Somerset has a varied landscape, ranging from the flat plains to the east and south of Clevedon and Yatton stretching to beyond Bridgewater, to the magnificent Mendip hills an area of natural beauty South of the City of Bristol ranging from Chew Stoke in the North East of Somerset, to the Wells in the South East, and Bleadon in the west. The designated area of Natural beauty covers an area of 80 square miles. Cheddar Gorge is well worth a visit and is situated North of the small town of Cheddar, which as most people know, has given it’s name to the famous wonderfully tasting Cheddar Cheese which was never produced in Cheddar, but in surrounding villages.
Somerset is also famous for it’s cider, the area is well suited to the growing of cider apples. The Taunton Cider Company being one of the remaining cider factories in Somerset. “Rough” cider or “scrumpy” as it is better known is produced locally in Somerset is still produced by local farmers. Click here for a very informative link to Scrumpy
One of the most famous parts of Somerset, Cheddar Gorge which attracts thousands of tourists each year to view the incredible rock formations, and visit the extensive caves. The photo here was taken at the northern end, and does not show the highest part of the gorge.
To the south of Minehead is the unspoiled village of Selworthy, which has just one small road leading to it, which end at the church. Access to the village is on foot. The village is a National Trust area, and has a few quaint, stone built thatched cottages, which are inhabited. There is also a small cafe / restaurant which serves coffee, cream teas etc. Selworthy is a very quiet village, no roads = no traffic ! It is so quiet in fact, that the wild life in the area seem to be very tame, in fact sitting at a table at the restaurant, normally results in a number of birds landing on one’s table, hoping for some crumbs from a piece of home made cake.
There are quite a few little tea shops scattered around the Quantocks which offer Somerset clotted cream tea’s, which are really well worth the health risk ! :-) Talking of food, I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the “Ring O’ Bells” pub in Ashcott in the Mendip Hills. We had a wonderful meal of homemade Beef In Ale, potatoes and vegetables.
Other places to see in Somerset, the old town centre of Axebridge, with many old 13th century buildings still in use, and its narrow winding streets.There is the City Of Bath located in the northeast of Somerset, not far from Bristol. It was a roman town which was originally named Aqua Sulis. Bath as the name implies was a place for bathing in the hot spring water at the spa that the romans built there. There is much to see in Bath, not least the roman baths. Bath is also famous for its floral displays and museums.
Somerset also has Britains longest preserved steam railway, The “West Somerset Railway” running from Minehead on the Bristol Channnel to Bishops Lydyeard near Taunton, a distance of approximately 20 miles. An other area of natural and spectacular beauty is the Quantock Hills situated to the north and East of Minehead. These hills offer magnificent views of the Bristol Channel and areas inland.
An underground pool in Gough’s caves. The “petrified” rivers, huge stalagtites and stalagmites are well worth the entrance fee.
The Somerset County Councils signpost (situated just outside Bristol UK), indicating the way to Providence, a small Somerset village, we wonder if the City of Providence in the New England state of Rhode Island got its name from here !
Looking over the Somerset landscape to the Quantock Hills.
The very impressive cathedral in Wells, Somerset.
Another attraction is the caves at Wookey Hole. Here one is guided through a number of caverns, some with underground lakes, others with deep chasms plunging into distant darkness. Also to be found at Wookey Hole, is the Madame Tussauds exhibition of wax figures, which have been retired from the famous exhibition in London. There is also a collection of old fairground machines and novelties, which are in working condition and can be played on, and for those of you born in the 1950's and 60's, will bring back many memories !
I’m not finished yet ! There is more to see at Wookey Hole, there is a paper mill, where there is a demonstration of paper making.
So there you are, a quick look at some of the nice bits of Somerset, but there are many, many more !
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