The wonderful thing about living where we do is that we’ve not only got Exmoor on our doorstep we’ve also got the Quantocks too. They celebrate their 62nd anniversary this year (2018) as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The Quantocks was made an AONB in 1956 but since then it seems to have had relatively little promotion and it is an area that has sadly been overlooked.
The area includes wooded combes and open moorland, but very few people know or appreciate it nationally despite it being in its 62nd year.
The National Trust’s Fyne Court is well worth a visit. Although the house was burnt down in a fire in 1894, there are some great walks at the property and a delightful cobbled courtyard with tea room.
Andrew Crosse, who was Fyne Court’s most famous resident, was known as ‘The Thunder and Lightning Man’ or the Wizard of the Quantocks, as he was a pioneering 19th century electrician.
The Quantocks are also famous for being a favourite haunt of the Romantic Poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, who lived there in the late 1790s. Coleridge at Nether Stowey and Wordsworth nearby.
But perhaps more interestingly and less written about is Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy who spent her days on The Quantocks writing a great social description of the time. She lived at Holford with her brother and wrote a journal, which was published posthumously. In it she recorded walks, conversations and the area’s nature.
There’s loads to see and do on the Quantocks. Here are 10 of our top ideas for starters:
- Walking – favourite routes and locations include rambling from Kilve to East Quantoxhead and back, walking up to the war memorial trees above Holford, striding out over the Quantock ridge from Lydeard Hill to Staple Plain, walking from Crowcombe to Bicknoller post and visiting Dowsborough hill fort.
- Picking whortleberries in the summer at Dead Woman’s Ditch and blackberries in the hedgerows in the autumn
- Photography – snapping the herds of majestic red deer in Hodders Combe and listening to the autumn deer rut
- Paddling in the streams at Ramscombe, Great Wood followed by a barbecue with friends and family
- Fossil hunting at Kilve by day and then watching the sun go down on the beach on a warm summer’s evening
- Taking a trip to Hestercombe Gardens and enjoying an afternoon tea in the house and a stroll around the gardens and art gallery
- Listening to ravens kronking in the mist at Cothelstone Hill in the autumn and winter and walking through the bluebells there in May
- Finding secrets about Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his bedroom drawers at Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey and finding Dorothy Wordsworth’s waterfall
- Seeing the waterfall at St. Audries Bay
- Taking a steam train from Bishops Lydeard to Dunster or from Dunster to Bishops Lydeard Bishops Lydeard and stepping back in time.