Taunton Deane boasts a range of stunning landscapes, from cattle-grazed meadows of the Somerset Levels to the windswept heights of the Quantock Hills and, further south, the striking Blackdownswith their cloak of ancient woodlands.
Home to Taunton - Somerset’s lively county town; the bustling market town Wellington; and the historic Wiveliscombe.
Stand in the centre of any of these towns and you’re no more than a few minutes from beautiful countryside, for Taunton Deane remains a largely rural area and is the home of many types of farming from livestock rearing to fruit growing, for which it has long been famed.
Taunton Deane enjoys excellent transport links – it’s bisected by both the M5 and the Paddington-Penzance rail line – but economic growth hasn’t been allowed to overwhelm its special charm.
Leave behind the six-lane highway and the roar of the inter-city train and you plunge into a network of by-roads and lanes, some etched deep into the soft sandstones, others offering breath taking views as they wind up steep hillsides, and all linking a network of quiet villages and tucked-away hamlets where time has not exactly stood still, but certainly appears to have slowed down.
Yet this is no backwater. Taunton Deane has a vibrant culture, world-class attractions. It was the birthplace of Taste of the West, Britain’s largest and most dynamic regional food marketing group and all the West Country’s legendary products including cheese and cider and many more besides are now made here.
Minehead beach is perfect for family seaside fun and the promenade - brimming with seaside cafés, bars and shops - offers spectacular views across to North Hill. For waterparks, traditional and fairgrounds. Just a short stroll from the seafront you’ll find Blenheim Gardens, Minehead’s largest park and The Avenue, the main shopping street, offering a variety of shops, bars and restaurants.
For a quieter affair, follow the promenade to the historic harbour It originated as a small port in the late 1300’s, and now hosts summer pleasure boat cruises on the paddle steamer Waverley and motor vessel Balmoral. For those seeking an adventure, Minehead also offers a range of sporting facilities including sailing, wind surfing and golf.
Wind your way through the old town’s narrow paths past ‘chocolate box’ thatched cottages to St Michael’s Church and steps, built in the 14th or 15th Century, to admire panoramic views across the town and bay. If you’re a keen walker, Minehead is ideally situated to explore Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. The nation's longest long-distance countryside walking trail, the South West Coast Path, starts here and is the perfect way to observe wildlife and admire the ever-changing dramatic landscapes.
Don’t miss a trip on the Minehead’s West Somerset Railway which originally opened in 1874 and is now England’s longest heritage line. Experience the beautifully-restored railway engines and carriages on the 20-mile route which takes you through stunning Somerset countryside and coastlines.
Bridgwater is a large historic market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. Its population currently stands at around 35,886 as of 2011. Bridgwater is at the edge of the Somerset Levels, in level and well-wooded country. The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett, and has been a major in-land port and trading centre since the industrial revolution. Most of its industrial bases still stand today. Its larger neighbour Taunton, is linked to Bridgwater via a canal, the M5 motorway and the GWR railway line.
Crewkerne is a small market town situated nine miles to the south west of Yeovil with a population of around 7,000 people. The earliest written record of the town was in the 899 will of Alfred the Great who left it to his youngest son Aethelweard. During the 18th and 19th centuries the main industry in the town was cloth making, including webbing and sails for the Royal Navy.