coleridge met his Ancient Mariner.

Wells - England's smallest City, located beneath the Mendip Hills, overlooking the Somerset Levels. The glorious Cathedral stands on the site of a church built by King Ina of Wessex. The Cathedral was built from 1180 and was the first in the new Gothic style. At one time the statues that cover the West Front were coloured. An astronomical clock on the Cathedral is the oldest working clock in the World. The Bishop's Palace, perhaps the oldest inhabited building in Britain, is surrounded by a moat. The cavern, known as Wookey Hole, is about two miles from the city.

Weston-Super-Mare - Weston-Super-Mare town guide.

Winscombe - Village at the western end of the Mendip Hills, close to Axbridge. Dominated by Crooks Peak and Winscombe Hill.

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