Friends enjoying garden pub lunch in Dunster

A Lifestyle Choice

“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that silent Sea”

Sammuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

One of our nation’s best loved romantic poets, Sammuel Taylor Coleridge, wrote his finest works while living in the Quantock Hills in 1797, including Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He loved to walk long distances and took inspiration from the stunning countryside covered by much of Taunton Deane and West Somerset.

The area is home to Exmoor National Park, two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of the internationally important Somerset Levels and Moors. It is a landscape of rolling hills, ancient woodlands and dramatic coastal scenery, dotted throughout with many charming villages and thriving towns, such as Dunster, Dulverton, Wiveliscombe and Wellington.

The historic County Town of Taunton is the largest settlement with a population of 70,000. It is home to Somerset County Cricket Club, the UK Hydrographic Office and 40 Commando Royal Marines. Sited on the M5 it offers excellent transport links to London and internationally via Bristol and Exeter Airports. The town has many great parks and open spaces to enjoy, as well as a long and fascinating history. You can discover more at the award winning Museum of Somerset.

The largest settlement in West Somerset is Minehead, which sits at the heart of a truly magnificent coastline overlooking the Bristol Channel. The town also has a long history and is defined by its Victorian architecture seafront harbour and gardens. It is also the gateway to Exmoor National Park, and the whole area is hugely popular with visitors in the summer months.

Across the area there are a huge variety of attractions, such as West Somerset Railway, Hestercombe Gardens, Willows and Wetlands Centre and Dunster Castle. The area is blessed with a huge network of paths, bridleways, lakes, rivers and canals perfect of outdoor adventure and exploring. And then of course there are some fantastic pubs and restaurants.

A few facts

  • Taunton Deane population: 116,000
  • Area: 179 square miles
  • West Somerset population: 35,000
  • Area: 280 square miles