Fairfield House is well positioned for visiting some of the most attractive locations in Somerset and Devon. Situated between Exmoor and The Quantock Hills and just a few miles from the beautiful Somerset coastline you should find plenty of things to see and do during your stay at Fairfield House.



Dunster, about seven miles West of Williton, is a picturesque village with a magnificent castle and National Trust gardens, a yarn market (pictured left), working mill and museum, not to mention innumerable traditional tea rooms in which to enjoy a traditional Somerset cream tea.



Our nearest significant shopping centre, Minehead, also boasts a theatre, a cinema, a beautiful sea front from the centre, west to the old harbour, a taste of Exmoor above North Hill and one of the oldest golf clubs in the West Country. Not to forget Toucan, one of the best wholefood shops in Britain, with its own vegetarian café. Minehead is around 9 miles along the A39 towards Devon.


Exmoor National Park

Exmoor is one of the rural gems of England with its 267 square miles of ancient woodlands, streams and brooks, valleys, open moorland, majestic coastline, picturesque villages and stunning views. Exmoor’s coastline straddles the Devon/Somerset border, incorporates the South West Coastal Path and includes the colourfully named Hangman Cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in England. Exmoor is a hive of rural activity year round including walking, cycling, horse riding, climbing, canoeing, and, very recently, Exmoor National Park has been designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. Although a little further away from Williton, the coastal drive (or walk!) West from Porlock to Lynmouth and Lynton, the Valley of the Rocks, Woody Bay and on to Hunter’s Inn, near Hangman’s Cliff, is thoroughly recommended.



Early signs of settlement around Watchet include Daw's Castle, an Iron Age hill fort situated on a sea cliff about 260 feet above the sea which was re-built and fortified by Alfred the Great as part of his defence against Viking raids from the Bristol Channel around 878 AD. Around this time Watchet was an important local centre as a royal mint and fortified burgh. The need for fortification became clear as records exist of Watchet being plundered by Ohtor and Rhoald, two Danish earls, in the 10th century. Watchet has been an important local harbour for centuries, being involved in the trade of wine, salt, wool, kelp, iron ore, paper, flour and gypsum, and now has a new lease of life as a marina. The coastline near Watchet includes Alabaster cliffs which are home to a wide range of Jurassic and Triassic fossils. Reflecting this rich vein of local history, Watchet boasts two museums, the Market House Museum and the Boat Museum.


The Quantocks

The first place in Britain to be designated an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Quantock Hills are on our doorstep. There are many ways to enjoy the Quantocks. There are way-marked trails from Ramscombe, including an all ability trail, exploring the magnificent Great Wood. The Quantocks also have some of the best mountain bike routes in the West Country or you can ride horses or ponies along the many bridle paths. Keen walkers can walk from one end of the hills to the other and enjoy the breath-taking scenery or, if you don't want to walk, ride or cycle, you can spend a day at the beach at Kilve where flat ammonites can be seen exposed on the foreshore. At the far end of the Quantocks from Williton, towards Taunton, are the historic gardens at Hestercombe including The Edwardian Formal Garden created by Sir Edwin Lutyens or Fyne Court in Broomfield with its nature trails and picnic area. Of course, no guide to our area is complete without a mention of one of the leading lights of the early 19th century Romantic Movement, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge lived for a time at Nether Stowey, about 9 miles east of Fairfield House, where he wrote two of his most famous works, the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. William Wordsworth was, at the time, living just three miles away. Coleridge Cottage at Nether Stowey is now a National Trust property and open to the public, and access to the Coleridge Way is just ten minutes walk from our door.



West Somerset Railway

With some 20 miles of track running between Minehead and Bishop’s Lydeard, the West Somerset Railway is the longest restored heritage railway in the country. The trains are run and stations manned by enthusiasts and run every day from mid March to the end of October with other periodic, special services throughout the year. Williton Station is just 5 minutes walk from Fairfield House.



Tropiquaria is a small tropical house and zoo five miles away on the Minehead road. Based in a 1930’s art-deco BBC transmitter hall, now a grade 2 listed building, Tropiquaria houses a zoo with a tropical hall and aquarium along with a number of other attractions including a radio museum, the Shadowstring Puppet Theatre, and a range of indoor and outdoor children’s play areas.


Cleeve Abbey

About four miles west of Fairfield House in Washford, are the remains of Cleeve Abbey. (pictured above) Described by English Heritage as “one of the undiscovered jewels of Somerset”, Cleeve Abbey is one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in England. Originally a Cistercian abbey, Cleeve is a haven of peace and tranquillity. Although the church and infirmary have almost entirely vanished, the abbey is said to contain the finest cloister buildings in England and the buildings round the cloister are still roofed and habitable and many of the rooms retain their vaults. Much of the abbey's medieval tiled flooring remains. Other major survivals include the abbey gatehouse, which still provides the entrance for visitors, the moat and fishponds.

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