Explore the area
Planning a visit? Follow us on Facebook to find out about upcoming local events.
One of the most beautiful villages in England, and for good reason. With medieval architecture at every turn, you’ll feel like you’re walking back in time. Don’t miss the Yarn Market, Watermill, Dovecot and Castle. But it’s not just about history, the village boasts some excellent shops, cafes, inns and restaurants. Definitely a village to be on your sight-seeing tour.
Minehead is a small, busy town that presents a human face to the world: no high rise blocks, no multi-story car parks. You’ll find interesting shops for rummaging and perhaps spotting a bargain and the Farmers’ Market on Friday mornings.
Many people have happy memories of Minehead from their childhood holidays and the town retains that welcoming character, with sandy beaches nearby and a pretty harbour to while away warm summer days. What’s more half a mile along the coast, you’ll find Butlins, which offers a great day out for young, old and in-betweeners.
Minehead sits on the edge of Exmoor National Park and, if walking is your passion, there is no better place to be. Not only do you have Exmoor stretching out before you with its magnificent views, wildlife and cosy pubs, the town is also the starting point of the Southwest National Trail, the longest distance countryside trail we have. It’s also the terminus for West Somerset Railway, the longest heritage railway in Britain.
Selworthy is a small village set on a steep hill giving it magnificent views of Dunkery Beacon and the heathery moorland. Approximately 3 miles (5 km) from Minehead it is located in the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate on the northern fringes of Exmoor and is approached by a romantic lane enclosed overhead by holly, oak and ash trees. The name of the village means ‘enclosure’ or ‘settlement near sallows’ and in the Domesday Book was recorded as Selewrda.
Allerford is a small village located within Exmoor National Park, and is part of the parish of Selworthy. One of the village’s principal attractions is the much-photographed Packhorse Bridge. Built as a crossing over the River Aller, it is thought to have been constructed in the 18th Century.
The village is also home to Allerford House, childhood home of Admiral John Moresby, who explored the coastline of New Guinea and after whom Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea, was named. Other traditional sights in the village include thatched cottages, a forge and an old-fashioned red telephone box. There is also a Reading Room, built by the Acland family to foster adult education and still in use.
Porlock Weir lies about 1.5 miles west of Porlock and is a small settlement that has grown up around the harbour. The tidal port has existed for more than a thousand years with the Anglo-Saxon chronicle reporting that in 1052 Harold Godwinson (he of the Battle of Hastings) came from Ireland with nine ships and plundered the area before moving on to London. Even before that in 86 AD, it was visited by Danes. In the 18th and 19th Centuries coal from South Wales was the principal import cargo and in World War II pit props cut from local timber were exported in return.
Watchet is a pretty harbour town some 9 miles (14 km) east of Minehead. The parish includes the hamlet of Beggearn Huish. The town lies at the mouth of the Washford River on Bridgwater Bay, part of the Bristol Channel, and on the edge of Exmoor National Park. The foreshore at Watchet is rocky, with a high 20 ft (6 m) tidal range. The cliffs between Watchet and Blue Anchor show a distinct pale, greenish blue colour, resulting from the coloured alabaster found there. The name ‘Watchet’ or ‘Watchet Blue’ was used in the 16th Century to denote this colour.
Blue Anchor is a seaside village, in the parish of Old Cleeve, close to Carhampton. The village takes its name from a 17th Century inn. The village marks one end of the Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest along which the Triassic cliffs have geological interest for their variety of fossils. The coloured alabaster found in the cliffs gave rise to the name of the colour ‘Watchet Blue’. It is on the South West Coast Path. The location is a popular holiday destination for families with many attractions in the area and the beach has a gentle gradient suitable for young children.
Bossington is separated from Porlock Bay by a shingle beach, through which flows the River Horner, forming part of the Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh Site of Special Scientific Interest. In the 1990s, rising sea levels caused the creation of salt marshes, and lagoons developed in the area behind the boulder bank. The village is on the South West Coast Path.
Culbone is a tiny hamlet consisting of a few dwellings and the little parish church dedicated to Columba the Virgin. As there is no road access it is a 2 mile walk from Porlock Weir, and some 4 miles from Porlock itself. The village is situated in a sheltered spot with the cliffs behind it rising to a height of 1,200 feet (366 m). The South West Coast Path goes through the village and the woods are home to the rare Sorbus vexanns, a micro-species of self-cloning Sorbus trees that are only found in the coastal area between Culbone and Trentishoe in Devon. It is amongst the rarest trees in Britain.
Culbone (St Beuno’s) Church located in the village is reputed to be the smallest church in England. The church seats about 30 people and services are still held there, despite the lack of access by road. The church is probably pre-Norman in origin, with a 13th Century porch, and late 15th Century nave. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building and the churchyard cross is Grade II listed.
Exmoor’s Dark Skies
Exmoor Character Cottages has been awarded Dark Sky Friendly status by Exmoor National Park, an internationally acclaimed Dark Sky Reserve, and the best place in England to see thousands of stars adorning the night sky. Lucy and the team at Exmoor Character Cottages want you to have the best possible view of this light show, so we have put together a handy guide to star gazing, with the best times to visit, and what to look for, finding dark sky discovery sites, hiring telescopes, and the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, offering astronomical events for all the family to enjoy. Supernova!