A land of castles and clifftops, of charming hamlets and wild moors, of clean air and burbling brooks, of starling murmurations and stags roaring: it’s not hard to see what draws people to Somerset and Exmoor. It’s here where the poets Coleridge and Wordsworth roamed, where Blackmore set the forbidden trysts of Lorna Doone and John Ridd, where King Arthur lies resting. Probably. It’s where farms produce fabulously fresh food – and restaurants and pubs dish it up. In short, this is the English countryside par excellence – and the perfect destination for a great escape, whether it’s for a day ambling one of the well-marked footpaths or a week exploring the byways and villages.
Exmoor National Park is Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve
Cheddar Gorge is the largest gorge in the UK; its cliffs are also the highest inland limestone cliffs in the country
The site of Dunster Castle has been occupied for over a 1,000 years
The Strawberry Line recreational route follows the old railway line (closed 1965) that transported strawberries around the country from the fields on the southwesterly Mendip slopes
The rugged coastline of Exmoor is home to the highest sea cliffs on the British mainland
About this guide:
This online guide to Great Escapes in Somerset and Exmoor is part of a body of work that has been jointly commissioned from GreenTraveller by West Somerset Council, Exmoor National Park Authority, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council as part of the COOL tourism project to grow and promote sustainable rural tourism.
The Great Escapes supplement (below), which appears in January 2015's edition of Countryfile magazine, was written and researched by Paul Bloomfield and designed by Tina Smith. The text in this Greentraveller's Guide to Somerset & Exmoor draws upon the work in the supplement with additional writing by Ellie Spens and Florence Fortnam. The photographs in this online guide have been provided by Exmoor National Park Authority and Somerset Tourism and include photos by the following: Colin Hawkins, Lynne Newton, JMW Photography, Paul Miles, Ian Brodie, Peter Booton, Colin Rowe, Diana Jarivs and Paul Miles.
Project partners have taken every reasonable care in compiling the information but they do not accept responsibility for incorrect, misleading or incomplete information contained herein. The inclusion of any establishment does not imply a recommendation, nor can the project partners accept responsibility for the products offered. The COOL tourism project has been selected in the context of the Interreg IVA France (Channel) – England European cross-border co-operation programme, co-financed by the ERDF.
This video was produced using footage supplied to Greentraveller by Exmoor National Park Authority plus original footage taken by Greentraveller's film production unit in spring 2014 in the Mendip Hills AONB and in other areas of Somerset in December 2014.